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

Clinical Psychology: PhD, San Diego

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The San Diego PhD program is 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 program is driven by two major goals. The first goal is to prepare students as effective professional psychologists who are skilled at evaluating psychological functioning and providing efficacious interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings. The second goal is to prepare students to conduct applied research in clinical psychology, thereby contributing to the knowledge base in the field.

The program model is further specified through seven objectives which, in turn, correspond to specific program requirements:

Objective 1: To develop broad theoretical and scientific knowledge in substantive areas that provides the basis for the effective practice of clinical psychology.

Objective 2: To develop an understanding of psychopathology and psychological assessment, and to apply such knowledge in the evaluation of psychological functioning in a variety of settings with diverse populations.

Objective 3: To develop an understanding of the efficacy and models of application of psychological interventions in a variety of settings with diverse populations.

Objective 4: To develop an understanding of the legal, ethical, and professional principles of clinical psychology, and how to apply these principles in research and practice.

Objective 5: To integrate research findings and processes with clinical practice.

Objective 6: To develop research skills and knowledge, and the ability to review, evaluate, and synthesize empirical research.

Objective 7: To develop skills as an independent researcher and the ability to contribute scientific knowledge to the field of psychology.

Training Model: A Scholar-Practitioner Program

The Clinical Psychology PhD program offers a well integrated model of education and training in which research and theory clearly inform clinical practice and in which observations made in the clinical arena inform research questions. The curriculum is a well-balanced articulation of the competencies required for productive scholarship and multiculturally sensitive, evidence-based, professional practice.

Multicultually relevant knowledge and skills are highly valued by the San Diego clinical faculty and are infused throughout the curriculum. In addition, all clinical PhD students take a required course in multicultural competency development followed by one advanced, multicultural elective. Our selection of clinical practicum and internship agencies afford excellent opportunities for our students to develop multiculturally competent assessment and treatment skills. Similarly, the diverse community provides excellent opportunities for multicultural applied research, and many students take advantage of this opportunity for their dissertation.

Field Training

Students learn applied professional skills through formal coursework and through clinical training experiences supervised by faculty and professionals in the community. Each student is assigned a professional training advisor who, along with the student’s core faculty advisor, helps the student to formulate an individualized plan for practicum and internship training designed to insure (a) that training experiences are consistent with the student’s growing skill levels and professional goals and (b) that the student is exposed to a breadth of training experiences with a variety of clinical populations and professional role models.

Clinical practica are taken in the second (800 hours) and third (1000 hours) years of the program after students have mastered the prerequisite knowledge and skills that provide the foundations on which to build clinical competencies. In addition to obtaining training and supervised practice at a minimum of two distinct practicum placement sites, practicum students enroll concurrently in campus-based clinical consultation groups offered by core and senior adjunct faculty. These groups augment the supervision received at the agencies, insure integration of classroom and clinical knowledge, support evidence based practice, and allow faculty to directly assess the development of students’ clinical competencies.

The internship is the more extensive training experience for advanced students. All San Diego clinical psychology PhD program students are advised and strongly encouraged to apply for a full-time, APA accredited clinical internship that is taken in the fifth year of the program. Students unable to attend an APA accredited internship will complete two year-long, half-time internships in the fifth and sixth years taken at approved local agencies.

Students select their practicum and local internship placements from more than 80 agencies. Most of these facilities are within a 25-mile radius of the campus, but some are as far as 80 miles away for the benefit of advanced students who live in Orange County. These agencies have over 350 professional training positions. The Professional Training Office coordinates these experiences and provides continuous oversight to insure that students receive high quality clinical training experiences.

Research Training

The knowledge and skills necessary to conduct independent clinical research are introduced during the first year of the program and built upon in the years that follow. Students select a core faculty member under whose direction the student participates in a first year Research Practicum experience. Students learn to design their own studies in the second year and simultaneously begin their enrollment in the dissertation research course sequence that continues through the completion of the dissertation. Students must complete their dissertation proposals prior to applying for the internship training experience.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

The program is designed to be completed in five years, including a full-time internship. Students who complete courses during the summer or who transfer credit based on previous graduate coursework may shorten the time to degree completion. It is also possible to go through the program at a moderated pace and complete the requirements over six years. Students may choose to concentrate their elective courses within emphasis areas such as child/family, health psychology, forensics, multicultural, psychodynamic, or assessment. The program also offers a Health Track with dedicated course sequencing and expanded requirements such as required coursework in psychophysiology and biofeedback, clinical medicine, and health psychology interventions.

Students complete competency and writing proficiency examinations as partial fulfillment of the requirements for admission to doctoral candidacy. 150 units are required for the PhD degree and 153 units are required for the Health Track PhD degree. Curriculum requirements are subject to change according with changes in the CA licensing laws, accreditation requirements, and national trends.

Non-terminal Masters Degree

Clinical Psychology doctoral students have the option to apply for a Master of Arts degree in Psychology.

Requirements to qualify for the non-terminal masters degree:

  • Student is in good academic standing
  • Student’s GPA is 3.0 or above
  • Student has completed G1 and G2 coursework to include a minimum of 60 units. For transfer students, the student has completed at least 60 units, with at least 51 units out of the 60 being Alliant coursework.

Curriculum Plan

Track I


Students are now eligible for the Master’s Degree.  Consult Registrar’s Office for appropriate forms and fees.

Fourth Year - Spring

Full-Time Internship

Half-Time Internship

Track II - Health Track


Students are now eligible for the Master’s degree. Consult Registrar’s Office for appropriate forms and fees.

Fourth Year - Spring

Full-Time Internship

Half-Time Internship

Elective Emphasis Areas

All clinical PhD program students obtain solid generalist education and training in preparation for professional practice. The PhD clinical program provides advanced doctoral students with the opportunity to concentrate their elective choices in an area of special interest, if they wish to do so. There is no requirement to select an emphasis area, and students are allowed their choice of offered electives to suit their personal interests and aspirations. The track and Emphasis Area options prepare one to pursue further specialization at the postdoctoral level. Emphasis area elective courses are routinely offered at least once a year for all emphasis areas. Descriptions and examples of curriculum options for the emphasis areas follow.

Health Emphasis

Health Psychology is concerned with biopsychosocial factors related to health and illness, the individuals affected, and the health care providers and institutions that serve them. Students who elect the Health Psychology Emphasis Area develop knowledge and skills that integrate the medical/biological domains and the psychological/social domains in order to provide a theoretical and practical foundation for the roles that clinical psychologists play in a variety of health care settings. Three courses are required to complete the health Emphasis Area, two of which are mandatory.

Required courses for the emphasis area:

Choose at least one of the following application courses:

Additional Requirements:

Practicum or internship involving clinical health psychology supervised practice and associated consultation group [PSY 8551] that provides supervision focusing on children and families.

It is expected that students will focus their dissertation research on a health related topic.

Family/Child Psychology Emphasis

The family/child psychology emphasis is designed for students who are interested in developing proficiency in evaluation, treatment, and research with children and families. Courses are presented from various theoretical viewpoints including family-systems, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and lifespan development. You can expect your courses to include the study of ethnic and cultural issues as they affect the individual and the family. Faculty research interests include family violence, child abuse and neglect, adolescent development, childhood social competence and peer relationships, pediatric and adolescent health psychology, child obesity, early childhood psychopathology, child resiliency, step families, and process and outcomes of family interventions.

Required courses for the emphasis area:

Additional Requirements:

Practicum or internship involving clinical work with children and families and associated consultation group [PSY 8551] that provides supervision focusing on children and families.

Dissertation research involving children or families.

Example year plan selections:

By year, here are the emphasis area courses that students would take and the experiences that they would have:

FIRST YEAR: Fall or Spring
PSY 6540 Family Systems Theory (take PSY6525 Behavioral/social learning theories in other semester; take PSY6524 - Psychoanalytic theories as an elective if desired)
G1: Spring
PSY 6140 Lifespan Developmental Psychology

Obtain a Child/Family oriented practicum
Enroll in research group with faculty member amenable to Child/Family topic

PSY 8545 Developmental Psychopathology [Elective]
G-3: Spring
PSY 7501 Theory and Practice of Psychotherapy – Child

FOURTH YEAR: Fall or Spring
PSY 7503 Family Psychotherapy [Therapy elective]
PSY 8540 Family Therapy with Ethnic Families [Multicultural Elective]
Two other electives (may or may not be Child/Family)
Dissertation must be Child/Family topic.

Forensic Psychology Emphasis

The forensic psychology emphasis focuses on the relationship and interdependency of law, social science, and clinical practice. It provides the basic foundation for post-graduate training for a career in forensic clinical psychology. The emphasis requires the completion of an introductory course in forensics, which acquaints the student with the nature of the legal system and the varied roles of psychologists within it. This introduction also includes training in the basics of testimony the preparation of a defensible report; the appropriate presentation of one’s qualifications; the persuasive presentation of psychological science to a judge, jury, or within an amicus brief; and the increased ability to withstand cross-examination. Additional courses address psychological assessment, violence, and antisocial behavior and other clinical topics. Students also have the option of taking an organizational psychology advanced seminar addressing conflict management or dispute resolution. Students are expected to address an issue in forensic psychology in their dissertation. They are also encouraged, but not required, to procure forensic training in their practicum or internship. Students are expected to take one PSY 8551 Clinical Consultation course focusing on forensic issues.

Four courses are required to complete the emphasis area, two of which are mandatory:

The student will select two of the following offerings to complete the emphasis:

Additional Requirements:

It is expected that PhD dissertations will focus on a topic related to forensic psychology.

Multicultural and International Emphasis

The Alliant approach to multiculturalism is inclusive. It incorporates diversity in many respects including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, geographical and international factors, age, social class, religion, and disability. Central to traditional clinical psychology is the examination of factors known to be relevant to mental health/mental illness as western society defines them. The goal of this emphasis area is to go beyond the traditional western, majority cultural viewpoint so that students might have the basic preparation to focus on cultural and international encounters in professional psychology. Whereas traditional psychology focuses primarily on individual psychological activity, cultural psychology is based on the view that cultural and societal level influences on the individual can be best understood by incorporating societal systemic variables and cultural contexts. The emphasis provides students with opportunities to prepare for clinical licensure, research, teaching, and consulting in the area of cultural diversity.

In addition to the two cultural psychology courses required of all students, a total of nine additional units in multicultural or international psychology are required.

Students must take at least one multicultural elective in addition to the multicultural elective required of all PhD students such as:

Emphasis Area students must take at least one Multicultural Practice Course, such as:

Additional Requirements:

Students in this emphasis take coursework in these broadly defined multicultural and international areas and complete a dissertation relevant to some aspect of cultural or international psychology.

They must also arrange for at least one professional training placement in a setting serving a culturally diverse population. The vast majority of our training sites serve such populations. Students are expected to take one of the PSY 8551 Clinical Consultation courses in a section emphasizing diversity issues.

Psychodynamic Emphasis

The psychodynamic emphasis provides students with a coherent practical and theoretical framework to practice general psychology in a variety of settings with children and adults. The psychodynamic emphasis curriculum gives students exposure to coursework and supervision integrating object relations, self psychology, analytic psychology, existential psychology, and cognitive, science-based approaches to unconscious processes. Coursework and supervision prepare students for further professional development and specialization beyond the doctorate.

Students in the psychodynamic emphasis area are required to complete at least three courses among the psychodynamic offerings, complete at least one practicum with psychodynamic supervision, complete a dissertation in an area pertinent to psychodynamic theory, research or application, and enroll in one PSY 8551 Clinical Consultation section incorporating a psychodynamic emphasis.

  • PSY 7643 - Transference and Counter- Transference
  • PSY 8500 - Clinical Elective : Advanced Psychodynamic Interventions (3 units)
  • PSY 8500 - Clinical Elective: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Adolescents (3 units)
  • PSY 8800 - Advanced Seminar : Theoretical Psychodynamic Issues (3 units)
  • PSY 8800 - Advanced Seminar: Object Relations (3 units)
  • PSY 8800 - Advanced Seminar: Research and Empirical Foundations of Psychoanalysis (3 units)

Students must also take at least one elective, which might include:

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Emphasis and Certificate Program

The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Emphasis Area provides the coursework and practicum experiences necessary for eligibility to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The ABA Emphasis Area will introduce students to the core content and application of applied behavior assessment and intervention in the fields of mental health and developmental disabilities. A particular focus will be in the application of ABA for children and adolescents with Neuro-developmental disorders such as autism, severe disruptive behavior disorders, and mental retardation.

There are five required courses:

Additional Requirements:

BCBA eligibility also requires 1500 hours of supervised practicum experience. Students enrolled in the ABA Emphasis Area will be given priority for captive practica that meet eligibility requirements for BCBA certification.

Clinical PhD Program Faculty: San Diego

Core faculty for the San Diego PhD program are listed below:

Kristi Alexander, PhD, Associate Professor

Omar Alhassoon, PhD, Associate Professor

Sopagna Eap Braje, Assistant Professor

Milton Brown, PhD, Associate Professor

Joanne Callan, PhD, Distinguished Professor

Constance Dalenberg, PhD, Distinguished Professor

Richard Gervitz, PhD, Distinguished Professor

Kristen Jastrowski-Mano, PhD, Assistant Professor

Alan Lincoln, PhD, Professor

Adele Rabin, PhD, Professor

Irwin Rosenfarb, PhD, Professor and Interim Program Director

Jill Stoddard, PhD, Assistant Professor

Donald Viglione, PhD, Distinguished 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.

The clinical psychology PhD program in San Diego also has five affiliated research faculty who run active research and clinical programs:

Wayne Bardwell, PhD

Kerri Boutelle, PhD

Erika Swift Holtermann, PhD

Patricia Judd, PhD

Dennis Reaves, PhD

APA Education and Training Outcomes

The CSPP San Diego 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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