Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-11-2018


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Will W. Adams

Committee Member

Eva Simms

Committee Member

Leswin Laubscher


Title of Doctor for Clinical Psychologists, Mode of Address, Critical Psychology, Discourse Analysis, Empirical Study, Autoethnography, Reported Usage of the Title of Doctor with Different Interlocutors, Directors of Clinical Training, Directors of Training Clinics


The present dissertation seeks to address and redress clinical psychology’s disciplinary silence around the title of ‘Doctor’ and attempts to uncover possible meanings gathering around it by following several angles of disclosure: The self-disclosure angle recounts my own resistances and attempts at coming to terms with the title; The disciplinary disclosure angle critically reviews the scarce literature on the topic using discourse analysis; The empirical disclosure angle provides quantitative and qualitative analyses of data obtained from 27 Directors of Clinical Training and Training Clinic Directors, who were prompted to report how they use the title with various interlocutors, to outline arguments they thought clinical psychologists would put forth during a hypothetical and unlikely APA-held debate about continuing vs. stopping title usage and, thereafter, to indicate whichever they personally endorsed; The historical and theoretical disclosure angles explore the extra-disciplinary literature in order to place the data in broader context. Results suggest that leaders in our discipline tend to hold pro-title views largely unsupported by evidence and have not been particularly reflective about the title, displaying a measure of defensiveness with respect to being critical towards it. It is concluded that we—as a discipline most poised to understand the relational dynamics underpinning title usage— have focused on protecting disciplinary and ego interests at the expense of coming to terms with the title of ‘Doctor’ in a balanced way and providing opportunities for students in training to do the same. [This dissertation is available in full, at no cost, from the Duquesne Scholarship Collection:]