The California Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Behavioral Science, Public Safety, and Justice Curriculum Plans

Please note that there may be other requirements for completion or options for elective and specialized courses. Please see the academic catalog for the full curriculum. Course offerings and sequence are subject to change.

Many of the Advanced Practice Certificates are eligible for Continuing Education credit through the American Psychological Association (APA). CSFS is also an official corporate sponsor of the International Law Enforcement Education and Trainers Association (ILEETA).

The following Advanced Practice Certificates are offered as 3 courses over 3, 8-week terms:

Certificates will be accepted for transfer credit toward select 3-unit courses in CSFS’s Master’s of Science Forensic Behavior Science or Master of Science Forensic Administration and Leadership. Up to two certificates can be transferred.

Description: Designed for professionals interested in gaining a greater understanding of conflict dynamics and in obtaining evidence-based knowledge and skills to support conflict resolution in multiple contexts.

Course One: The Fundamentals of Mediation

This course examines mediation theory and practice and provides and in-depth exploration of selected aspects of the mediation process is it relates to the larger conflict resolution context. The course addresses topics such as resistant parties, overcoming impasse, mediating with individuals and groups, using a decision-tree analysis, and employing counterintuitive and “mindful” mediation strategies. Ethical issues and public policy concerns, such as the limits of confidentiality and expectations of procedural fairness, are also explored.

Course Two: Communication and Human Factors in Crisis & Conflict

This course addresses communication and human factors as they relate to crisis management, effective mediation, and conflict resolution. The course incorporates challenges to effective communication caused by interpersonal, intrapersonal, intergroup, or intragroup conflict, and the role of communication in resolving such conflicts. The course focuses on the human, psychological, social, cultural and emotional aspects of conflict and effective communication strategies, including the roles of gender, ethnicity, race, religion, culture, and generation, and addresses concepts such as group processes, identity, needs, cooperation/competition, and barriers to effective communication in conflict or crisis contexts.

Course Three: Conflict Management, Resolution & Peacebuilding

This course incorporates theory and contemporary evidence-based models and best practices to analyzing conflict and achieving positive outcomes in a variety of contexts. Explores barriers to effective resolution and peacebuilding and methods for overcoming those barriers, as well as differences among approaches. Includes an emphasis on analyzing ethical responsibilities and dilemmas in third-party intervention and employs case studies to examine and formulate ethical approaches to conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

Description: Designed to support mental health professionals who seek to work within correctional systems to attain the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that support efficacy and safety within the correctional environment.  It is also designed to support those already within the system to enhance their knowledge and skillset.

Course One: Developing a Correctional Professional Identity

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the field of correctional psychology, and of the unique relational factors that contribute to and/or hinder realization of professional identify within correctional settings. Students will learn about the unique culture of correctional institutions, and the health professional’s role as a member of an inter-professional team. Students will explore the factors associated with successful and intentional development of a solid professional identity, including addressing difficult situations within corrections, common lapses in judgment and missteps that occur in correctional institutions, conditions that lead to burn out, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, strategies for self-care, and best practices for conflict resolution in an adversarial environment. Special emphasis will be placed on ethical decision-making in the correctional setting.

Course Two: Developmental Bases of Criminal Behavior

This course will explore the major distinctions between normative and criminal human development, including the major theories of personality development as related to criminal behavior. The impact of various factors on criminal behavior, including macro-level factors (culture, media, political context), neuroscientific factors, and major theories of cognitive development, related to criminal behavior.

Course Three: Evidence-based Practices in Corrections

This course reviews the particular impact of common and co-morbid physical, psychological, and environmental conditions on clinical intervention in correctional settings.  The impact of institutional resources and priorities on treatment planning is explored. Common treatment interventions utilized in the correctional environment, including motivational interviewing and various cognitive-behavioral and psychoeducational interventions, are reviewed and practiced. The course will also review basic psychopharmacology commonly used in correctional settings. Additional best practices specific to correctional settings, including establishing a therapeutic alliance, including the strategies for working with resistant patients; counter-transference issues that arise when working within correctional settings; and special considerations, such as screening for and treating suicality and homicidality.

Description: Designed for professionals interested in gaining a foundational understanding of the application of science to language in the context of criminal and civil law. Course particularly targets linguists, educators, forensic mental health professionals, and lawyers.

Course One: The Fundamentals of Forensic Linguistics

This course covers basic concepts in forensic linguistics, including a brief history of the field and the contexts in which it has been applied, such as author identification, discourse analysis, forensic phonetics, linguistic dialectology, and plagiarism detection. Case examples that include death threats and suicide letters, valid and false confessions, authorship investigations, and perjury will be surveyed to illustrate the use of forensic linguistics in criminal and civil court proceedings, investigations, and intelligence. Considerations related to forensic linguistics and the judicial process, such as admissibility under Frye and Daubert standards and the contexts in which forensic linguists have served as consultants to the justice system to support comprehensibility of a range of legal issues by laypersons both in the United States and internationally, will also be examined.

Course Two: Discourse as Evidence

This course provides an overview of the methodological approaches to language analysis, with a particular examination of the language of police interrogations, emergency calls, victim-witness and witness statements, confessions, and criminal threats.

Course Three: Evaluating Authorship

This course will teach students how to use metadata to evaluate linguistic patterns and variations that support accurate author profiling.

Description: Designed to support mental health professionals who seek to engage in prevention, investigation, intervention and public policy development on behalf of those who have been victimized. Special considerations and required competencies for working in both criminal and civil contexts are explored.

Course One: Foundational Concepts in Victimology

Foundational Concepts in Forensic Victimology provides students with an overview of the field, and explores the latest research on victim-offender dynamics in relation to crime and event subtypes. Specific emphasis is placed on identifying risk and protective factors associated with victimology subtypes, constructing victim profiles to inform violence prevention, investigation/intervention, and policy efforts, and the compassion-science balance approach to forensic victimology.

Course Two: Forensic Victimology: Prevention

This course will focus upon the practices that support prevention of victimization and revictimization. Research related to crime prevention will be explored. The course will also focus upon threat assessment in various milieu (public venues, households, the workplace, school campuses), as well as specific safety planning strategies to support the prevention of victimization. As mental health professionals are second only to law enforcement officers for risk of workplace victimization, this course will also include specific victimization prevention strategies for mental health professionals.

Course Three: Forensic Victimology: Investigation and Intervention

This course provides an overview of the investigation of crime and intervening with victims when one or more individuals has been victimized. The role of Victimology Assessment in offender identification and apprehension will be explored. Additionally, this course will focus upon the Victim-Witness, and his/her interdependence with the judicial system. Variables affecting Victim-Witness intervention, including age, cultural and gender variables; crime dynamics; trauma history; and cognitive-affective processing will be reviewed. Strategies for maximizing the efficacy of the Victim-Witness from a judicial standpoint, while simultaneously fostering recovery, will be explored. Finally, this course will explore the challenges to the investigator/practitioner who works with crime victims; discussions and strategies for the prevention of secondary victimization, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue will be reviewed.

Description: Designed for mental health professionals who seek foundational knowledge and skills to work with active and veteran military personnel and their families.

Course One: The History, Structure, and Culture of the U.S. Military

This course provides an overview of the evolution of the U.S. military, its current structure and culture, and the systems of treatment. Emphasis will be placed on the manner in which military culture and training foster both protective and risk factors impacting the psychological health of service members and veterans.

Course Two: Assessment of Complex Trauma in Service Personnel and Veterans

This course explores the types of conflict and associated stressors commonly experienced by military personnel, and examines typical psychological and physiological responses to extreme circumstances and environments. Students will engage in evidence-based assessment of not uncommon psychiatric responses, including acute stress, depression, substance use disorder, combat-related PTSD, and traumatic brain injury.

Course Three: Interventions to Support Returning Military Personnel

This course will focus on the epidemiology, identification, prevention, and treatment of psychiatric conditions including combat-related PTSD, substance use disorder, traumatic brain injury, and depression. Contemporary research establishing empirical links between combat exposure and elevated risks for specific psychiatric conditions will be explored, as will evidence-based treatments, including internet-based interventions and veteran’s courts. The effects of military service on interpersonal relationships, particularly relationships with spouses and children with also be examined. An overview of the impact of the deployment cycle on attachment based upon a myriad of variables–length of marriage, number of children, age of children, prior exposure to military culture–will be explored. Evidence-informed intervention models to enhance military and veteran family functioning will be reviewed.

Description: Designed for mental health professionals who seek foundational knowledge and skills to work with law enforcement and public safety personnel in multiple contexts, including private practice, law enforcement agencies, and health care.

Course One: Introduction to Police and Public Safety Psychology

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the field of police and public safety psychology, examining the role of the police psychologist, the psychological impact of police work on the individual officer, and the issues involved in providing psychological services to officers and law enforcement agencies. It covers the many and diverse roles of the police psychologist and the legal, ethical and practical considerations inherent in these roles. Survey the history of police psychology and its evolution to its current state. Includes an examination of the special concerns when providing psychological services to police officers (and all law enforcement personnel and emergency service workers) including confidentiality, mandatory referrals and weapons removal/retention. Also includes diverse perspectives on the role of the police psychologist by various individuals within and outside the law enforcement community.

Course Two: Understanding the Culture of Law Enforcement

The course explores the unique culture of police and sheriff’s departments, including the differentiation between working custody versus working patrol; common lapses in judgment and common pitfalls that can negatively affect new officers; differences and dynamics specific to sworn versus civilian law enforcement employees; elements of effective interactions with the public and the press. The course will also explore the basics of teaching and consulting in the law enforcement community: common pitfalls for the psychologist.

Course Three: Providing Psychological Support Services to Law Enforcement Personnel

This course will provide an overview of the intervention domain of police psychology. Topics will include the difference between ‘in-house’ and ‘out-of-house’ or contract psychological services; the stressors unique to first responders and law enforcement personnel and the cultures in which they work; the unique ethical considerations which must be considered when providing psychological services to law enforcement personnel including voluntary vs. mandatory counseling, confidentiality, and safety concerns; the critical incidents that law enforcement personnel encounter including officer involved shootings, mass casualty incidents, public mistrust, homicides, undercover work, child abuse, etc.; an understanding of critical incident stress debriefings and defusings, early intervention strategies, and whether they should be recommended or mandatory; an understanding of multiple intervention/counseling techniques including individual therapy, couples counseling, family therapy and group interventions. The course explores the value of adjunctive services such as those provided by chaplains, peer counseling programs, employee assistance programs for the treatment of substance use/abuse and early prevention programs.

Description: Designed for mental health professionals and students who want to gain a greater understanding of telemental health as a professional practice option.

Course One: The Fundamentals of TeleMental Health

This course provides an overview of TeleMental Health, including the current state of the industry, trends, and practice requirements. Considerations for selection and use of appropriate technology are also explored.

Course Two: TeleMental Health and the Law

This course examines relevant legal and ethical considerations for mental health professional seeking to engage in telemental health as part of their practice. Privacy considerations, informed consent, HIPAA-HITECH, and multijurisdictional issues are explored.

Course Three: Best Practices in the Delivery of TeleMental Health Care

This course explores best practices for providing effective, high quality care in the telemental health environment. Includes best practices for scheduling appointments and office set-up as well as theory and practice related to assessment and intervention in the telemental health environment. Also explores best practices for managing complex patient/client issues in the telemental health environment, including clinical emergencies.

The following Advanced Practice Certificates are offered as 4, 3-unit courses over 4, 8-week terms:

Course One: Developing a Correctional Professional Identity

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the field of correctional psychology, and of the unique relational factors that contribute to and/or hinder realization of professional identify within correctional settings. Students will learn about the unique culture of correctional institutions, and the health professional’s role as a member of an inter-professional team.  Students will explore the factors associated with successful and intentional development of a solid professional identity, including addressing difficult situations within corrections, common lapses in judgment and missteps that occur in correctional institutions, conditions that lead to burn out, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, strategies for self-care, and best practices for conflict resolution in an adversarial environment. Special emphasis will be placed on ethical decision-making in the correctional setting.

Course Two: Developmental Bases of Criminal Behavior

This course will explore the major distinctions between normative and criminal human development, including the major theories of personality development as related to criminal behavior. The impact of various factors on criminal behavior, including macro-level factors (culture, media, political context), neuroscientific factors, and major theories of cognitive development, related to criminal behavior.

Course Three: Evidence-based Practices in Corrections

This course reviews the particular impact of common and co-morbid physical, psychological, and environmental conditions on clinical intervention in correctional settings.  The impact of institutional resources and priorities on treatment planning is explored. Common treatment interventions utilized in the correctional environment, including motivational interviewing and various cognitive-behavioral and psychoeducational interventions, are reviewed and practiced. The course will also review basic psychopharmacology commonly used in correctional settings. Additional best practices specific to correctional settings, including establishing a therapeutic alliance, including the strategies for working with resistant patients; counter-transference issues that arise when working within correctional settings; and special considerations, such as screening for and treating suicidality and homicidality.

OPTIONAL Course Four: Assessment in Correctional Settings

This course supports students to discern the purposes and differences between clinical and forensic assessments in correctional settings. Additionally, the legal standards inform choice of assessment tools, and the commonly employed assessments and the specific considerations for interpretation when working with correctional populations will be examined.

Description: Designed for licensed psychologists and doctoral students who seek advanced knowledge and skills to work with law enforcement and public safety personnel in multiple contexts, including private practice, law enforcement agencies, and health care.

Course One: Assessment in Police Psychology I

This course provides students with knowledge and skills related to assessment of police and public safety personnel in areas including:  pre-employment, post-offer psychological evaluations of job candidates; psychological fitness-for-duty evaluations of incumbents; evaluations for FMLA eligibility; Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) requirements for PEPE and FFDE; direct threat and workplace violence assessments; psychological autopsies (for purposes other than case resolution); promotional assessments, assessment centers and in-basket approaches to assessment; and evaluations for  high risk, high stress positions.

Course Two: Assessment in Police Psychology II

This course provides students with knowledge and skills related to assessment of police and safety personnel utilizing the MMPI2-RF for law enforcement, CPI, open ended tests, and 16PF.

Course Three: Operational Support in Police Psychology I

This course will provide an overview of the role of the psychologist in the supporting law enforcement and safety personnel in criminal profiling; psychological intelligence/counter-intelligence; psychological autopsies (intended to facilitate case resolution); and crisis and hostage negotiation.

Course Four: Operational Support in Police Psychology II

This course will provide an overview of the role of the psychologist in the supporting law enforcement and safety personnel in counter-terrorism (anti-terrorism); threat assessments; stalking; workplace violence; and operations related research, teaching and consultation.

Instruction may be provided on-ground, online or in hybrid modalities, and varies by program. For on-ground and hybrid programs, instruction is primarily provided at an Alliant campus; however, some instructional activities may take place off campus at a location appropriate for the particular activity, including, but not limited to, online courses or online portion of courses, internships, practicums, or field placement activities.

For online programs, instruction is provided online; however, some programs may include an in-person residency requirement at one of Alliant’s campuses. Additional instructional activities, including, but not limited to internships, practicums, or field placement activities may take place at a location appropriate for the particular activity.