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Emphasis Areas

Applicants to the CSPP Clinical PsyD-Los Angeles program may apply to one of three emphasis areas:

  1. Clinical Health Psychology (CHP)
  2. Family/Child and Couple Emphasis (FACE)
  3. Multicultural Community-Clinical Psychology (MCCP)

Students who do not choose to apply to an emphasis area enter the program as Multi-Interest Option (MIO) students. All students receive a general education in clinical psychology.

Clinical Health Psychology Emphasis (CHP)

Clinical Health Psychology (CHP) emphasis area coursework and offerings train students to integrate biomedical, psychological, social, and spiritual modalities to detect and treat psychological distress, foster behavior change, increase adjustment to acute and chronic illnesses, reduce health and health care disparities, and promote psychological growth and wellness. Philosophically, students are trained to appreciate clinical health psychology as an interdisciplinary, applied field that combines clinical psychology, behavioral medicine, public health, social psychology, disease prevention, and health promotion. Conceptually, students are trained to examine and investigate the underlying mechanisms that connect the mind and body and explain the dynamic interaction between our physical and mental health. Overall, CHP students receive the same thorough preparation for clinical and community practice as students in the other emphasis areas, while gaining a foundation of theoretical knowledge and skills necessary to serve a number of professional roles across various community-based, medical and behavioral health care settings. 

Curricular requirements include the introductory first-semester course PSY7627 Psychology of Health and Illness and selecting, at least, six out of 12 required clinical elective units in health-related topics (see examples below). Additional intervention coursework requirements vary by program. CHP students are strongly encouraged to complete their clinical practicum rotations in medical and/or community-based healthcare settings and are typically mentored throughout the dissertation process to develop a research project or clinical dissertation that contributes to the field of health psychology and behavioral medicine.

Recent CHP electives include:

  • Biofeedback
  • Loss, Grief, and Bereavement
  • Minority Stress and Health Disparities
  • Neuropsychological Assessment
  • Pediatric Psychology
  • Psychology in Medical Settings

Within this emphasis area, we strive to help our students gain knowledge and skills that align with the assessment, intervention, research, and consultation competencies developed by the leaders of APA’s Division 38, Health Psychology, at the first meeting of council of clinical health psychology training programs (Masters, France, & Thorn, 2009).


Masters, K. S., France, C. R., & Thorn, B. E. (2009). Enhancing preparation among entry-level clinical health psychologists: Recommendations for “best practices” from the first meeting of the council of clinical health psychology training programs (CCHPTP). Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 3(4), 193-201. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0016049

Health Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Peter Theodore

Family/Child and Couple Clinical Psychology Emphasis (FACE)

The Family/child and Couple Emphasis (FACE) is for students who are dedicated to learning family and couple psychology intervention. Our goal is to introduce graduate students to the theory, research, and clinical practice of family and couple psychology. This is accomplished through coursework in which students learn about families, couples, adults, and children from diverse backgrounds. Students are taught to work with families, couples, and individuals from a systemic perspective. Skills are developed in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of relationship systems.

In the first two or three years of the FACE emphasis, students learn how to conceptualize, assess, and interview families and couples. The required introductory PSY 6607 Family Psychology course in the first year prepares students for advanced FACE family systems intervention coursework required for FACE students. Students are also required to take six elective units offered in the FACE emphasis.

Recent FACE electives include:

  • Couple Therapy
  • Group Psychotherapy
  • Integrated Approaches to Sex, Intimacy, and Relationship Problems
  • Interventions with Multicultural Adolescents
  • Sex Therapy
  • Therapy with Alternative Families

Students meet with their faculty, academic advisor, and FACE faculty to determine which other advanced clinical electives and seminars best fit into their plan of study so their career goals are met. Creating a niche entails taking courses as well as networking in the community. The FACE emphasis area assists students in developing their professional identity through coursework, lectures, networking opportunities, and also offers a half-time internship working with families at the Ronald McDonald House.

FACE Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Susan Regas

Multicultural Community-Clinical Psychology Emphasis (MCCP)

The Multicultural Community-Clinical Psychology Emphasis (MCCP) reflects the state-of-the-art in training philosophy, curriculum, and applied experiences relevant to training clinical psychologists with special competence in multicultural and community psychology. The MCCP emphasis area provides an additional opportunity for students to develop:

  1. More advanced conceptual and intervention skills relevant to psychotherapy with culturally diverse populations
  2. Competence beyond individual psychopathology that includes conceptualization and intervention with community-level distress and social problems
  3. An understanding of sociopolitical and sociocultural influences on psychological functioning and well-being
  4. Skills to develop programs and activities focused on the prevention of psychopathology and social problems
  5. Knowledge of community psychology theory and practice

MCCP's mission is to nurture the development of clinical psychologists who will work to understand, prevent, and reduce psychological and community distress and enhance the psychological well-being of historically underserved, stigmatized, and oppressed groups. In doing this, special attention is paid to the cultural and sociopolitical context of the individuals, families, and communities we serve. Faculty members in the emphasis area are committed to fostering a climate of inclusion, respect for differences, and a sense of community both within and outside of CSPP.

Through coursework (including the required introductory PSY 6608 Community Clinical Issues course and six MCCP elective units), field experiences, and mentorship by our faculty, students learn theory, research, and intervention strategies applicable to working with adults, adolescents, children, families, communities, institutional systems, and specific multicultural groups. Faculty focuses on training clinical psychologists who are critical thinkers about the etiology of psychological distress and who can conceptualize the multiple pathways to healing individuals, families, and communities.

Recent MCCP electives include:

  • Community Psychology Interventions
  • Ecopsychology
  • Ethnic Minority Mental Health
  • Group Counseling in Community Settings
  • Multicultural Neuropsychology
  • Psychology of Immigrants: Trauma and Treatment

MCCP Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Richard Mendoza

Multi-Interest Option (MIO)

Students who do not select an emphasis area at the time of application participate in the Multi-Interest Option (MIO). The MIO faculty includes practitioners and researchers who have multiple professional interests and are involved in various aspects of clinical psychology. Instead of focusing on a particular clinical emphasis or expertise, MIO provides a solid base in the field of clinical psychology as well as flexibility for students who are interested in multiple facets of the profession. From the diversity that it offers, MIO faculty members bring to students a broad spectrum of what clinical psychology offers and the various professional opportunities and potential career goals students can pursue as future psychologists. MIO offers students flexibility in their choice of elective courses and topics for their clinical dissertations and other scholarly and field training interests.

The faculty and students affiliated with MIO provide colloquia and social gatherings that, like those sponsored by the emphasis areas, are open to all members of the campus community. For example, MIO has sponsored presentations that promote awareness of diverse roles in professional psychology by MIO faculty sharing their clinical expertise (e.g. lunch colloquia, formal workshops), enlisting alumni to discuss their career trajectories, an introduction to grant writing and publications, and hosting a panel discussion on professional consultation as a professional activity. The MIO faculty seeks to encourage students' scholarly and professional growth in a wide range of interest areas. The first-year introductory course PSY 6522 Introduction to MIO is a required course for all MIO students.

Recent MIO electives include:

  • Clinical Applications of Mindfulness
  • Crisis Interventions & Trauma Response
  • Humanistic Approaches
  • Rorschach & Projective Testing
  • Spirituality & Psychotherapy

MIO Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Randy Noblitt