Home   >   CSPP   >   Programs & Degrees   >   Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program   >   Clinical Psychology Psy Fresno/  

Emphasis Areas

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 program in Fresno is usually able to offer all the coursework required by APT to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) and has the unusual honor of being a designated site for doctoral training in Play Therapy by APT.

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. Newly expanding opportunities in Primary Care Medicine rely heavily on the skills taught in this 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, 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

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). 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 PsyD faculty members 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.