Psychology Health and Technical Standards

All Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) applicants and enrolled PsyD students are required to meet health and technical standards to be admitted to, participate in, and graduate from the education program of KCU. Because the PsyD degree signifies that the holder is a psychologist prepared for entry into the practice of a broad range of psychological practices, and that he/she has met the requirements to enter a variety of diverse postgraduate training programs, KCU graduates must have the knowledge, skill and capability to fully perform and function in a broad variety of clinical situations. KCU students and graduates are trained and must demonstrate competency to provide a wide spectrum of acute and chronic patient care.

A candidate, as well as an enrolled student for the PsyD degree, must have abilities and skills in the areas described below and meet the standards described as an obligation to patients that they will interact with as a psychologist in training and to society as the recipient of a PsyD degree upon graduation.

Reasonable accommodations will be made as required by law; however, the candidate/student must be able to meet all technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation. Please refer to the section on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The use of a trained intermediary necessarily requires that a candidate’s judgment be mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation, and is not a permissible accommodation. Enrolled students who are unable to meet these standards may be subject to dismissal.

The technical standards consist of:

Observation

Psychological diagnosis is based upon a psychologist’s ability to see, hear and interact with patients. Candidates and enrolled student physicians must be able to directly observe patients in order to diagnose. Direct observation of body stature, body position, facial expression, etc., are a few examples of the necessary capabilities a student must have to master the requirement of psychological diagnosis. Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations, experiments and patients in the basic and clinical sciences. This includes, but is not limited to, the ability to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation requires the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensations. Thus, the use of a trained intermediary will fail to meet this requirement.

Communication

Candidates and enrolled students must be able to speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity and posture; and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and other health care professionals. Communication (in English) includes speech, hearing, reading and writing. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively in verbal and written form with all members of the health care team. Thus, the use of a trained intermediary, especially in an emergency situation, will fail to meet this requirement.

Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

Candidates and enrolled students must possess conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, including measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of psychologists, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationship of structures. Candidates and enrolled student physicians must be able to sit in a classroom and participate in a full 10-hour day. The practice of psychology requires periods of distinct concentration in intake, therapy and assessment settings. Candidates and enrolled students must be capable of extended periods of intense concentration and attention. Candidates and enrolled student physicians who are incapable of intense concentration (with or without reasonable accommodations) do not meet this requirement.

Behavior and Social Attributes

Candidates and enrolled students must have the emotional health required for full use of the intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the assessment and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates and enrolled students must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and educational processes.