Does the future belong to the scientist practitioner?

Paul Kennedy and Susan Llewelyn investigate views on the integration of research and practice in clinical psychology.
Clinical psychology, like other branches of psychology, has seen many changes over the past 50 years. Most obviously there have been substantial increases in numbers, but there have also been major developments in the content of training: for example in the range and type of interventions and the variety of applications and client groups. The context of training has also altered; we have seen a changing demography, most specifically an ageing population in the developed world, and the increase in the proportion of chronic rather than acute conditions in health care; and there have been significant medical advances, changes in family structure, political and social changes, and a growing emphasis on consumer perspectives. Possibly most significantly, the underlying model of the ‘scientist practitioner’, which pursues a research-based practice agenda, has been questioned by some practitioners (e.g. Pilgrim & Treacher, 1992; Smail, 1996). This article considers the continuing appropriateness of this model currently underpinning clinical psychology, and what today’s psychologists think the future may hold for training in clinical psychology.

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