Catalog 2012-2013 
    Apr 24, 2018  
Catalog 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Psychology: PhD, Fresno

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The Fresno Clinical PhD Program is a scholar-practitioner program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242; Phone: 202-336-5979; Email:; Web:

Goals and Objectives

The clinical PhD program offered at the Fresno campus is designed to train students to be competent in nine broad areas:

  • Foundational Science of Psychology (Social and Developmental Psychology, History and Systems, Biological Science, and Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior) enable students to link the core sciences with contemporary thought, research, and practice in psychology;
  • Research and Evaluation enable students to conduct independent research, be a productive scholar, and write grants;
  • Relationship Skills enable students to make interpersonal connections, maintain appropriate boundaries as appropriate to the multicultural context in which they are operating, and engage in ethical and professional behavior;
  • Diversity Competence involves developing awareness of students’ own culture and the cultures of others as mediators of their world view and to determine how these varied world views interact with research, clinical, and teaching processes;
  • Assessment Skills (diagnosis, interviewing, testing, and report writing) enable students to engage in an ongoing process of evaluating their practice, research and teaching;
  • Intervention Skills enables students to plan, implement, and evaluate their work within a cultural framework;
  • Professional Development engages students in self-evaluation and life-long learning;
  • Supervision and consultation enable students to provide good clinical and professional feedback to others; and
  • Teaching enables students to convey their clinical and research knowledge of psychology to others at the university level through a variety of teaching modalities.

Training Model: A Scholar-Practitioner Program

The PhD program is designed for students interested in combining clinical practice, research, and teaching in their professional careers. The coursework is focused primarily on clinical training, with a strong secondary research emphasis and a tertiary focus on training students as teachers of psychology. The students’ practica are similarly focused, in that students complete not only extensive clinical and research practica, but also a teaching practicum designed to prepare them to teach at the undergraduate level. A traditional, independent, quantitative or qualitative dissertation is required. The PhD program takes five years to complete, with the fifth year spent in a full-time internship.

The clinical PhD program is ecosystemically oriented. It trains students to consider the role of diverse systems in creating and/or remedying individual and social problems. While students receive grounding in traditional clinical assessment and intervention, they also are taught to consider the potential value of advocacy, community engagement, consultation, or public policy work in helping both individuals and entire groups of clients with similar problems.

All clinical psychology students have the opportunity to select one or more programs of emphasis in order to develop areas of focused study and clinical expertise in addition to their broad and general education in clinical psychology. These emphasis areas are clinical forensic, ecosystemic child, health, or self-determined with approval of program director.

Field Training

The PhD program emphasizes the integration of academic coursework with clinical, research, and teaching practice. In order to integrate appropriate skills with material learned in the classroom, students participate in professional training experiences beginning in the second year. The professional training experiences completed prior to the full-time predoctoral internship are known as practicum experiences. Both the practica and internship constitute the professional clinical training component of the program.

Students complete their professional training in community mental health centers, clinics, inpatient mental health facilities, medical settings, specialized service centers, rehabilitation programs, residential or day programs, forensic/correctional facilities, and educational programs. Students are required to train in a different setting each year, gaining experience in with different populations, modalities, and settings. Second-year clinical PhD students are required to participate in a 15-20 hours-per-week practicum. Third-year clinical PhD students spend 15-20 hours per week in a practicum at the Psychological Services Center in Fresno or at a CSPP-approved third year placement. Fourth year clinical PhD students may opt to take an advanced elective practicum. Students typically receive a minimum of 1500 hours of clinical training prior to internship.

Assignments to the practica are accomplished with guidance from the Office of Professional Training. Each practicum agency is screened prior to being presented to the student as a placement. The student and the Professional Training Liaison make the final placement decisions jointly.

Fifth year students are responsible for obtaining an appropriate APA, APPIC, or CAPIC full year internship (2080 hours) and are assisted in this process by the Office of Professional Training. For many students, the internship stipend covers the costs of tuition and living expenses in the fifth year.

Clinical PhD students usually enter teaching practica in their fourth year of their program. All of these practica involve teaching psychology to undergraduate students either through the university or at local community colleges or universities.

Research Training

Clinical PhD students begin their 2-year research practicum during their first year under the direct mentorship of PhD Program faculty members. They must present at a professional conference and be a co-author on a paper submitted for publication as part of the requirements for graduation. These requirements are usually completed during the research practicum experience.

Specialized Admissions Requirements: Credit for Previous Graduate Work

Students applying to the Fresno clinical PhD program may be eligible to receive credit for previous graduate work. Students transferring from another Alliant CSPP program should refer to PhD Student Handbook for transfer policies and procedures. All applicants must meet the graduate level requirements for preparation in psychology. While an applicant may not have completed the graduate level requirements at the time of application to CSPP, these requirements must be satisfied before the admitted student can enroll.

  1. Any single course can only be used to fulfill one course requirement.
  2. The Fresno clinical PhD program allows a maximum of 30 units of graduate level transfer credit into the program. These credits must be completed with a grade of a B or better and must be from an accredited institution.
  3. Transfer credits reduce the total number of units a student must complete in order to obtain the degree. Therefore, it is sometimes possible for a student to reduce a five-year program to four years. Students should consult with their academic advisor immediately if they believe they can reduce their time to completion, as specific course sequences are necessary for this to occur.
  4. Graduate level transfer credits meeting our requirements are allowed even if the master’s degree has not been awarded.
  5. Regardless of the number of transfer units allowed, a student must complete any and all requirements remaining in both the core and emphasis areas for which transfer credit was not allowed.

Listed below are courses that are NOT eligible for transfer credit. Please note that transfer units are credit units and do not require replacement.

  • PSY 6507 Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice: I (3 units)*
  • PSY 6508 Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice: II (3 units)
  • PSY XXXX Any required ethics course
  • PSY XXXX Any clinical practicum
  • Any assessment course**
  • One required intervention course
  • PSY 6035 - 6037 Three required Research Practica***
  • Any course over seven years old

* To apply for a waiver of Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice, students should submit 1) syllabi of graduate level coursework in psychopathology/diagnosis, basic counseling skills, and theories of psychotherapy and 2) a brief videotaped role play or actual therapy session so the student’s basic counseling skills can be assessed. This material should be submitted to the Program Director no later than mid-August. The materials will be submitted to the instructor of Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice for review and for a decision. The student must sign up for the course during registration, and if the waiver is granted the course may be dropped. If the course is not approved for waiver, the student remains in the course. A decision will be made prior to the Add/Drop deadline. If the course is waived, the units must be replaced with elective units. If sufficient elective units have been transferred into the program, an additional course may not have to be completed. Because this is a year-long class, students will receive a waiver for the entire year, if granted, rather than just one semester.

** In order to waive this requirement, the student must contact the Program Director for referral to a faculty member designated to determine waiver requirements.

*** Students may transfer in the first semester of the four semester Research Practicum sequence if they have completed a Master’s thesis in a previous program.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

The PhD Program requires a minimum of 120 academic units and 30 internship units. Requirements for advancement to candidacy include 1) successful completion of 60 units of graduate study at the Fresno location; 2) successful defense of the dissertation proposal at the Preliminary Oral Examination; 3) passing the Research Competency Examination; 4) passing the Diversity Competency Examination, and 5) passing the Clinical Competency Examination. The Research Competency exam is intended to be taken after completing the first year research courses (PSY6051, PSY6052, & PSY6060). The Clinical Competency and Diversity Competency exams are intended to be taken after completing the first year of clinical coursework (PSY6501, PSY6505, PSY6506, PSY6507, PSY6508, PSY6530) , both cultural diversity training experiences (PSY6123, PSY7123), as well as the second and third year clinical practica and at least one required intervention course. Students may not apply for internship until they have been advanced to candidacy by the faculty.

Prior to graduation, students must complete a PhD Portfolio containing the following samples of their work: 1) presentation from a professional conference, 2) article or book chapter submitted for publication, and 3) syllabus from teaching practicum. Students must complete all requirements for the program within eight years.

Curriculum Plan

Second Year

Third Year

** Core Therapy Courses (formerly called Intervention Courses)

Students must take 1 of 2 core individual therapy courses (PSY7537 or PSY7529) and take 1 of 2 core systemic therapy courses (PSY7543 or PSY7604).

**** Teaching Courses

  • GSOE - Educational Leadership or other HSOE course (2 units)
  • PSY 8465 - Distance Education Methods (2 units)


***** Second year students participate in a reciprocal learning experience with a 4th year student, who has been assigned by the Supervision Seminar instructor. The 2nd year student meets with the faculty instructors of the Supervision Seminar class during the fall semester to accomplish the match of 2nd and 4th year students. During the second semester, the matched supervisor-supervisee meet weekly to examine clinical material as an adjunct to the supervision provided by the 2nd year student’s field placement agency.

Some of these courses may be taken online. These include foundational science/theory courses, ethics, and certain electives. Students may complete only one of the ethics courses online and no more than 20% of the program (30 units total) online. The CSPP section on Online Coursework describes the equipment and software needed for full participation in these courses.

Emphasis Areas

In order to obtain an emphasis in any one of the following areas, students must complete 12 units of coursework as designated by the emphasis area, complete the requirements for clinical training (including internship) as defined by the emphasis area, and complete a dissertation with a topic that focuses on that emphasis area. It may be possible to complete more than one emphasis area because of the overlap between the areas.

In addition to formal emphasis areas, students may create a program of study emphasizing their own area(s) of interest.

Ecosystemic Child Emphasis

The Ecosystemic Child Emphasis refers to the integration of the biological, developmental, intrapsychic, systemic, sociocultural, and historical variables that must be taken into account when addressing a child or adolescent’s functioning in the world, at both the case conceptualization and the intervention levels. Psychological interventions are planned within the context of the client’s familial, peer, educational, medical, legal, cultural, and historical systems, as well as the intrapsychic perceptions and developmental level of the client. The Ecosystemic Child Emphasis has a close working relationship with the Association for Play Therapy (APT), an international organization that promotes play therapy training and clinical work. The CSPP clinical psychology programs in Fresno are usually able to offer all the coursework required by APT to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).

All students must take Ecosystemic Clinical Child Theory and Treatment Planning (2 units). Elective course offerings may consist of some of the following: Pediatric Neuropsychology, Cross-Cultural Families, Family Therapy, Play Therapy I: Treatment Planning, Play Therapy II: Interventions, Play Diagnosis, Attachment Play Therapy, Teaching Parents Parenting Skills, Custody Evaluations, California Licensing Laws, Interventions in the Schools, and any of the Infant-Preschooler Mental Health courses (see the Certificates section for a description of this and other certificate programs available to students).

All students must complete 1,000 hours of clinical training with children, adolescents, and families and a dissertation on a topic with a child or adolescent focus.

Health Psychology Emphasis

Students who complete the emphasis will be prepared to function in health care environments including hospices, hospitals, and clinics and to handle the psychological aspects of medical issues that arise in a general practice setting. Health psychologists also work with clients on prevention of illness.

All students will take Introduction to Health Psychology in Multiple Settings (2 units) and Interventions in Health Psychology (2 units) as well as 8 additional elective units, which may include: Consultation and Liaison in Behavioral Medicine, Psychology of Women’s Health, Hypnotherapy, Pediatric Psychology, Pediatric Neuropsychology, Eating Disorders, Alternative Approaches to Health, HIV-AIDS, Medicine and Psychology, Clinical Seminar in Health.

Students must complete a practicum (500 hours) in a health psychology setting; a full pre-doctoral internship in a health psychology setting is strongly recommended as well. A dissertation must be completed in a health psychology related area.

Clinical Forensic Psychology Emphasis

Most often the term forensic is associated with work involving criminal populations. However, the field of forensic psychology also includes a number of clinical services provided to clients who have non-criminal contact with the legal system. These include divorce, custody mediation, worker’s compensation evaluations, disability evaluations, child abuse, adoption, and many others.

All students will take Introduction to Clinical Forensics (2 units). Elective offerings may include such courses as Child Custody Evaluation and Mediation, Seminar in Psycho-legal Evaluation, Seminar in Psycho-legal Consultation, Clinical Psychology and Law, Juvenile Delinquency and Forensic Psychology, Forensic Mediation and Dispute Resolution, and Substance Abuse Theory and Treatment.

Students must complete a practicum (500 hours) in a forensic psychology setting; a full pre-doctoral internship in a forensic psychology setting is strongly recommended as well. A dissertation must be completed in a forensic psychology related area.

Clinical PhD Program Faculty: Fresno

Core faculty for the Fresno PhD program are listed below:

Sue Ammen, PhD, Professor

Manuel Figueroa-Unda, PhD, Professor

Jack Kahn, PhD, Professor and Program Director

Paul Lebby, PhD, Professor

Kevin O’Connor, PhD, Distinguished Professor

Siobhan O’Toole, PhD, Associate Professor

For a detailed description of program faculty background and research interests, please see the alphabetical listing of faculty  for the California School of Professional Psychology.

APA Education and Training Outcomes

The CSPP Fresno Clinical Psychology PhD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA) and publishes the following outcome data as required by APA:

  • Time to Completion
  • Program Costs
  • Internship Placement Rates
  • Attrition
  • Licensure

Please visit the “About CSPP Programs” section of our website ( to view these data.

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202)336-5979

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