Catalog 2013-2014 
    Apr 25, 2024  
Catalog 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Psychology: PsyD, Fresno

The Fresno Clinical PsyD Program is a practitioner-scholar 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:

Program Outcomes

The Clinical PsyD program offered in Fresno is designed to train students to be competent in nine broad areas:

  • Scientific Psychology (Social and Developmental Psychology, History and Systems, Biological Science, and Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior) links the core sciences with contemporary thought, research and practice in psychology;
  • Intervention Skills enable students to plan, implement, and evaluate their work within a cultural framework;• Ethics and Professional Competency prepares students to effectively and ethically intervene in a variety of settings, using a variety of techniques and modalities
  • Relationship Skills enable students to make interpersonal connections, maintain professional 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 one’s world view;
  • Assessment and Diagnosis Skills (diagnosis, interviewing, testing, and report writing) enable students to engage in an ongoing process of evaluating their practice, research and teaching;
  • Lifelong Learning engages students in self-evaluation and continuous education
  • Supervision and Management enables students to provide good clinical and professional feedback to others; and provide effective leadership.
  • Research and Evaluation prepares students to critically evaluate the research literature in service of clinical goals and to conduct applied research and program evaluation.

Training Model: A Practitioner-Scholar Program

The Fresno Clinical PsyD Program emphasizes clinical skills and the application of research knowledge. The PsyD program takes four years to complete, with the fourth year spent in a full-time internship.

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

In addition to their basic education in clinical psychology, students have the opportunity to select an emphasis area (ecosystemic child, health, forensic or self-determined) in which to develop focused study and clinical expertise. During the program students are evaluated on progressive developmental stages of their training. The evaluation begins prior to admission and includes evaluation of a student’s readiness for practicum training, readiness for internship, and readiness for practice.

After a decade of being accredited as a single program, the Fresno/Sacramento Clinical PsyD program submitted to the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association a plan to separately accredit the two sites. The proposal has been accepted; therefore, Fresno and Sacramento will begin the process of separating the program over the next two years, seeking separate accreditations in AY12-13 (with effective dates in AY13-14).

Field Training

The PsyD program emphasizes the integration of academic coursework with clinical practice. In order to integrate appropriate skills with material learned in the classroom, students typically participate in a professional training placement experience beginning in the first year. The professional training placement experiences completed prior to the full-time predoctoral internship are known as practicum experiences. Students are required to train in different settings each year, gaining experience with different populations in order to ensure a broad base of training.

Students typically are placed in a 10-15 hour/week practicum in the second semester of their first year. Second-year clinical PsyD students are required to participate in a 15-20 hour/week practicum. With few exceptions, third-year clinical PsyD students spend 20 hours per week in a practicum at the Psychological Services Center on the Fresno campus.

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 his or her Professional Training Liaison make the final placement decisions jointly. Each site is evaluated annually by the students and the OPT staff.

Fourth year students are responsible for obtaining an appropriate 1-year, full-time internship and are strongly encouraged to seek an APA-accredited internship although APPIC, or CAPIC internships are permissible (up to 2080 hours). The Office of Professional Training assists in the internship placement process. For many students, in the fourth year the internship stipend covers the costs of tuition and living expenses. The Golden State Psychological Internship Association, housed in Fresno provides local APA-Accredited internship sites.

Research Training

One of the unique aspects of the PsyD program is the class format in which the dissertation is completed. During their second and third years in the program, students complete their dissertation while taking the PsyD Dissertation Proposal and PsyD Dissertation course series. This four semester intensive structure has proven extremely successful in facilitating students completing the program on time.

Specialized Admissions Requirements: Credit for Previous Graduate Work

Students applying to the Fresno/ clinical PsyD program may be eligible to receive credit for previous graduate work. 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.

Any single course can only be used to fulfill one course requirement.

  1. The Fresno Clinical PsyD 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, within the past seven years and must be from a regionally accredited institution.
  2. 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 four-year program to three years, but this is rare due to the sequential nature of the course sequences. Students should consult with their academic advisor immediately if they believe they can reduce their time to completion.
  3. Graduate level transfer credits meeting our requirements are allowed even if the master’s degree has not been awarded. Approval of the course syllabus and the instructor CV are required for every course. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain this documentation.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 6530 Introduction to Ethical Practice & Law (2 units)
  • PSY 7566 Ethical Foundations of Clinical Practice (2 units)
  • PSY 6501 Intellectual Assessment (3 units)***
  • PSY 6505 Personality Assessment I (3 units)***
  • PSY 6506 Personality Assessment II (3 units)***
  • PSY 6570**, PSY 7571, PSY7572, PSY 8571, PSY8572 Practicum
  • PSY9531, PSY9532 Internship

* These courses may be considered for waiver; if they are waived, units must be replaced with electives

* 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 OPT Liaison reviews the information submitted by the student as to the nature and content of the practicum, the number of hours, and the site of the experience. The OPT Liaison will make a decision in conjunction with the Program Director and the student will be notified as to whether or not the practicum may be waived. This decision must be made as soon as possible, preferably by the Add/Drop deadline. If the practicum is waived, the units must be replaced and the hours of the waived practicum will be added to the next required practicum. Under certain circumstances practicum hours may be accepted for transfer.

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

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

The PsyD Program requires a minimum of 90 academic units and 30 internship units. Requirements for advancement to candidacy include 1) successful completion of 60 units of graduate study; 2) successful defense of the dissertation proposal at the Preliminary Oral Examination; 3) successful completion of at least 2 of the 5 Foundational Science Examinations; and 4) successful completion of the Clinical Proficiency Progress Review (CPPR) at Post Test. The Foundational Science exams are offered at the end of each semester (during finals week) and are intended to be taken at the end of the term in which the student completes the related course. The Clinical Proficiency Progress Review (CPPR) is given twice during the student’s clinical training, at the beginning and end of the third year practicum. Students may take the exams as many times as necessary during the eight years allowable for the completion of the doctoral degree. Students may not apply for internship until they have met all requirements for advancement to candidacy.

Curriculum Plan


*PSY6501 & PSY6505 require weekly participation in both 3-hour instruction and 1-hour lab (scheduled separately).

**First year students participate in a reciprocal learning experience with a third year student, who has been assigned by the Supervision Seminar instructor. The first year student meets with the faculty instructors of the Supervision Seminar class during the fall semester to accomplish the match of first and third 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 first year student’s field placement agency.

Fourth Year

 *** Students may request an exception to participate in a 2-year, half-time internship (PSY9561-PSY9566) in place of a 1-year, full-time internship.


Students must remain enrolled in Dissertation Extension until the bound copy of the dissertation is placed in the library. During internship year, the registration requirement is 1 unit in Fall and Spring semesters. After or before internship, the requirement is 3 units per semester up to 4 semesters.

Several courses are offered online. Students may complete up to 2 foundational science courses, 1 ethics course, and 2 other required courses, as well as up to 11 units of electives, in an online/distributed learning format. Required assessment and intervention courses must be taken in a face-to-face format. The CSPP  section of 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 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. For example, a student might create a program emphasizing “Family Advocacy” by combining topics such as family therapy, play therapy, juvenile justice, education law as it applies to the rights of emotionally disturbed children, pediatric psychology, child custody evaluation, divorce mediation, and so forth. The ecosystemic focus of the PsyD program lends itself particularly well to the creation of such individualized programs of study.

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 and Sacramento 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, 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 1000 hours of clinical training with children, adolescents, and families and a dissertation on a topic with a child or adolescent focus.

Health Psychology Emphasis

Health Psychology is a rapidly expanding specialty area. 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. Emerging primary care roles for psychologists have been used to enhance the practicum and research offerings within our health psychology emphasis.

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, Primary Care Behavioral Medicine, or 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

The field of clinical forensic psychology includes clinical services provided to clients with criminal and non-criminal contact with the legal system, covering diverse needs related to divorce, custody mediation, worker’s compensation evaluations, disability evaluations, child abuse, and adoption, in addition to work in prison and jail. The Clinical Forensic Emphasis in Fresno aims to prepare students to work with clients in these diverse situations.

All students will take Introduction to Clinical Forensics (2 units) and Forensic Assessment (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. Dissertations must be completed in a forensic psychology related area.


In addition to the primary emphases, the Fresno and Sacramento PsyD faculties are committed to offering a broad array of elective courses reflecting theory, assessment, and intervention across a variety of systems, especially across cultural systems. The importance of the cultural system is emphasized throughout students’ academic and clinical training. In addition to regular coursework in this area, many of the faculty members have extensive experience teaching and working outside the United States. Countries where our faculty have lived, taught, or worked include Canada, Chile, England, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, the Netherlands, Scotland, Singapore and South Africa, among others. This experience enriches every course they teach. The focus on cultural issues ensures students will be prepared for professional practice in a pluralistic society.

Clinical PsyD Program Faculty: Fresno

Core faculty for the Fresno PsyD program are listed below:

Lynette Bassman, PhD, Professor

Debra Bekerian, PhD, Assistant Professor

Robert N. Harris, PhD, Professor and Program Director

OShan D. Gadsden, PhD, Assistant Professor

Sue A. Kuba, PhD, Professor and Systemwide Director for Online Education

Kevin O’Connor, PhD, Distinguished Professor

David Tanner, PhD, Visiting 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/Sacramento Clinical Psychology PsyD 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