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Scientific Communication in Clinical Psychology: Examining Patterns of Citations and References



Previous studies of scientific communication used citation mapping, establishing psychology as a ‘hub science’ from which many other fields draw information. Within psychology, the clinical and counselling discipline is a major ‘knowledge broker’. This study analyzed scientific communication among three major subdisciplines of clinical psychology—the cognitive–behavioural, psychodynamic and humanistic schools of thought—by examining patterns of references within and citations to 305 target articles published in leading journals of these subdisciplines. The results suggest that clinical researchers of each theoretical orientation engage in more insular scientific communication than an integrationist would find desirable and that cognitive–behavioural articles are more closely connected to mainstream psychology and related fields. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key Practitioners Message

  • Eclectic practitioners draw on several different theoretical orientations to inform their practice; as such, they should be interested in understanding the patterns of scientific communication within and across theoretical orientations.
  • Practitioners work in a variety of different mental health settings, with a variety of other professionals in psychology-related fields, and should be interested in how much influence their particular theoretical orientation has on the work of colleagues.
  • Many practitioners rely on new, evidence-based research to inform their work. The results of this study provide these individuals with an objective measure of the influence of empirical work in different areas of clinical psychology.
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