Notes From the Field PsyD Conference

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. 

    Photo from Rene Dumetz' PsyD class

    Doctor of Psychology

    Explore the Psy.D.

    Photo from CIIS Clinical Psychology International Alumni Conference Fall 2023

    Master’s Degrees 

    CIIS also offers multiple master’s degrees in counseling psychology

    Photo from Rene Dumetz' PsyD class
    Photo from CIIS Clinical Psychology International Alumni Conference Fall 2023

    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.


    • The CIIS Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program is a five-year graduate degree program at the doctoral level. It requires the completion of a minimum of 90.0 semester credits of Core classes in addition to the units for practical training and dissertation.

    • We provide specialized training in clinical psychology that combines the principles of integral education with the clinical efficacy of contemporary psychodynamic psychotherapy. We promote an ethos of open and holistic inquiry and emphasize the centrality of relationships in people's lives.

    • It is not. CIIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges–Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), a federally recognized regional accreditation body. This accreditation meets the standard to apply licensure in California and some other states.

      The Psy.D. program’s mission of training students in a depth-oriented oriented approach that integrates psychodynamic theory, humanistic and transpersonal orientations, and a social justice stance does not fit within the APA’s emphasis on short-term behavioral treatment modalities.

    • Students must complete a total of 90.0 semester credit hours. This consists of:    

      • 85.0 required units
      • 5.0 elective units
      • 6.0-11.0 units of practicum
      • 3.0-4.0 units of internship

      In addition to clinical training and other non-course degree requirements, including 45 hours of personal therapy, students must write and successfully defend a dissertation. 

    • The minimum time to complete the degree is five years. The first three years are course work and practicum training in preparation for the internship. The internship is 2000 hours and may be completed full-time in one year or part-time in two years. The dissertation is allotted one year for completion outside of all other requirements and may be done before or after the internship.

    • Clinical training consists of:

      • Foundations Practicum in spring and summer of the first year (2.5-5.5 hours per week)
      • Two year-long practicums at community agencies in the Bay Area during your second and third year, each consisting of 16-24 hours per week. All practicum placements are a part of the Bay Area Practicum Information Collaborative (BAPIC).
      • One 2000-hour predoctoral internship that can be completed full-time in one year or part-time in two years. All internship placements are part of The California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC). 
    • The dissertation is a five-chapter, scholarly document of approximately 150-250 pages, written in APA style. Students are supported in creating the first three chapters through three 1.0 unit core classes, which result in their initial dissertation proposal. The dissertation is completed under the guidance of the student’s dissertation chair, who is a member of the Psy.D. core faculty.

    • It is generally not possible to maintain full-time employment while enrolled in the PSY.D. program. You may be able to work part-time, but bear in mind that from the second semester onward, you will have practicum-related hours to complete each week. In the first year, this is not a huge commitment, but practicum placements that begin in the second year are 16–24 hour per week trainings over and above your courses.

    • Students who hold a B.A. or B.S. degree may apply for the Psy.D. program. An M.A./M.S. is not required, nor is a background specifically in psychology. We encourage applicants from many fields to apply, and are primarily looking to enroll those who are interested in reflecting on their internal processes, external relations, past experiences, and positionality/intersectionality and how these influence one’s perspectives, choices, and behaviors.

    • We look for people who are interested in reflecting on their internal processes, external relations, past experiences, and positionality/intersectionality and how these influence one’s perspectives, choices, and behaviors.

    • In California, the Board of Behavioral Sciences regulates master’s-level practitioners (i.e., LMFT, LPCC and LCSW), and the Board of Psychology regulates doctoral-level practitioners (i.e., Psy.D., Ph.D.).

      Though both require completion of a qualifying degree and meeting other eligibility requirements, including the successful completion of a fingerprint and background check, the requirements for each license and the scope of practice and competence are different.

      In considering which degree you should pursue, it is important to consider carefully what your plans are once the degree has been completed. Please see information table below comparing the Psy.D. to the master’s:

      Degree LevelProfessional DoctorateProfessional Master’s
      Qualifying degrees at CIISDoctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

      Note that no other doctorate offered through CIIS meets the California academic requirement for the Professional Psychologist license.
      M.A. in Counseling Psychology
      (includes: Community Mental Health, Drama Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Integral Counseling Psychology, and Somatic Psychology)
      California License available upon completionLicensed Clinical Psychologist
      • Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor (LMFT)
      • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)
      • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
      • Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP)
      Units to complete
      • 90.0 course units
      • Internship
      • Dissertation
      • 60.0 course units
      • Practicum
      Program length5 years minimum2.5-3 years minimum
      Board responsible for licensureCalifornia Board of Psychology (BOP)California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS)
      • Take and pass the EPPP
      • Take and pass the CPLEE
      Take and pass relevant exams depending on license. Typically, there are two (a clinical specific and a laws & ethics exam)
      Practice hours required for licensure
      • 1,500 pre-degree hours (completed before graduation) 
      • 1,500 post-degree hours (completed after graduation)
      3,000 total supervised hours, over 104 weeks (minimum)
      Definition of Scope of Competence & Scope of PracticeOverall, obtaining a license as a clinical psychologist means you have achieved a certain level of knowledge and skill set (scope of competence) and are allowed to offer services as related to that expertise (scope of practice)

      In CA, scope of competence and scope of practice varies depending on type of license (LMFT, LPCC, LCSW). Generally, these licenses might have restrictions when compared to a doctorate license.

      Visit the BBS website for more information:

      Scope of Competence

      A doctorate degree means more courses. Some highlights in our Psy.D. program include:

      • In addition to foundational courses, our students complete an advanced series on depth psychology (3 courses, 3 units each), and an advanced seminar in Cultural Psychology (2 units);
      • 9.0 units of assessment classes (3 courses, 3.0 units each) where students learn and practice the administration, scoring, interpretation and report writing of comprehensive batteries including cognitive and personality assessments; 
      • 2 years of practicum and 1 year of predoctoral internship; Clinical training: 1 practicum 
      • Research & Dissertation: Our students complete 2 courses (3 units each) of on research, and 3 (1.0 unit each) courses on proposal writing which help them complete their dissertation. 
      • Unique course offerings such as required course, Supervision & Consultation (2 units), and electives such as Jungian Psychotherapy, Psychedelic Studies and Trauma-Informed Care
      • Assessment: in M.A. programs, students complete a 3.0 unit course;
      • Clinical training: 1 practicum
      Scope of Practice

      Due to the above, our graduates are able to offer: 

      • Comprehensive assessment and testing services. Licensed clinical psychologists can offer testing as a sole clinical intervention, which is not true for M.A. licensed professionals;
      • Command a higher salary or fee due to having more clinical training (2 practicums, 1 predoctoral internship & postdoctoral hours);
      • Being able to teach undergraduate and graduate levels (M.A. and doctorate programs)
      Visit the BBS website for more information:

      It is important to note that while a Master of Clinical Psychology is available as an interim degree in the Psy.D. program, this degree does not meet the California academic requirements for the LMFT, LPCC, or LCSW licenses.

    Our Upcoming Events


    Online with Skylar Hall. Focus programs: Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.), Human Sexuality (Ph.D.), Transformative Leadership (M.A.), Transformative Studies (Ph.D.).


    Online with Skylar Hall. Focus programs: Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.), Human Sexuality (Ph.D.), Transformative Leadership (M.A.), Transformative Studies (Ph.D.).


    Online with Skylar Hall. Focus programs: Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.), Human Sexuality (Ph.D.), Transformative Leadership (M.A.), Transformative Studies (Ph.D.).

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    Our Department in Action

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    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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