Date of Award

4-15-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Jay C. Thomas, Ph.D., ABPP

Second Advisor

Tamara E. Tasker, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Michel Hersen, Ph.D., ABPP

Abstract

Research has shown that client-perpetrated violence against mental health clinicians, regardless of their disciplines or clinical practice settings, is more prevalent than assumed and appears to be increasing. In addition, studies have shown that student clinicians are often more vulnerable to becoming victims of client-perpetrated violence. Unfortunately, research indicates this issue may often be ignored or minimized by training programs.

The purpose of this study was to survey Directors of Clinical Training (DCTs) from APA accredited clinical, counseling, and school psychology doctoral programs regarding their level of awareness about client-perpetrated violence against psychologists in mental health settings, their perceptions of students’ level of awareness concerning this issue, and to obtain information about training provided by their institutions in the areas of prevention, violence risk assessment, and management of potentially violent or violent clients prior to students’ first practicum placements. Results found that participants’ level of awareness and their perceptions of students’ level of awareness regarding client-perpetrated violence against psychologists in mental health settings were higher than expected. The majority of participants did not believe that client-perpetrated violence against practicing psychologists or student clinicians is a major area of concern at training institutions, but endorsed mandatory training at their institutions in prevention, violence risk assessment, and management of potentially violent/violent client prior to students’ first practicum placements. However, the majority participants indicated that students received less than four hours of training in these three areas combined, calling into question the breadth and quality of the training provided.

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