The Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at CIIS is a BBS-approved, five to six year program that is taught in person. The program entails three years of coursework, one year of clinical training in an internship, and a final year dedicated to dissertation writing.

Personal Psychotherapy Requirement
The Psy.D. program requires completion of a minimum of 45 hours of psychotherapy from a licensed doctoral level psychotherapist. This therapy is recommended to coincide with the years at CIIS but will be accepted if completed up to five years prior to admission. At least one half of these hours must be in individual therapy (22.5). The cost of the therapy is paid by the student.  

Clinical Training

Clinical training in our program is fully integrated with the academic work. Each student gains two years of practicum experience in community agencies, requiring about 20 hours a week at the training site. A minimum of one hour per week of individual supervision by a licensed psychologist, group supervision, and didactic trainings are offered at these off-campus sites.

At the same time, students complete companion proseminar courses at CIIS with a core faculty member; "prosems" support integration of theory, research, and clinical materials from classroom learning with the real world experience of psychotherapy in clinical settings. Prosem is the heart of clinical training in the Psy.D. program. Read about the Contemporary Psychodynamic Training Model this program employs.

When all required coursework and practica have been completed, students may begin the clinical internship at an approved training site. Specific sites are listed on the California Psychology Internship Council website.

The internship may be one year of full-time or two years of half-time work and must be completed within two and a half years from the beginning date. In their internship, students deepen their skills in offering a variety of psychological services including treatment planning and psychotherapy, psychological assessment, case consultation, and supervision, often working in multidisciplinary teams, across the spectrum of psychopathologies.

Support for the process of selecting, applying for, and completing practicum and internship experiences is offered by the Psy.D. Director of Clinical Training and Field Placement Specialist.

Research and Dissertation

The mission of the Clinical Psychology program is to train psychology practitioners rather than researchers. However, all Psy.D. graduates will have mastered research skills sufficient to produce a clinical dissertation and prepare them to be proficient consumers of psychological science.

Research training is conducted in the context of psychological science as the cornerstone of effective clinical practice. Students are also expected to gain a scientific understanding of how individuals interact with others, behave in groups, and relate to the broader contexts in which they live their lives. 

Our Psy.D. program is notable in the breadth of research methodologies and topics chosen by students, for example: treatment outcome studies, applied program evaluation studies, studies of underserved populations, and studies of psychospiritual issues.

Course of Study

Below is the typical progression of coursework and training necesssary to complete the Psy.D. To see the current listing of classes or to learn more about the specifics of the requirements, please go to the Clinical Psychology PsyD section in the course catalog.

Year 1
Pre-core and core classes

Year 2
Pre-core and core classes
Elective classes

Year 3
Core classes
Elective classes

Years 4 and 5
Internship and Dissertation (may be completed in either order)

Note: Internships may be completed full-time or half-time

Curriculum Highlights

PSY 6146 Psychodynamic Work With Dreams (2 units)
In psychotherapy, dreams provide an opportunity for therapist and client to encounter unconscious material together. Consequently, dreams are crucial to the psychodynamic approach. Psychodynamic theory concerning the nature and purpose of dreams will be surveyed in this course. Building on that foundation, and using clinical case examples, the course will focus on methods of working with dreams and the transference/countertransference implications of dreamwork. Issues of assessment and of trauma in dreams will be addressed. 

PSY 6203 Psyche and Technology (2 units)
This elective course considers the current impacts of technology on psychological and relational experiences as well as ways in which our psyches and relationships inform and drive technological innovations. In this course, which is part philosophy, part technoethics, and part anthropological exploration, we will consider the current technological context in which the therapeutic endeavor occurs. This course will also prepare students to address common clinical issues, such as parenting dilemmas and technology, connections and disconnections in communities and relationships and technology, dating and hookup apps, problematic porn use and technology use, and technologically assisted psychotherapy, among other relevant and contemporary topics. 

PSY 6724 Buddhism and Psychotherapy (3 units)
The course surveys principles and practice of major schools of Buddhism—Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan—to bear on contemporary varieties of psychological suffering. Central themes such as the nature of self, impermanence, suffering, insight, and liberation will be explored from both Buddhist and Western psychotherapeutic perspectives. The specific Buddhist and psychotherapeutic approaches to be highlighted in the course may vary depending on the expertise and orientation of the instructor. Likewise, the extent of experiential exploration of Buddhist meditation and its use in psychotherapy in this course may vary depending on the instructor.

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