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.
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.
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.