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Emphasis Areas

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

ABA Emphasis

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.