A new book co-written by a faculty member in the Department of Psychology may provide a useful guide for mental health professionals.
In late December, associate professor Dr. Julie Gosselin, director of clinical training for the doctor of psychology (PsyD) program at Memorial, released A Systematic and Integrative Model for Mental Health Assessment and Treatment Planning. It’s the first in a collection that will be released over the coming year.
The book provides an integrative model for mental health assessment that will be marketed to professional training programs in clinical psychology, counselling, social work and psychiatry across North America.
“The book is about presenting a model that most mental health professionals, and I would include general practitioners in that, can use when they have to do a mental health assessment,” said Dr. Gosselin. “It can be used by someone like me — a clinical psychologist who is looking to diagnose — but it also works for a social worker who is trying to come up with a good treatment plan for someone with mental health issues, or someone doing counselling with them.”
“We need to do more evidence-based practice, and we need to do things more systematically and consistently.”
The book is evidence-based and according to Dr. Gosselin, the systematic model it uses cuts across different theoretical approaches, so no matter what approach a mental health professional has been trained in, they can still use it. The book can also be used in a training context and contains a template for assessing students using the model.
“It’s something my co-author, Mélanie Joanisse, and I had been talking about for a lot of years, that we need to do more evidence-based practice, and we need to do things more systematically and consistently,” said Dr. Gosselin. “But that’s really difficult to do when people are trained with a number of different approaches and are working with different client populations.”
Mental health issues are increasingly becoming the focus of public attention, particularly in light of successful awareness campaigns such as Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, which takes place annually on Jan. 25.
Demand for access to services is continuing to grow in Newfoundland and Labrador; Dr. Gosselin says Memorial’s PsyD program is also starting to help meet that need.
The program, which offers high level training in clinical psychology, began in 2009. It is an ongoing collaboration between the Department of Psychology, the Student Wellness Counselling Centre, Eastern Health and the Association of Psychologists of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We started rolling out our first graduates last year and they are all currently employed.”
“The program is definitely a success story,” said Dr. Gosselin. “We started rolling out our first graduates last year and they are all currently employed. They had no problem finding work and most of them stayed in the province. Most of our students who are about to graduate have also already found employment in their field.
“That is increasing the number of licenced psychologists in Newfoundland and Labrador and increasing the presence of mental-health services in the province, and not just in St. John’s. Eastern Health had been recruiting clinical psychologists constantly for many years because it was difficult to fill positions in this province. That is not the case any more and I think the PsyD program is a large part of that.”