Three Academic Tracks Within the Clinical PsyD Program
The PsyD program requires a solid foundation in the theory and practice of clinical psychology for all students. Therefore, the initial phases of the curriculum address the basic areas of clinical psychology consistent with the guidelines of the American Psychological Association. Building upon this strong foundation, students may select coursework from Tracks or Emphasis Areas to begin preparation for their future professional roles. Tracks and Emphasis Areas focus on one or more of the following variables: special populations, specific problems, identified theories and techniques, and special settings. As described below, Tracks involve a greater commitment and more specialized training than do Emphasis Areas.
Child and Family Psychology Track
The Child and Family Track is designed for PsyD students who specifically intend to dedicate their careers to working primarily or exclusively with children, adolescents, and their families. In the Child and Family Track, about 50 percent of the student’s coursework and field training focuses on child and family issues, with the remainder focusing on adult-clinical and general psychology.
Applicants interested in being considered for the PsyD Child and Family Track will indicate their interest at the time of application. Those unable to be accommodated in the track due to space limitations will be considered for the Family/Child Emphasis Area in the general PsyD program. Students start in the track during the first semester and commit to being in the track for their entire graduate program. If students’ career goals change, they must formally petition to transfer out of the track.
Students in this track have the same graduation requirements as those for the clinical PsyD program with the following modifications. In the first year, track students take designated sections with an enhanced focus on child and adolescent issues in Observation and Interviewing, Intellectual Assessment, Advanced Psychopathology and a course focused on child development in the family life cycle (to meet the human development requirement). Also, they must complete the first-year Practicum in a Child/Family setting. In the second year, track students take designated sections of Clinical and Ethical Issues and Psychodiagnostic Assessment. To meet the first and second year Theory and Technique of Clinical Practice requirement, track students take a child therapy course in year one and a family therapy course in year two.
In the third year, track students take specified sections of the Advanced Clinical Seminar and complete at least three units of the Advanced Clinical Skills requirement and at least two of the four units of the Supervision/Consultation/Management requirement from Child/Family selections. Either the second or third year practicum must be in a Child/Family setting involving families, children, or adolescents. It is recommended that the internship for Child/Family Track students be in a setting where at 50 percent of clients served are children, adolescents, or families. Also, the student’s clinical dissertation must focus on a Child/Family topic.
Forensic Family/Child Psychology Track
The Forensic Family/Child Track is designed for PsyD students whose career goals are to specialize in forensic and clinical work with children, adolescents, and their families. A substantial portion of the students’ training will focus on psychological services to families and children and on the legal contexts in which these clients are involved, with the remainder focusing on adult-clinical and general psychology.
Applicants must indicate their interest in the PsyD Forensic Family/Child Track at the time of application. Space is limited, but those unable to be accommodated will be considered for the Family/Child Emphasis and can pursue forensic work through electives. The track begins in the first semester and students are committed to remain in it until completion of the program. If students’ career goals change, they must formally petition to transfer out of the track.
Students in this track have the same graduation requirements as other clinical PsyD students, with the following modifications. In the first two years, track students take designated sections in Observation and Interviewing, Intellectual Assessment, Advanced Psychopathology, Clinical and Ethical Issues, and Psychodiagnostic Assessment. These designated sections offer track students an enhanced focus on forensic and family/child issues. Track students complete the first-year practicum in a child-related setting. Track students must take a child therapy course in the first year and a family therapy course in the second year to meet the Theory and Technique of Clinical Intervention requirements. A course focused on children’s development in the family life cycle must be taken in the first year to fulfill the human development requirement. Track students also take a two-unit course entitled “Clinical Psychology and Law.”
In the third year, track students take designated sections of Advanced Clinical Seminar. They complete the advanced clinical skills and the supervision/management/consultation requirements through the following specific courses: Court Consultation and Expert Witnessing; Disability, Law and Families; Legal Competencies; Families and Violence; and Child Custody Evaluation and Mediation. Either the second or third year practicum must be in a forensic setting involving families, children, or adolescents. It is recommended that the fourth year internship for Forensic Family/Child Track students be in a setting where at least 25 percent of the work is in a forensic context with families, children, or adolescents. The student’s clinical dissertation must focus on a forensic family/child topic.
Integrative Health Psychology Track
Integrated Health Psychology is focused on the psychological and behavioral aspects of physical and mental health, specifically how biological, environmental, cultural, social, cognitive, emotional and behavioral faculty impact health and illness. Additional factors related to health, illness, and/or disability include the health care system, health care policy, and health care providers. The Psy.D. Program has certain requirements for an area to be designated as a Track. These include sufficient expertise in at least three of the faculty, placement opportunities for practica, and enough student interest so that Track classes fill with at least ten students. For this Track we have been adding a new feature each year, but are still short on being able to declare it a full Track. Nonetheless several features of a track on in place.
Students interested in Integrative Health Psychology are introduced to this emerging field which deals with the important psychological, behavioral, and social concomitants of physical symptoms, chronic and life threatening illness, and rehabilitation as well as speaks to the mid-body connection in mental illness Faculty have interests in health across the lifespan; ethical issues in medical and mental health care and policy; positive aging; health care disparities; the impact of exercise on health; stress management; mindfulness; substance abuse; children, parents and families with disabilities; collaboration with medical professionals; models of disability; telehealth provision in primary care settings; complex trauma and neurophysiologically informed interventions for complex trauma; risky health behaviors of adolescents; increasing diversity in the health workforce; clients with Multiple Sclerosis; cultural-specific health and health care access issues.
Students combine relevant core or elective coursework, professional training placements, and research that develop knowledge, attitudes and skills in preparation for advanced specialized education and training in postdoctoral programs and/or entry level positions in health psychology. Examples of health psychology courses include primary care psychology, complex trauma’s impact on the brain, body and health; chronic pain; health at every size; pediatric and infant psychology; and disability studies. There also are courses in substance abuse, biological aspects of behavior, neuropsychology, and psychopharmacology. Finally, we offer special sections of several core requirements, including Observation and Interviewing, and Advanced Psychopathology.
Social Justice Psychology Track
The Social Justice Track is designed for students who wish to have a concentrated area of study in the provision of mental health services to historically underserved and culturally diverse populations. In the Social Justice Track a substantial portion of the student’s training will focus on understanding concepts of power, privilege, and oppression, and their application on micro (individual)-and macro-systemic levels of intervention. Faculty affiliated with the track have expertise in working with racial-ethnic minorities, in gender studies and LGBT issues, in disability, and in community based interventions and research.
Applicants interested in being considered for the PsyD Social Justice Track will indicate their interest at the time of application and submit a one paragraph statement of interest. Space is limited, but those interested students unable to be accommodated will be considered for one of the affiliated emphasis areas (either the Multicultural and Community, or Gender Studies emphasis area). The track begins in the first semester, and students are committed to remain in it until completion of the program. If students’ career goals or interest change, they must formally petition to transfer out of the track.
Students in the track have the same graduation requirements as other clinical PsyD students with the following modifications. Track students take designated sections of required courses with an enhanced focus on issues of social justice and service delivery to historically underserved populations. In the first year track students take designated sections of the PsyD Practicum and Introduction to Professional Psychology course and Intellectual Assessment. In the second year, track students take designated sections of Clinical and Ethical Issues and Psychodiagnostic Assessment. In the third year of the program students take designated sections of the Advanced Clinical Seminar, Advanced Clinical skills, and Consultation/ Supervision/ Management / Teaching. One of the Advanced Clinical Skills courses required of track students is a two weekend course on Program Evaluation.
Either the second or third year practicum must be in a community setting serving a historically underserved population. The students’ clinical dissertation must focus on a historically underserved multicultural population and must include a plan for the dissemination of results to local relevant community groups or agencies.