Department of Clinical Psychology

Join a community of forward-thinking psychologists in this unique Psy.D. program.

CIIS’ Clinical Psychology department provides advanced and specialized training in clinical psychology that combines the principles of integral education with the clinical efficacy of contemporary psychodynamic psychotherapy. In the exploration of depth psychology, students will focus on the psyche, human development, personality formation, and individuation, and explore the subtle, unconscious, and transpersonal aspects of human experience. 

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An Inclusive Approach to Navigating Relationship Issues

Professor and licensed psychologist Margaret Boucher, joins Renowned certified Gottman therapist and author Elizabeth Earnshaw for a culturally tuned-in conversation about how to navigate difficult relationship issues to create stronger and more resilient partnerships

Our distinctive approach to doctoral education in clinical psychology is guided by a vision of psychotherapeutic clinical practice that emphasizes holism, depth, and difference. Faculty are committed to creating an environment that is creative, inclusive and transformative on both personal and professional levels. We teach the value of open inquiry and multiple ways of knowing, emphasizing that knowledge is contextual. At the center of this kind of inquiry are whole persons enlivened through a matrix of relationships. 

Our Program

As part of the School of Professional Psychology and Health, we offer a standard and an advanced curriculum designed for individuals who wish to deepen their training after having obtained a master’s degree. 

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    Doctor of Psychology

    Explore the Psy.D.

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    Master’s Degrees 

    CIIS also offers multiple master’s degrees in counseling psychology

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    Birth of Sun-like Stars--NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Klaus Pontoppidan (STScI), Image Processing- Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

    Faculty Research and Scholarship

    Our faculty have a wide range of research interests: the many intersections between psychodynamic psychotherapy and humanistic, existential, somatic, and transpersonal psychotherapies.


    • Yes. CIIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WASC-WSCUC). Graduates of this program are eligible for licensure as psychologists in the state of California, as well as many other states.

    • Depth psychology refers to therapeutic approaches that focus on the psyche, human development, personality formation, and individuation; and explore the subtle, unconscious, and transpersonal aspects of human experience.

    • Psychodynamic psychotherapy is based upon the following broad principles and aims:

      • People are complex and creative meaning makers, and that much of the meaning we make occurs outside of our awareness. We are not, in other words, transparent to ourselves. There are things that we struggle to understand about our internal worlds.
      • Emotion is a key component of experience, and emotional competence is essential to well-being. In psychodynamic psychotherapy on "associative pathways generally lead to what is emotionally charged or problematic" (p. 39).
      • "Many psychological difficulties were once adaptive solutions to life problems. Difficulties arise when life circumstances change and the old solutions no longer work, or become self-defeating, but we continue to apply them anyway" (p. 15).
      • We naturally tend to "view the present through the lens of past experience, and therefore tend, despite efforts otherwise, to repeat and recreate aspects of the past" (p. 20). One goal of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is to "loosen the bonds past experience to create new life possibilities "(p. 21).
      • Good therapy replicates life. "It is specifically because old patterns, scripts, expectations, desires, schemas (call them what you will) become active and ‘alive' in the therapy sessions that we are able to help patients examine, understand, and rework them" (p. 23). A unique aspect of psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy is, therefore, attention to what is conventionally called "transference" and "countertransference."
      • Ambivalence is a common and natural state of mind. People who come for psychotherapy tend to be ambivalent out it, "oscillating between the desire to change and the desire to preserve the status quo" (p. 33).
      • Wisdom embraces paradox or, put another way, "the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in mind at the same time and still continue to function" (George Bernard Shaw, cited in Shedler). "Psychoanalytic psychotherapy seeks to cultivate just this form of wisdom" (p. 15).
      • Psychotherapists treat persons, and persons are more than a conglomeration of symptoms or clinical syndromes. "Psychoanalytic therapy is not something done to or practiced on someone; it is something done with another person" (p. 43, italics in original). Also, "the concepts and insights we apply to our patients apply equally to ourselves" (p. 43). And it takes work and practice to apply them.
      • An important goal is freedom. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy helps us recognize the ways in which we disavow aspects of our experience, with the goal of helping us to claim or reclaim what is ours. These leads to greater freedom, flexibility, and wholeness.
      • Psychoanalytic psychotherapy works. The scientific evidence base for its effectiveness is strong. Additionally, far from discrediting core psychoanalytic assumptions, research in cognitive science and neuroscience has provided an empirical foundation for many of those assumptions.

      This list is adapted from Shedler, J. (2006). That was then, this is now: Psychoanalytic psychotherapy for the rest of us. Retrieved from

    • A Psy.D. is an investment in your future. Contact our Admissions Office with questions about deadlines, admissions criteria and materials, and tuition and financial aid. We’re here to help you understand the commitment and costs of the program and to explore available resources to make your education more affordable.

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    Alumni News

    Alumna Jessica DiVento Dzuban, Global Head of Mental Health for YouTube, talks with CIIS about her mission and her passion to bring the highest quality mental health content to users worldwide, and to keep those users safe and emotionally supported.

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