Forensic Psychology Emphasis

The forensic psychology emphasis focuses on the relationship and interdependency of law, social science, and clinical practice. It provides the basic foundation for post-graduate training for a career in forensic clinical psychology. The emphasis requires the completion of an introductory course in forensics, which acquaints the student with the nature of the legal system and the varied roles of psychologists within it. This introduction also includes training in the basics of testimony – the preparation of a defensible report; the appropriate presentation of one’s qualifications; the persuasive presentation of psychological science to a judge, jury, or within an amicus brief; and the increased ability to withstand cross-examination. Additional courses address psychological assessment, violence, antisocial behavior, and other clinical topics. Students also have the option of taking an organizational psychology advanced seminar addressing conflict management or dispute resolution. Students are expected to address an issue in forensic psychology in their dissertation. They are also encouraged, but not required, to procure forensic training in their practicum or internship. Students are expected to take one Clinical Consultation course focusing on forensic issues.

Assessment Emphasis

The assessment emphasis is designed for students who want to go beyond the basic assessment courses required of all PsyD students. The assessment emphasis gives students training in advanced methods of test interpretation and advanced skills in the integration of test materials into comprehensive test reports, as well as psychometric theory. Students are also exposed to the assessment of specific clinical populations, such as children, adolescents, custody litigants, sexual predators, and other forensic populations. Students must complete at least one of their practica in a testing setting, enroll in one Clinical Consultation Group with a testing emphasis, and complete a dissertation in an area related to assessment.

Family/Child Psychology Emphasis

The family/child psychology emphasis is designed for students who are interested in developing proficiency in evaluation, treatment and research with children and families. Courses cover the entire life span from infancy through old age and are presented from various theoretical viewpoints, including family-systems, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and lifespan development.

The program supports the study of ethnic and cultural issues as they affect the individual and the family. Faculty research interests include family violence, child abuse and neglect, adolescent development, childhood social competence and peer relationships, early childhood psychopathology, aging, child resiliency, divorce, child custody, step families, and process and outcomes of family interventions.

Integrative Psychology Emphasis

This emphasis area exposes students to the basic principles of Integrative Psychology. An integrative, systems approach to health and healing brings multiple ways of knowing into psychological practice, encouraging practitioners to attend not only to cognitive behaviors, but also to cultural and spiritual concerns.

In many ways, integrative psychology refocuses attention on traditional healing practices that are concerned with the complex ways in which social context, body, mind, and emotions continually interact and influence well-being. Integrative psychology includes the study of spirituality, consciousness, imagery, somatic practices, expressive arts, human ecology, postmodern cultural psychologies, and the application of all these in clinical settings. At the same time, the field values mainstream psychological models and emphasizes research based on systems theory and integrated methodologies.

Since a psychologist’s own perceptions profoundly influence outcomes, the courses and credits included in this emphasis area are intended to ensure that professionals-in-training refine their values along with their skills and that they work to achieve educated intentionality and mindfulness in all phases of clinical work. This emphasis addresses a shortage of qualified psychologists with experience in the holistic balancing of health, suffering and death issues, psychospiritual counseling, and conflicting belief systems viewed in their cultural contexts. An integrative approach trains psychologists to provide pathways rather than simply treat symptoms.

Multicultural and International Emphasis Area

The Alliant approach to multiculturalism incorporates diversity in many respects, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin and international status, age, social class, religion, and disability. Central to traditional clinical psychology is the examination of factors known to be relevant to mental health/mental illness as western society defines them. The goal of this emphasis area is to go beyond the traditional western, majority cultural viewpoint so that students might have the basic preparation to focus on cultural and international encounters in professional psychology. Whereas traditional psychology focuses primarily on individual psychological activity, multicultural psychology is based on the view that cultural and societal level influences on the individual can be best understood by incorporating societal systemic variables and cultural contexts. The emphasis provides students with opportunities to prepare for clinical licensure, research, teaching, and consulting in the area of cultural diversity.

Students in this emphasis take coursework in these broadly defined multicultural and international areas and complete a dissertation relevant to some aspect of multicultural or international psychology. They must also arrange for at least one of their practicum/internship professional training placements in a setting serving a culturally diverse population. The large majority of our training sites serve such populations. Students are expected to take one of the Clinical Consultation courses in a section emphasizing diversity issues.

Psychodynamic Emphasis

The psychodynamic emphasis provides students with a coherent practical and theoretical framework to practice general psychology in a variety of settings with children and adults. The psychodynamic emphasis curriculum gives students exposure to coursework and supervision integrating object relations, self-psychology, developmental psychology, existential psychology, and cognitive, science-based approaches to unconscious processes. Coursework and supervision prepare students for further professional development and specialization beyond the doctorate.