Emphasis Areas

Applicants to the CSPP-LA Clinical PhD and PsyD programs select one of three emphasis areas: Clinical Health Psychology Emphasis (Health CHP); Family/Child and Couple Emphasis (FACE); or Multicultural Community-Clinical Psychology Emphasis (MCCP). Students can also choose to opt-out of emphasis area specializations; these students are Multi-Interest Option (MIO). All students receive a general education in clinical psychology.

Clinical Health Psychology Emphasis (CHP)

Clinical health psychology combines the fields of clinical psychology, behavioral medicine, public health, social psychology, disease prevention and health promotion into an applied discipline that investigates underlying mechanisms that connect the mind and body and explain the dynamic interaction between our physical and mental health. Clinical health psychologists 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 to promote psychological growth and wellness. Students in the Clinical Health Psychology emphasis (CHP) receive the same thorough preparation for clinical and community practice as students in the other emphasis areas, while in addition 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.

In addition to developing the diagnostic, assessment and treatment skills required of all clinical psychologists, Health students learn practical techniques in the areas of cognitive-behavioral, existential, and community-based interventions. Faculty have expertise in, enjoy teaching courses and mentoring students in areas such as neuropsychological assessment and treatment of autism spectrum, attention deficit/hyperactivity, learning and other neurodevelopmental disorders; child/pediatric psychology; LGBT health; body image issues and disordered eating; women’s health; global health and racial disparities; substance abuse treatment and addictions; adjustment to chronic illness such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, cardiovascular disease; biofeedback; pain management; loss, grief and bereavement; and resiliency, strength and wellness. Within and beyond these areas of focus, Health students learn about the sociocultural, demographic, political, and economic forces that underlie health and health-care disparities, and influence risk-taking and health-promoting behaviors and practices within diverse and often underserved communities.

Training in the areas of behavioral medicine and health psychology prepare students to explore a variety of opportunities in the rapidly evolving health care system. Early career positions for Health graduates have ranged from entering post-doctoral fellowships in various behavioral medicine settings to serving as members of interdisciplinary teams of health care professionals to working in private practice and community mental health settings using a biopsychosocial framework. Regardless of professional role, graduates from our emphasis area remain dedicated to promoting the mind-body health of children, adolescents, adults, families, and communities within a multicultural and international context.

Health Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Peter Theodore

Family/Child and Couple Clinical Psychology Emphasis (FACE)

Our goal in the Family/Child and Couple Emphasis (FACE) 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 FACE students take four family systems courses. The family psychology course prepares students for an advanced FACE family systems intervention course taken exclusively by FACE students. The Family/Child and Couple Emphasis is for students who are dedicated to learning family and couple psychology intervention.

Students meet with their FACE academic advisor 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 mission of the training is to nurture the development of clinical psychologists who will work to understand, prevent, and reduce psychological and community distress, as well as 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. Ultimately, faculty members strive to empower individuals and communities and to facilitate personal and social healing.

Through coursework, field experiences and mentorship by our faculty, students learn theory, research, and intervention strategies applicable to working with adults, adolescents, children, families, groups, and communities. Students share the core curriculum in clinical psychology with students from all emphasis areas. MCCP students practice intervention with 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.

MCCP students participate in professional field training experiences that emphasize clinical services to multicultural and under-or inadequately-served populations. Settings can range from hospitals and mental health clinics to community-based agencies or university counseling centers. Students are encouraged to develop Doctoral Dissertations that reflect an aspect of multicultural and/or community psychology.

MCCP Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Lisa Liu

Multi-Interest Option (Non-Emphasis)(MIO)

Some students and faculty decide to participate in the Multi-Interest Option (MIO) instead of selecting one of the three above-mentioned specific emphasis areas. 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 Los Angeles campus community. For example, MIO has sponsored presentations that promote awareness of diverse roles in professional psychology by MIO faculty sharing their clinical expertise (as lunch colloquia or formal workshop), 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.

MIO Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Randy Noblitt