Leaving Behind Our Preparadigmatic Past: Professional Psychology as a Unified Clinical Science

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Abstract

The behavioral and neurosciences have made remarkable progress recently in advancing the scientific understanding of human psychology. Though research in many areas is still in its early stages, knowledge of many psychological processes is now firmly grounded in experimental tests of falsifiable theories and supports a unified, paradigmatic understanding of human psychology that is thoroughly consistent with the rest of the natural sciences. This new body of knowledge poses critical questions for professional psychology, which still often relies on the traditional theoretical orientations and other preparadigmatic practices for guiding important aspects of clinical education and practice. This article argues that professional psychology needs to systematically transition to theoretical frameworks and a curriculum that are based on an integrated scientific understanding of human psychology. Doing so would be of historic importance for the field and would result in major changes to professional psychology education and practice. It would also allow the field to emerge as a true clinical science.

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