Professional Closure: An Example from American Clinical Psychology
Objective: Study the American clinical psychology landscape to discern scientist-practitioner and practitioner-scholar involvement in professional activities, specifically the organizational and scholarly domains.
Methods: Data were gathered from online sources regarding: professional association membership, leadership, and award recipients; faculty positions within psychology doctoral programs; journal editor positions; and contributions to the scholarly literature.
Results: Scientist-practitioners dominate American clinical psychology’s principal professional association’s membership (73.5%) and leadership (93.2%) and receive nearly all its awards (98.2%). Faculties for both practitioner-scholar programs (76.2%) and scientist-practitioner programs (99.1%) were dominated by scientist-practitioners. The editor of each journal surveyed was a scientist-practitioner. Most literature contributions (77.3%) were from scientist-practitioners.
Conclusions: Scientist-practitioners in the United States can access organizational and scholarly roles/activities. Practitioner-scholars do not have the same access. Scientist-practitioners use implicit, normalized practices known as ‘closure methods’ to preserve their access to professional opportunities, resources, and rewards. Practitioner-scholars, subject to ‘professional closure’, compose an excluded group.
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