PsyD in Clinical Psychology Emphasis Areas, Sacramento


Emphasis Areas Overview


Field Training

Sacramento’s Clinical PsyD program emphasizes the integration of academic coursework with clinical practice. Students receive supervised clinical training through five semesters of practicum and one year of full-time pre-doctoral internship. Practicum students are placed through a network of more than 35 agencies throughout Central and Northern California. Potential sites include hospitals and other medical settings, schools, correctional facilities, group homes, clinics, universities, and state and county programs. Placements are available in agencies utilizing a variety of theoretical approaches and serving demographically and culturally diverse populations.

Skills learned in the classroom are quickly put to practice as students participate in their professional training experiences (or practica). Students begin practicum during the 2nd semester of their first year. This first year practicum requires 12 hours per week for 17 weeks (approximately 200 hours) and draws on the skills learned during the first term in courses designed to prepare students for practice (such as Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice, Introduction to Ethical Practice & Law, and Intellectual Assessment). In the second and third years, practica are 16-20 hours per week for 50 weeks (approximately 800 hours each year) and utilize psychotherapy and assessment skills in a variety of settings. Liaisons with the Office of Professional Training assign students to agencies based how the available training experiences match individual practicum learning plans, developed for each student to provide a breadth of experiences in keeping with the student’s level of experience and career goals.

In their final year of study, students are responsible for obtaining an appropriate  one year, full-time internship (approximately 2080 hours) and are strongly encouraged to seek an APA-accredited internship, although APPIC or CAPIC member internships are permissible. The Office of Professional Training assists students as they negotiate the internship application process.


Emphasis in Correctional Psychology

Correctional psychology is the application of foundational knowledge in clinical psychology to clinical work with offender populations. Designed for students whose educational goals include pursuing a professional career in correctional or forensic psychology, this coursework builds on strong training in foundational and core coursework in clinical psychology with eight elective units described below. In order to complete the emphasis, students must complete all four courses, complete at least one year-long practicum assignment in a setting providing treatment to offender populations, and focus their dissertation on a topic related to correctional psychology. These courses may also be taken individually as electives by students who simply wish to include an exposure to this specialty area as part of their general clinical curriculum.

Introduction to Correctional Psychology (2 units)

An overview of the correctional context including purposes of mental health services in these settings, needs of offenders and systems, and roles of psychologists on interdisciplinary treatment teams. Application of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as well as the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists to professional practice in correctional settings. Exploration of prison culture and its effects on individuals living and working in such systems. Topics include coping with stress and burn-out, vicarious traumatization, and problem resolution strategies for conflicts within interdisciplinary treatment teams.

Psychological Assessment in Corrections (2 units)

Requires completion of Introduction to Correctional Psychology, Intellectual Assessment and Personality Assessment. Purposes of psychological assessment in these settings including identification of offenders with mental illness, assessment of suicide risk and intellectual disabilities for the purpose of placement and treatment planning; consultation services to custody for offender management such as violence risk assessment and recommendations for adjudication of rules violations.

Evidence-based Interventions for Offenders (2 units)

Requires completion of Introduction to Correctional Psychology and Introduction to Psychotherapy. Review of evidence-based intervention models specific to offender treatment including individual and group psychotherapies, and overview of outcome studies to support effective development of treatment plans and treatment implementation.

Development and Criminal Behavior (2 units)

Requires completion of, or current enrollment in, Social Bases of Behavior, Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior, Biological Foundations, and Developmental Psychology/Lifespan Development. Examines development of criminal thinking and behavior patterns including violent and antisocial behavior throughout the lifespan.


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