APPENDIX A: THE NON-PHYSICIAN MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONS
Origins of the Profession
The modern science of psychology can be traced to the ideas and writings of such late nineteenth century intellectual luminaries as Wilhelm Wundt, Sigmund Freud and William James. According to Leahey (1991), each of these individuals contributed to a different aspect of the emerging discipline. Wundt is considered the founder of experimental psychology, making traditional philosophical psychology more rigorous as an approach to the study of human consciousness. As the founder of psychoanalysis, Freud began to define the practice of psychology as a clinical intervention. James contributed the psychology of adaptation, which seeks to explain the evolutionary value of mind and behavior, and is primarily the province of so-called academic psychology.
Prior to World War II, academic psychologists dominated the profession (Grob, 1991). Most clinical psychologists spent their time administering intelligence and aptitude tests to various populations, including soldiers, workers and mental patients (Leahey, 1991). The war created an unprecedented demand for clinical psychologists. A critical shortage of psychiatrists, coupled with concerns about the combat-related onset or aggravation of psychological disorders, prompted General William Menninger (himself a psychiatrist) to refer recruits with backgrounds or interests in psychotherapy to the School of Military Neuropsychiatry for formal training and subsequent posting as combat therapists (Cummings, 1992). With support from the Veterans Administration and the National Institute of Mental Health, many of these individuals pursued comprehensive training as clinical psychologists after the War. These federal agencies also provided employment opportunities to the psychology graduates and, in many respects, shaped the profession as it is known today. Fundamental Approach to Treating Mental Health Problems
Clinical psychologists take an approach to treating mental health problems that is based on the discipline’s foundation in the scientific study of individual human cognition and behavior and on its moral imperative to foster growth (Leahey, 1991). They typically use methods such as interviews and behavioral assessments to determine the causes and potential effects of personal distress (Society of Clinical Psychology, 2001). Relying on their findings, they provide non-medical interventions in an effort to promote client adaptation and satisfaction. In many regards, their approach is comparable to that of the other non-physician mental health