Changing Lives Along with the System

The Career Crusaders talks to Monique Jimenez of Adler University.

Posted May 04, 2017

Courtesy of Adler University
Source: Courtesy of Adler University

Alfred Adler, an Austrian doctor and psychotherapist who died in 1937, pioneered a school of psychology that considered the individual within his or her social context, and emphasized that understanding social forces is instrumental to helping people heal and thrive. At Adler University, graduate students are steeped in the theories of the school’s namesake while receiving rigorous, practical training that allows them to work in a wide variety of disciplines and effect positive change both in individuals and in society at large. To learn more about the graduate program, we spoke to Monique Jimenez, Chair of the Department of Psychology and an Associate Professor.

What are the goals of a typical student choosing to study at your University?

Adler University students develop goals that align with the university's mission of training socially responsible practitioners who engage in communities and practice social justice. Students strive to be agents of change in the lives of those who are members of marginalized groups and communities, and seek to understand the ways contemporary social forces impact health and well-being.

Students in the Psy.D. program in clinical psychology want to recognize how social and cultural values, legislation, public policy, and institutional practices shape the environments that impact health outcomes. Additionally, they develop and hone the skills necessary to act on the social determinants in ways that promote the health of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.

What distinguishes your university's approach to education?

The Adler University approach to education is guided by Alfred Adler's groundbreaking concept of social interest or gemeinschaftsgefühl – the idea that our health resides in our community life and connections. Students' education includes curricula that integrates diversity and individual differences courses and experiences; opportunities for multidisciplinary and inter-professional collaboration; and advisement and mentoring for students. Class sizes are kept small to establish a strong sense of community among faculty members and their students. These intimate group-learning environments also facilitate and nurture relationships among peers. In addition, faculty members serve as role models for our students, guiding them in their professional development as they prepare to enter their professions.

What do you consider the most distinctive feature of a graduate education at your university?

Graduate students at Adler University participate in a Social Justice Practicum (SJP) inspired by Alfred Adler's focus on community life, prevention and population health. Psy.D. Program students work in community-based organizations focused on providing services to marginalized groups. This practicum experience allows students to acquire skills employed by socially responsible psychologists to advance social change. Furthermore, students participate in a Social Exclusion Simulation. This experiential role-play exercise illustrates what social structures are, how they operate, and the ways in which they may systematically block access to rights, opportunities and resources that prove integral to social integration. These aforementioned examples are among many within the Psy.D. program in clinical psychology—a program that provides highly accredited clinical psychology training centered on yielding socially responsible psychologists.

How do you prepare students to be professionals/practitioners? What goes into their training?

Accredited by the American Psychological Association, Adler’s Psy.D program is designed to prepare students for the general practice of health service psychology with a focus on social responsibility. It follows the practitioner-scholar training model and education and has two aims: To train socially responsible graduate students in clinical psychology while increasing knowledge of Adlerian Theory; and to provide opportunities for the clinical application of knowledge. These goals are based on nine Profession-Wide Competencies that include assessment; intervention, ethical and legal standards; individual and cultural diversity; professional values; attitudes, and behaviors; communication and interpersonal skills; supervision, consultation and interdisciplinary skills; and research. The curriculum is cumulative, sequential and graded in complexity. Academic courses parallel clinical practice to prepare students to apply theory to practice.

What distinguishes the professional work that your graduates do after they are licensed?

The training that students receive while completing the Adler University Psy.D. program later enables them to practice in a wide range of settings and disciplines. Our graduates do this while simultaneously working to implement changes which seek to reform existing social structures that may be adversely impacting the well-being of those in their communities. We offer courses in areas including Advanced Adlerian Psychotherapy, Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology, Military Clinical Psychology, Primary Care Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, Substance Abuse Treatment, and Traumatic Stress Psychology. Students who complete the coursework in any of these areas of emphasis will be properly equipped to work within their respective settings and/or with their respective populations.

What kinds of jobs are available to graduates?

Psy.D. Program alumni are poised to embrace a range of disciplines in the field of psychology. Our graduates become psychologists, supervisors, directors, consultants, faculty, administrators and clinical psychologists in the following professional arenas: private or group practices, community mental health centers, health maintenance organizations, medical centers, military medical centers, private general hospitals, general hospital, Veterans Affairs medical centers, private psychiatric hospitals, state/county hospitals, correctional facilities, school districts/systems, university counseling centers, medical schools, employee assistance programs, and nursing homes. These examples are representative of just some of our graduates' comprehensive professional services and the diverse settings in which they’re offered.

For more information on this school, visit:

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Courtesy of Adler University
Source: Courtesy of Adler University