Derek Truscott

Derek Truscott

Professor and Director of Counselling Training

Educational Psychology

Research Interests

I am interested in answering the question of what it takes to be a good psychologist. By “good” I mean one who is effective, helpful, influential, and impactful – who is sought out by people suffering from personal problems and to whom other psychologists refer or seek out themselves. I also mean “good” in the sense of one who is ethical, principled, virtuous, and moral – who knows how to do and does the right thing and is sought out by others wanting to do likewise. I am currently working on two new books, The Effective Psychotherapist: On being more helpful more often and (with William Hanson) Feedback: A therapist’s guide to getting better, as well as writing a second edition of Becoming an Effective Psychotherapist.

Representative Publications

Truscott, D. (in press). Ethics on the edge: Working with clients who are persistently suicidal. In M. Leach & E. R. Welfel (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of applied psychological ethics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Truscott, D. (2017). Gestalt therapy. In A. Wenzel (Ed.), The Sage encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology (pp. 1569-1572). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Truscott, D., & Crook, K. H. (2016). Ethics & law for teachers (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.

Truscott, D. (2015). Psychologists’ legal responsibilities when a client is suicidal. Psychologists’ Association of Alberta Psymposium, 25(3), 18-19.

Truscott, D. (2014). Gestalt therapy. In G. Vandenbos, E. Meidenbauer, & J. Frank-McNeil (Eds.), Psychotherapy theories and techniques: A reader (pp. 187-194). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Truscott, D., & Crook, K. H. (2013). Ethics for the practice of psychology in Canada: Revised and expanded edition. Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta Press.

Truscott, D. (2012). A simple heuristic for complex ethical decisions. Health Ethics Today, 20(2), 2-6.

Truscott, D. (2011). Professionalism and boundaries in psychotherapy. College of Alberta Psychologists Monitor, 38, 1, 6-9.

Truscott, D. (2010). Becoming an effective psychotherapist: Adopting a theory of psychotherapy that’s right for you and your client. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Truscott, D., & Evans, J. (2009). Protecting others from murder and serious harm. In E. R. Welfel, J. Werth, & A. Benjamin (Eds.), The duty to protect: Ethical, legal, and professional considerations in risk assessment and intervention. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Theoretical Orientation

Because all theoretical orientations to psychotherapy are equally effective and interventions are effective only if client and therapist believe them to be so, I practice from a theoretically integrative, technically eclectic orientation. I work with each client to find a common understanding of their problem, drawing from many orientations in an integrative, rather than internecine, manner. I then propose solutions consistent with our shared understanding, drawing from many interventions in an eclectic, rather than exclusive, manner. Because no theoretical orientation deserves to be privileged over the others and therapist allegiance is central to being effective, in my teaching I strive to help students find their own theoretical orientation.

Professional Affiliations

I am a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP) and member of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA).

Courses Taught

  • EDPY 532 Systems of Counselling
  • EDPY 536 Ethical and Professional Issues in Psychological Practice
  • EDPY 630 Counselling Psychology Internship
  • EDPS 410 Ethics and Law in Teaching