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NEEDS ASSESSMENT FOR DEVELOPING A DOCTORATE OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAM IN SAUDI ARABIA
*Dr. Ahmed Mohammed J. Alkhalaf, Prof. Ara Tekian and Dr. Yoon Soo Park
Title: Needs Assessment for Developing a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology Program in Saudi Arabia Introduction: There are a number of challenges in Saudi Arabia regarding developing higher health standards and particularly psychological services. There are challenges in existing psychological training, but also a significant lack of learning from Western standards in psychological work both academically and clinically. Objectives: This study has two primary aims: (1) to examine the attitude of local practicing physicians (who are working with psychologists) towards the current psychologists? work and towards establishing a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology program; and (2) to explore the needs for such a program to have culturally relevant content and competencies to meet local needs and enhance general professional competencies. Methods and Participants: The sample of participants consisted of 73 (54 male [74%] and, 19 female [26%]) practicing physicians in Saudi Arabia. Participants ranged from 29 to 59 years of age (M = 38.18 years, SD = 6.94 years), with an average of 5.86 years (SD = 1.37) of clinical experience. All participants completed the questionnaire used in this study. The main tool (the questionnaire and interview) was developed for this study after reviewing the literature, local needs and policies, and asking input from a small sample of clinicians. Results: Belief in the importance of developing a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology program was strong. It was also found to be significantly, positively correlated with the belief that the psychologists should work as part of a multidisciplinary team in particular with family medicine, neurosurgery, neurology, psychiatry, and pediatric(r = .415; p ? 0.01). Conclusions: There is a real need to conduct a needs assessment for developing a Doctorate Clinical psychology program in Saudi Arabia to contribute and enhance the healthcare for a good quality of patient, as indicated by the view of local practicing physicians. The study provides high recommendations to develop a curriculum of the global standards in Saudi Arabia which is the need of hour.[Full Text Article]