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PhD in Clinical Psychology Emphasis Areas, San Francisco


Emphasis Areas Overview

Multicultural Community Psychology and Program Evaluation

Family/Child/Adolescent Psychology

We provide a wide range of family/child/adolescent (FCA) courses and practica. For treating FCA problems, we emphasize the acquisition of both traditional child-clinical skills (assessment, individual therapy) and family intervention skills (family therapy, couple therapy, child custody evaluation).

For students interested in pursuing FCA careers after graduation, we recommend that they take advantage of specific offerings in our program. The core of these learning experiences includes: (1) basic coursework (child psychopathology, child assessment, child psychotherapy, family therapy); (2) a one-year practicum (field placement) in an FCA setting; (3) PhD Research Seminar with a focus on FCA research; (4) dissertation research on an FCA topic; and (5) an internship focusing on FCA populations. We also offer varying electives. Six of the clinical PhD Research Seminars are led by faculty members with expertise in various FCA psychology topics (Professors Casey, Ja, Menon, Morales, and Porter). Students have the option to take as few or as many of these extensive FCA offerings as fit their career goals.

Gender Studies & LGBT Psychology

Psychology of Women, Men, Gender Roles, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues

The field of Gender Studies as defined here includes the study of gender role socialization processes and norms for males and females across the lifespan, as well as the topics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) identity development and relationships. Faculty and students who work in this area are particularly interested in the behavioral and mental health consequences of gender-related socialization experiences (for example, in areas such as eating disorders, depression, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, health-related behaviors, and division of household tasks and childcare between parents in families).

In conjunction with the PsyD program on our campus, courses are offered on topics such as Women’s Lifespan Development, Men in Therapy, Domestic Violence, and Feminist Approaches to Supervision. Also, San Francisco provides unique opportunities for clinical and research projects on these topics.

Students may complete their second or third year clinical practicum at an agency specializing in LGBT issues (for example, the Pacific Center in Berkeley). Students also can enroll in one or as many courses as they wish in the online Rockway Institute Certificate Program in LGBT Human Services & Mental Health. See the sections of this catalog pertaining to the Rockway Institute and to Online Courses for a more complete description of the Certificate Program in LGBT Human Services & Mental Health.

Multicultural Study, LGBT Psychology, Gender Studies

Multicultural Study

  • Bicultural/Multicultural competence and identity
  • Assessment, Psychotherapy and Treatment Outcomes in Diverse Populations (cultural, sexual orientation, gender, size, age, SES, refugee, Veterans, etc.)
  • Impact of social privilege and oppression, especially as regards to body size, physical appearance, sexual orientation, race, gender, gender expression, religion, age, social class, etc.
  • Anti-racist and other social justice issues, and issues pertaining to therapy, ethics, clinical training, mentoring and supervision

LGBT Psychology

  • Same-sex Couple, and their children
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) Issues

Multicultural Community Psychology, Program Evaluation, Social Justice

Multicultural Community Psychology

  • Early childhood and community prevention and intervention
  • Program evaluation in behavioral health systems including managed care systems
  • Organizational systems with a focus on managed behavioral health policy, evaluation, and analysis
  • Cost analysis and studies in Programs for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT)
  • Workforce development and pipeline; Latino health and higher education
  • Violent behavior and its prediction
  • Juvenile and adult justice systems including drug courts and alternative community approaches in violence intervention

Substance Abuse

  • Substance-exposed infants and parents
  • Juvenile substance use, delinquency, probation, protective factors and resilience
  • Treatment factors and patient outcomes
  • Substance abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in multicultural communities
  • Chemical dependency
  • Dual diagnosis of substance use disorders and PTSD
  • Juvenile and adult justice systems including drug courts and alternative community approaches in violence intervention

Advocacy, Public Policy, Social Justice

  • Social justice in psychology and psychotherapy
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender public policy issues
  • Anti-racist and other social justice issues, and issues pertaining to therapy, ethics, clinical training, mentoring and supervision

Trauma, Stress, Resilience, Health Psychology

Stress, Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • PTSD treatment
  • Intimate partner violence, child abuse and combat trauma
  • Sexual trauma
  • Neuropsychological functioning in PTSD
  • Impact of trauma on families and parent-child relationship
  • Intergenerational transmission of trauma
  • Psychodiagnostic and neuropsychological assessment
  • Treatment factors and patient outcomes
  • Depression and suicide
  • Co-occurring substance use and PTSD dual diagnosis disorders


  • Coping
  • Protective factors and resilience
  • Prevention and early intervention

Health Psychology

  • Behavioral medicine in primary care
  • Substance use and other psychiatric disorders in primary care
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Chronic pain
  • Health at Every Size
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Chronic illness adherence in adolescence
  • Neuropsychological assessment

Family/Child/Adolescent Psychology


  • Early childhood prevention and intervention
  • Substance-exposed infants and parents
  • High-functioning children and adolescents
  • Assessment of pervasive developmental disorders, ADHD


  • Adolescent development within diverse family and school contexts
  • Measurement of identity
  • Anti-racist and social justice issues pertaining to child, adolescent, and women’s development, and to therapy, ethics, clinical training, mentoring and supervision
  • Intervention for adolescents


  • Couple/family therapy
  • Father involvement
  • Multicultural influences in family therapy
  • Family functioning in trauma-exposed families
  • Personality and family assessment


In addition to the required coursework, the San Francisco PhD program is committed to offering a broad array of elective courses reflecting theory, assessment, and intervention across a variety of systems, with a particular emphasis on multicultural and diversity issues to prepare students for professional practice in a pluralistic society.