By: Semi Usiade
Without a place for students to train in psychology at the doctorate level, many students are moving off Island for training and choosing not to come back. It’s an issue that is contributing to the lack of psychologists in the province.
The director of the Doctor of Psychology program at UPEI is hoping that changes with the development of the new program.
Stephen Butler was a clinical psychologist for ten years before taking the position.
“There’s no training program here which is why we’ve come into existence.”
The program is the only one of its kind on Prince Edward Island.
“If there’s not a place within the island or on the island for people to train then people have to go elsewhere and if they go elsewhere then it’s less likely that they’ll come back to be psychologists in PEI.”
Interviews for possible students of the program were held three weeks ago, he said.
“We interviewed a number of people so now we’re just making offers.”
The doors are open to anybody, said Butler.
“We hope we’ll have students who aren’t from Canada or from Canada and have had very different experiences. It’s kind of a strong focus on individual and cultural diversity.”
It’s one of the main values of the program, he said.
“The idea of really respecting everybody’s humanity, backgrounds and experiences is very valuable to the program.”
Students of the four year program will be working in clinical settings where they develop their skills and their abilities to work with people, said Butler.
“Over time their training becomes richer and deeper and they grow as professionals.”
“By the time they finish up the last year they’re doing a full year internship where they are really pushing their skills forward and working quite intensely in a medical setting.”
Butler thinks the program will help PEI’s lack of psychologists problem.
“I think that’ll make a major contribution to the development of clinical psychology on the island.”