Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Clinical Psychology Competencies

pp 153-180

Translating Science into Clinical Practice

  • Thomas L. SextonAffiliated withIndiana University
  • , Christopher W. HanesAffiliated withIndiana University
  • , Jeremy C. KinserAffiliated withIndiana University


In this chapter, we propose a developmental framework of competencies for the integration of science and practice. We believe a shortcoming of traditional competency models stems from the tendency to view science and practice as distinct entities that need to be linked rather than addressing their dialectical relationship. We argue that competencies for translating science into practice must acknowledge the inexorable link between the two. To accomplish this conceptual shift, we articulate the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to define competencies pertinent to the realization of the scientist-practitioner. Four primary attitudes outlined include scientific mindedness, curiosity about how things work/what works, acceptance of ambiguity, and embracing the dialectical nature of science and practice. Core domains of knowledge identified include an understanding of scientific methods, familiarity with clinical intervention research, understanding the role of evidence based practice, and specification of clinical practices. We also propose skills necessary for the translation of science into practice. Skills include assessing scientific findings, consuming research through a levels of evidence lens, practicing research based clinical intervention protocols, and becoming a local scientist. We believe these three domains encompass both basic and expert competencies that are necessary for learning, developing, and functioning as a profession within the scientist-practitioner paradigm.