Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mark McMinn, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Nancy Thurston, Psy.D.


The construct of wisdom has been studied over the past 30 years with the majority of the research focused on wisdom as “expert knowledge in the fundamental pragmatics of life” (Baltes & Staudinger, 2000). In the Christian tradition, wisdom can be divided into two categories: conventional and critical. Conventional wisdom bears striking similarities to the understanding of wisdom used in psychological research. In contrast, critical wisdom addresses the difficult paradoxes of life, but has not been the focus of much empirical study. Critical wisdom could be a helpful construct for clinical psychologists who hope to practice psychology from an integrative faith perspective. This study examines critical wisdom among students at various levels of training in a faith-based clinical psychology doctoral training program. Participants included 96 current graduate students from an explicitly Christian doctoral program in clinical psychology. Both quantitative and qualitative measures were used to assess for differences in critical wisdom across cohorts. Results suggest some evidence the construct of critical wisdom becoming consolidated by the time students are working in postdoctoral fellowships or employed, although this development is not viewed as linear. Implications are considered for present and future clinicians who hope to practice from an integrative perspective.

Included in

Psychology Commons