Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Overview
The APA-accredited PsyD in clinical psychology degree program offered by the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) in Los Angeles provides the advanced education and training needed to become a professional practitioner of health service psychology, with a focus in clinical psychology.
The PsyD program in Los Angeles addresses the need for multiculturally competent psychology practitioners who effectively integrate scientific evidence with practice in responding to human problems of developmental deprivation, dysfunction, psychological disorders, and trauma. The students of our clinical psychology program can follow their own clinical interests and further their individual career goals by selecting an emphasis area and taking a specialized series of courses, and by pursuing research and field placements that are consistent with their interests and long-term career goals.
To learn more about this program and other offerings, visit our CSPP-dedicated microsite. You’ll find videos featuring our university president, dean of CSPP, and faculty, along with numerous interactive features!
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The Los Angeles clinical PsyD degree program offers four emphasis areas that provide a specialized learning focus:
- Family/child and couple emphasis (FACE)
- Clinical health psychology emphasis (CHP)
- Multicultural community-clinical psychology emphasis (MCCP)
Students who decide not to enter an emphasis area are considered multi-interest option (MIO) students
Aims, Competencies, and Training
Aims, Competencies, and Training
AIMS AND COMPETENCIES
- Train students who can intervene effectively and sensitively, using scientifically-informed assessment and interventions with diverse populations across a range of settings and modalities.
- Provide students with a graduate-level, scientific knowledge base that serves as a foundation for continued training in and practice of health service psychology in a multicultural society.
- Prepare students to develop strong professional identities as health service psychologists, grounded in knowledge of ethical and legal principles, laws, regulations, and policies, and the ability to apply this knowledge effectively in all of their professional activities.
The aims of the doctoral program are supported by nine profession-wide competencies as delineated by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association.
Competency I: Research
Students must demonstrate the integration of science and practice. Individuals who successfully complete programs accredited in health service psychology (HSP) must demonstrate knowledge, skills, and competence sufficient to produce new knowledge, to critically evaluate and use existing knowledge to solve problems, and to disseminate research. This area of competence toward becoming a licensed clinical psychologist requires substantial knowledge of scientific methods, procedures, and practices.
Students are expected to:
- Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities (e.g., critical literature reviews, dissertation, efficacy studies, clinical case studies, theoretical papers, program evaluation projects, program development projects) that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base.
- Conduct research or other scholarly activities.
- Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level.
Competency II: Ethical and legal standards
Students are expected to respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence across levels of training.
Students are expected to demonstrate competency in each of the following areas:
- Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with each of the following:
- The current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct;
- Relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional, and federal levels; and
- Relevant professional standards and guidelines.
- Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas.
- Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities.
Competency III: Individual and cultural diversity
Effectiveness in health service psychology requires that trainees develop the ability to conduct all professional activities with sensitivity to human diversity, including the ability to deliver high quality services to an increasingly diverse population. Therefore, students must demonstrate knowledge, awareness, sensitivity, and skills when working with diverse individuals and communities who embody a variety of cultural and personal background and characteristics. The Commission on Accreditation defines cultural and individual differences and diversity as including, but not limited to, age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
Students are expected to demonstrate:
- An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.
- Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities including research, training, psychological assessment, supervision/consultation, and service.
- The ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities). This includes the ability to apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of their careers. Also included is the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics, or worldviews create conflict with their own.
- The requisite knowledge base, ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups and apply this approach effectively in their professional work.
Competency IV: Professional values and attitudes
Students are expected to:
- Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others.
- Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness.
- Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.
- Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training.
Competency V: Communication and interpersonal skills
Students are expected to:
- Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services.
- Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts.
- Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.
Competency VI: Assessment
Students demonstrate competence in conducting evidence-based assessment consistent with the scope of health service psychology.
Students are expected to demonstrate the following competencies:
- Demonstrate current knowledge of diagnostic classification systems, functional and dysfunctional behaviors, including consideration of client strengths and psychopathology.
- Demonstrate understanding of human behavior within its context (e.g., family, social, societal, and cultural).
- Demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge of functional and dysfunctional behaviors including context to the psychological assessment and/or diagnostic process.
- Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient.
- Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective.
- Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences.
Competency VII: Intervention
Students demonstrate competence in evidence-based interventions consistent with the scope of health service psychology. Intervention is being defined broadly to include but not be limited to psychotherapy. Interventions may be derived from a variety of theoretical orientations or approaches. The level of intervention includes those directed at an individual, a family, a group, an organization, a community, a population or other systems.
Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to:
- Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.
- Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals.
- Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables.
- Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making.
- Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking,
- Evaluate intervention effectiveness and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.
Competency VIII: Supervision
Supervision involves the mentoring and monitoring of trainees and others in the development of competence and skill in professional practice and the effective evaluation of those skills. Supervisors act as role models and maintain responsibility for the activities they oversee.
Students are expected to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.
- Demonstrate the ability to integrate supervisor feedback into professional practice.
Competency IX: Consultation and inter-professional/interdisciplinary skills
Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills are reflected in the intentional collaboration of professionals in health service psychology with other individuals or groups to address a problem, seek or share knowledge, or promote effectiveness in professional activities.
- Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.
- Demonstrate knowledge of consultation models and practices.
All students are expected to possess discipline-specific knowledge in the following four categories:
- History and systems of psychology.
- The basic content areas of scientific psychology, including affective, biological cognitive, developmental, and social aspects of behavior.
- Advanced integrative knowledge in scientific psychology.
- Research methods, statistical analysis, and psychometrics.
Training in individual and cultural diversity competence is integrated throughout all program requirements; additionally, the program embraces the multicultural competencies supported by the university. In this way, the program and CSPP are responsive to the ethical mandates of the American Psychological Association.
The graduate program requires all students to complete three years of practica and a full-time doctoral internship. Every student receives guidance and support through the clinical training placement selection and application process from the practicum and internship training directors. They are licensed professionals who work with students to develop and implement individualized training plans that expose students to a variety of clientele and professional role models. This intensive mentorship also supports students' abilities to obtain clinical placements that are well-suited to each student's skill level, clinical interests, and longer-term professional goals (including the successful acquisition of a full-time APA-accredited internship placement).
Students obtain part-time professional training placements (8–10 hours per week in the first year, 15–20 hours per week in the second and third years) at diverse agencies throughout the Los Angeles area. In these settings, students assume greater clinical responsibility for assessment and intervention while continuing to receive close supervision, appropriate to their training level and abilities. All training sites and placement are carefully reviewed and continually monitored on an ongoing basis by the director of clinical training to ensure consistency and quality of training.
For all practicum placements, students are required to participate in a minimum of one hour of weekly supervision provided by a licensed psychologist; many practicum sites also require group supervision. Practicum supervision requirements also include a minimum of two hours per week spent in didactic training.
Prior to graduation, students are required to complete a full-time internship. Students become eligible to apply for internship only after achieving post-proposal status on their clinical dissertation and are required to pass the proposal meeting by the end of finals week in the spring semester of their second year to apply to internship in the fall of the third year. In special cases, via faculty advice and with program director approval, students may be allowed to modify their program to five years by adding an extra practicum experience in their fourth year and complete the required full-time internship in their fifth year. Students who modify their program to a five-year plan are required to pass the proposal meeting by the end of finals week in the spring semester of their third year to apply to internship in the fall of the fourth year.
The culminating internship experience integrates academic and clinical practice experiences and prepares students for future professional roles in the field of health service psychology. While the completion of an APA-accredited internship is not required to complete the program, students should be aware that various postdoctoral training positions and some employers (e.g., the Veterans Administration) require that successful applicants have completed APA-accredited internships. The program's commitment to helping students obtain an APA-accredited internship requires that all students apply to a minimum number of APA-accredited internship sites and participate in Phases I and II of the APPIC Match process. Many students leave the Los Angeles area to gain specialized training at APA-accredited/APPIC internship sites located nation-wide; therefore, prospective students should be prepared to consider leaving Southern California for internship.
Full-time APA-accredited/APPIC internships provide a stipend to students during their internship year. Most other internships (e.g., CAPIC) and practicum sites do not offer stipends. Students should not count on training stipends as a means of financing their education. For all internship placements, students are required to participate in a minimum of one hour of weekly supervision provided by a licensed psychologist who serves as primary supervisor, who is available to the intern 100% of the time that the student is at the agency, and who is employed by the agency at least 50% of the duration of the student's internship. A minimum of two hours of weekly didactic training is also required. At least two psychologists must be involved in internship training.
Internship units are charged at a lower tuition rate than regular coursework, please refer to the current tuition fee schedule for details.
The three semester (fall/spring/summer) enrollment requirement for internship is intended to provide students with financial aid over the summer.
If a student's internship has an end date in May, the student should request enrollment in a two-semester internship unit model. If a student's internship has a start date in June, the student should request enrollment in a summer/fall/spring internship unit model. Please contact the Clinical PsyD Student Advisor for information.
Office of Professional Training (Clinical Doctoral Programs, Los Angeles)
Yolanda Céspedes-Knadle, PhD
Director of Clinical Training
email@example.com | (626) 270-3342
The clinical psychology PsyD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA), which requires that we provide data on time to completion, program costs, internships, attrition and licensure. Please follow the link below for that information. We hope this information will help you to make an informed decision regarding your graduate study in higher education.
Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (.pdf)
The California School of Professional Psychology clinical psychology PhD and PsyD programs are offered on the Fresno, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco Bay Area campuses. Each is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA).
*Questions related to a program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation.
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At Alliant, our mission is to prepare students for professional careers of service and leadership and to promote the discovery and application of knowledge to improve lives. We offer an education that is accredited, focused on practical knowledge and skills, connected with diverse faculty and alumni, and aimed at the student experience.
Founded in 1969, CSPP was one of the nation’s first independent schools of professional psychology. Today, CSPP continues its commitment to preparing the next generation of mental health professionals through graduate-level degree programs in clinical psychology, marriage and family therapy, clinical counseling, organizational psychology, psychopharmacology, and more.