The aim of this dissertation was to synthesize information from the empirical literature, psychology professional organizations and other relevant sources into a graduate-level curriculum for education in professional advocacy for psychology. Professional advocacy practices, such as public policy and legislative involvement, are necessary to protect and grow psychology's place in the healthcare system, funding for psychological research and access to services for the public. Remarkably low involvement by psychologists in advocacy is theorized to be due to a lack of training, awareness and professional values related to advocacy. This dissertation proposes that graduate school education is an optimal and effective way to address this training need, and, thus, the advocacy curriculum is designed for a semester-long course in a psychology doctoral program. The curriculum addresses knowledge gaps in understanding the public policy process as related to psychology, builds skills for professional advocacy and provides detailed structure and content to decrease potential implementation problems. Three psychologist experts in professional advocacy evaluated the curriculum, providing feedback regarding its content, design and utility. Preliminary evaluation of the curriculum found it to be a thorough and comprehensive foundation for understanding professional advocacy, which could be further enhanced with more specific examples, additional activities and engagement with professionals involved in advocacy. Future directions are discussed, including the importance of curriculum implementation and psychology doctoral education requirements in learning professional advocacy.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Cross-cultural counseling; Psychology students -- Study and teaching; Graduate students

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

de Mayo, Robert R.;