The curriculum is designed to provide advanced doctoral students with the opportunity to complete coursework in an area of interest or to take electives to enhance the required course offerings. This study option into specific emphasis areas provides an entry to specialization which can continue at the post-doctoral level. Normally, two to four courses will be offered during the academic year from each of the emphases. Students who choose to pursue an emphasis area may be required to complete additional units beyond the 120 units required for the PsyD degree. Please consult with your advisor for more information.
Buddhist Psychotherapy Experience Area
Mindfulness and meditation-based practices have increased steadily over the past decades. However, scholars such as Jon Kabat-Zinn have commented on the independence of these practices from the original teachings and theoretical origins from which these practices have derived. The Buddhist Psychotherapy Experience Area aims to address this void currently in the field of psychology.
This experience area provides some exposure to the philosophical and psychotherapeutic aspects in the fundamental teachings of Early Buddhism as found in the Suttapitaka. Students will also be introduced to early Buddhist meditation practice and are required to participate in a 3-day silent mediation retreat at one of our CSPP campuses as part of their skill development. The goal of this experience area is to give students a practical and coherent framework to practice psychotherapy where secular early Buddhist theory of the mind and the theoretical bases of mindfulness are at the core and Western psychological principles and practice are integrated into it. Coursework and case consultation prepare students for further professional development and specialization beyond the doctorate.
Clinical Health Emphasis
The clinical health emphasis gives students the academic, research, and clinical training necessary to prepare students for work within the field of health psychology. Both coursework and practicum placements help students in acquiring knowledge and skills necessary for functioning as an allied health provider in an interdisciplinary medical setting. Curriculum will emphasize teaching empirically-based theories, research, and interventions, including but not limited to: psychological factors that affect physical health outcomes; assessment in medical populations; health behavior change theories, adherence and motivation; and coping with physical disease. The program integrates the life-span perspective throughout the coursework and examines age, cohort, gender, insurance status, and ethnic/cultural factors on health.
Family/Child Psychology Emphasis
This emphasis is designed for students who are interested in developing proficiency in evaluation, treatment and research with children and families. Courses cover the entire life span from infancy through old age and are presented from various theoretical viewpoints, including family-systems, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and lifespan development.
The program supports 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, early childhood psychopathology, aging, child resiliency, divorce, child custody, step families, and process and outcomes of family interventions.
Integrative Psychology Emphasis
This emphasis area exposes students to the basic principles of Integrative Psychology. An integrative, systems approach to health and healing brings multiple ways of knowing into psychological practice, encouraging practitioners to attend not only to cognitive behaviors, but also to cultural and spiritual concerns.
In many ways, integrative psychology refocuses attention on traditional healing practices that are concerned with the complex ways in which social context, body, mind, and emotions continually interact and influence well-being. Integrative psychology includes the study of spirituality, consciousness, imagery, somatic practices, expressive arts, human ecology, postmodern cultural psychologies, and the application of all these in clinical settings. At the same time, the field values mainstream psychological models and emphasizes research based on systems theory and integrated methodologies.
Since a psychologist’s own perceptions profoundly influence outcomes, the courses and credits included in this emphasis area are intended to ensure that professionals-in-training refine their values along with their skills and that they work to achieve educated intentionality and mindfulness in all phases of clinical work. This emphasis addresses a shortage of qualified psychologists with experience in the holistic balancing of health, suffering and death issues, psychospiritual counseling, and conflicting belief systems viewed in their cultural contexts. An integrative approach trains psychologists to provide pathways rather than simply treat symptoms.
Military & Veteran Psychology Experience Area
The Military & Veteran Experience area is provided as an option to students who would like to focus some of their education & training in this specific clinical area. The two aims of this experience area are:
1. To provide students with an understanding of military and veteran culture for therapeutic practice with veterans and military personnel and their families.
2. To familiarize students with evidence-based interventions and resources available to clinicians treating these populations.
Multicultural and International Emphasis
The Alliant approach to multiculturalism incorporates diversity in many respects, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin and international status, 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, multicultural 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.
This 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, developmental 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.
Trauma Focused Forensic Experience
Forensic Psychology is “the professional practice by psychologists within the areas of clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, or another specialty recognized by the American Psychological Association, when they are engaged as experts and represent themselves as such, in an activity primarily intended to provide professional psychological expertise to the judicial system.” (Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology, https://www.cospp.org/forensic-psychology, downloaded January 1, 2019). Because of the high prevalence and widespread impact of trauma in forensic settings, we have developed a Forensic Experience that includes exposure to trauma-informed assessment and case conceptualization.
Aims and Competencies
Competence in performing forensic work requires specialized training and practice at the postdoctoral level and is dependent on underlying foundational competency in the science and professional practice of psychology. The aim of the Trauma Focused Forensic Experience (TFFE) is to prepare students who are interested in specializing in Forensic Psychology by augmenting their generalist training with foundational knowledge of the core principles of the application of psychology to the legal system, including:
1. foundations of the legal system (e.g., types of courts, expert witness requirements, responses to subpoenas);
2. basic legal principles that are relevant to Forensic practice (e.g., Constitutional rights, statutory provisions, case law);
3. differences in methodologies between general clinical assessment and forensic assessment;
4. assessment of insanity and competency (relevant laws, sample evaluation materials);
5. assessment issues in trauma populations;
6. ethical issues that arise particularly in forensic contexts;
7. sociocultural considerations relevant to forensic practice.
Program Learning Outcomes/Goals
The program has adopted a series of three aims, nine competencies and related elements designed to implement its philosophy and meet the overall program aims. The competencies are met operationally through various academic and training activities that include courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences. Multiple data sources are used to assess outcomes relative to these competencies. These competencies specify attitudes, knowledge, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the program and perceptions, feelings, and professional achievements alumni are expected to report as they pursue their profession. The elements are the expected specific outcomes for each of the respective competencies.
Aim 1: To prepare students as effective professional psychologists who are skilled at evaluating psychological functioning and providing empirically-supported interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings.
Aim 2: Train competent health service psychologists (HSPs) to deliver scientifically-informed psychological services to diverse individuals and groups.
Aim 3: Provide students with strong professional identities as licensed psychologists and the clinical skills, professional behaviors, and attitudes that reflect the highest ethical and professional standards in the entry-level practice of clinical psychology.
All students are expected to acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of and competence in the following nine profession-wide competency areas:
- Ethical and Legal Standards
- Individual and Cultural Diversity
- Professional Values and Attitudes
- Communication and Interpersonal Skills
- Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills
The competencies are met operationally through various academic and training activities that include courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences. Multiple data sources are used to assess outcomes relative to these competencies. These competencies specify knowledge, attitudes, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the program.
In addition, all students are expected to possess discipline-specific knowledge in the following four categories:
- History and Systems of Psychology
- The basic content areas of scientific psychology, including affective, biological cognitive, developmental, and social aspects of behavior.
- Advanced integrative knowledge in scientific psychology.
- Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics.
All psychologists who offer direct services to the public for a fee must be licensed or certified by the state in which they practice. Applicants for licensure in the state of California must hold an earned doctoral degree in psychology, educational psychology, education with a specialization in counseling psychology, or education with a specialization in educational psychology from an approved or accredited educational institution. They also must have completed 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience (of which at least 1,500 must be postdoctoral) and have taken and passed the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE). In addition, they must submit evidence of having completed coursework in human sexuality, child abuse, substance abuse, spousal abuse, and aging and long-term care. Continuing education is required to maintain the license. CSPP doctoral course requirements are designed to fulfill the programmatic requirements for licensure in California.
Every state has its own requirements for licensure. Therefore, it is essential that all Clinical PsyD and PhD students who plan to apply for licensure in states other than California contact the licensing board in those states for information on state requirements (e.g., coursework, practicum and internship hours, supervision, or nature of the doctoral project or dissertation). Students seeking licensure in other states should plan ahead to ensure they meet all of those states’ requirements.
For further information on licensure in California or other states contact:
Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
PO Box 241245
Montgomery, AL 36124-1245
(334) 832-4580, firstname.lastname@example.org
California Board of Psychology
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1400
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 263-2699, email@example.com
Practice Directorate American Psychological Association
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(202) 336-5979, firstname.lastname@example.org