Critical Thinking in Doctoral Clinical Psychology: Training and Measurement.

Paul Block, Andrew McRitchie, Samantha Cristol, Robert Holloway, David Jarsky, Lavinia Pinto, & Jason Osher, Department of Clinical Psychology, William James College; critical thinking evaluation team and curriculum review committee.

Critical thinking offers the means to select among possible explanations for phenomena of interest. It underlies the scientific method and is central to the clinical formulations that guide psychologists’ practice.

This symposium will present the purpose, rationale, and strategy for developing a measure of critical thinking, the “Critical Thinking Quality Scale” (CTQS), to prepare and assess psychologists’ ability to think critically in their practice. Lessons from the development process will be described.

We will report the use of the CTQS with PsyD students’ Doctoral Projects, as the ultimate evidence of doctoral psychologists’ ability to conceptualize independently about professional demands. Audience members, psychologists who are practicing, and those who are training doctoral-level students, will be invited to offer their thoughts, reactions, and suggestions to help us develop a process that can be as useful for our purposes and to the field as possible. Specifically, we will introduce the role of critical thinking in doctoral clinical psychology performance and offer an overview of the project, including our evolving definition and operationalization of critical thinking.

We will provide relevant details about the process and results of our measurement efforts, including the experience of elucidating what is meant by critical thinking, the developing measure and training in its application, and the findings to date.

Finally, we will discuss implications for training and evaluation of critical thinking in professional practice.


Paul Block
Andrew McRitchie
Samantha Cristol
Robert Holloway
David Jarsky
Lavinia Pinto
Jason Osher