In Christian graduate schools and seminaries, psychology programs are bursting with students. But while high enrollments are embraced, some administrators are troubled by the possible implications of the rapid growth.
"Our program has grown to become one of the largest in the country," says James D. Guy, Fuller Theological Seminary's dean of psychology. "I'm not sure if it's great. We're probably as large as we'll ever get, and we may need to downsize over time. Addressing needs won't necessarily mean graduating large numbers of Christian therapists."
Fuller's School of Psychology, in its thirty-first year, was for half a decade the only doctoral program in clinical psychology and theology. Last year, it gave doctoral degrees to 25 students in clinical psychology and to 10 in marital and family therapy. Thirty marital and family therapy students received master's degrees. Dozens of Christian graduate schools and seminaries now offer psychology or counseling programs, with more on the way.
"There seems to be a rush to do this, especially with the mental-health profession as a whole going through changes," says Stanton Jones, who last month became provost at Wheaton College, where he had been psychology department chair. In 1993, Jones added a Psy.D. program to Wheaton's successful M.A. psychology program. The first class will graduate in two years.
"There may be too many psychologists right now," Jones says. "The danger is that we may send fewer and fewer qualified people into the profession. If a school is going to pay staff, it has to enroll students, and it may go as far down the applicant list as it has to."
While flooding the field is a strong concern, a more immediate result of the rise in students and programs is the ...1
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