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Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Rooted in the practitioner-scholar model, our students engage in rigorous academic coursework and comprehensive clinical training, in addition to completing their dissertation.
The Psy.D. program at CIIS is carefully designed to prepare students for practice-focused careers in clinical psychology. Rooted in the practitioner-scholar model, our students engage in rigorous academic coursework and comprehensive clinical training, in addition to completing their dissertation.
Classes are grounded in the philosophical foundations of psychoanalytic thought, psychodynamic perspectives on the therapeutic relationship, personal and social dimensions of the unconscious, and radical and critical approaches in psychodynamic psychotherapy. These courses are taken simultaneously with professional seminars in which students are taught to link theory and practice through in-depth discussion of clinical cases. The program also actively cultivates a dialogue between Western psychology and other wisdom/spiritual traditions. Students take electives in areas such as Buddhism and psychotherapy, mindfulness and meditation, comparative mystical practice, psychedelic studies, dialectical-behavioral therapy and other third wave interventions.
As part of the program, students also have the opportunity to conduct their clinical practicum hours at the Psychological Services Center, one of the six award-winning clinics at CIIS. Under faculty supervision, students provide individual, couple, family, and group counseling and assessment to Bay Area residents.
The mission of the Clinical Psychology program is to train students to become resourceful and integrative clinicians, skilled in the application of psychological theories and their specific interventions, capable in client assessment and diagnosis, and researchers able to produce scholarship that contributes to the psychological profession. With an understanding of human differences, and the deconstruction of the dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression. We provide extensive theoretical and practical experience so that our students graduate ready to make the most of any opportunities, which includes:
- Comprehensive preparation to sit for CA licensing exams.
- Training and experience in clinical intervention modalities.
- Expertise in all current assessment and diagnostic techniques.
- Advanced skills in designing and conducting primary research in a range of clinical topics.
- Skillset and mindset to lead at the forefront of evolving clinical practice.
- Practical knowledge directed toward building a private practice.
- Cultural sensitivity and experience to work successfully with diverse populations.
The Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology is an in-person program taught by experienced faculty who are experts in their fields. Students take three years of coursework in addition to two years of practicum starting in their second year. Upon completion of the core courses and the practicums, students will complete an oral examination for approval to begin the required 2000 hour pre-doctoral internship. Students are also required to complete and defend a dissertation before completion of the degree. Students begin writing the proposal in their second year, allowing ample time for topic development and research.
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 professional seminar 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.
Research and Training
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.
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.
Essential Aspects of Clinical Psychology
PSY 5601 Psychopathology (3.0 units)
PSY 6010 Professional Standards and Ethics for Psychologists (3.0 units)
PSY 6201 Lifespan Development (3.0 units)*
Theory and Practice
PSY 5502 Theories and Practice of Psychotherapy: Psychodynamics (3.0 units)
PSY 5504 Theories and Practice of Psychotherapy: Humanistic-Existential (3.0 units)
PSY 5506 Theories and Practice of Psychotherapy:
Cognitive-Behavioral and Emerging Treatments (1.0 unit) *
Culture and Context
PSY 5002 Culture & Ethnicity in Clinical Practice (3.0 units)*
PSY 6144 Gender and Sexuality in Clinical Practice (3.0 units)
PSY 6961 Advanced Seminar in Cultural Psychology (2.0 units)
PSY 5705 Foundation Clinical Skills: Children and Family (3.0 units)
PSY 5704 Foundation Clinical Skills: Adults- Individuals and Couples (3.0 units)
PSYL 5704 Foundation Clinical Skills: Adult- Individuals and Couples Lab (1.0 unit)
PSY 6774 Foundation Clinical Skills: Groups (2.0 units)
PSY 7033 Supervision and Consultation (2.0 units)
License Portability Series**
PSY 6001 Biological Bases of Clinical Practice (3.0 units)
PSY 6110 Statistics (3.0 units)
PSY 6192 Social Psychology (3.0 units)
PSY 6301 Cognitive and Affective Foundations of Behavior (3.0 units)
PSY 7174 History and Systems of Psychology (3.0 units)
PSY 6331 Psychological Assessment I: Psychometric Theory (3.0 units)
PSY 6332 Psychological Assessment II: Cognitive and Intelligence Testing (3.0 units)
PSY 6333 Psychological Assessment III: Personality Assessment (3.0 units)
Professional Seminar Series
PSY 6732 Professional Seminar 1a (2.0 units)
PSY 6733 Professional Seminar 1b (2.0 units)
PSY 6734 Professional Seminar 2a (2.0 units)
PSY 6735 Professional Seminar 2b (2.0 units)
Depth Psychology Series
PSY 6925 Depth Psychology Seminar: The Therapeutic Relationship (3.0 units)
PSY 6930 Depth Psychology Seminar: The Unconscious as Personal & Social Process (3.0 units)
PSY 6935 Depth Psychology Seminar: The Transpersonal (3.0 units)
PSY 5401 Quantitative Methods (3.0 units)
PSY 6115 Qualitative Methods (3.0 units)
PSY 9800 Dissertation Proposal Writing I (1.0 unit)
PSY 9801 Dissertation Proposal Writing II (1.0 unit)
PSY 9802 Dissertation Proposal Writing III (1.0 unit)
Students select 5.0 units of elective courses to complete the requirements of the degree. These electives may be taken through the PSYD program or any other graduate-level degree at CIIS.
Offerings may include such courses as:
PSY 6145 Psychedelic Studies (2.0 units)
PSY 6147 Jungian Psychotherapy (3.0 units)
PSY 6150 Somatic Psychology (3.0 units)
PSY 8513 Perspectives: Trauma-Informed Care (3.0 units)
*These courses are eligible to be waived upon admission if previously completed in another accredited Master’s or doctoral program leading to a mental health professional license. This reduces the total number of units required for the PSYD.
**These five courses are not required by the State of California for licensure as a professional psychologist; however, many other states do require them. A student wishing to take additional elective course work may work with their advisor and obtain permission to substitute other CIIS course work for these courses.
After completing PSY 9803, students are required to enroll in PSY 9999 for 0.1 units each semester until their dissertation is complete.
Students who have achieved Candidacy for the doctorate are not required to enroll in the Summer semester unless they are defending their dissertation.
Foundational Skills Practicum (2.0 units) Spring and Summer of Year 1
PSY 6775B Foundational Skills Practicum 1.0
PSY 6775C Foundational Skills Practicum 1.0
Practicum and Internship (9.0-12.0 units)
Students are required to complete two years of practicum. Students are required to enroll in the appropriate coordinating course while in a clinical setting. This is determined by the terms of the student’s placement contract with the site. Students must be enrolled in a Practicum class every semester that they are in a placement setting. All practicum activities take place in California.
In a case where either the student or the Director of Clinical Training determines that a third year of Practicum would be beneficial to the student’s development as a clinician, a third year of Practicum may be required before the student is permitted to apply for Internship.
Internship Students are required to complete an internship, either full-time for one year or part-time for two years. Students are required to enroll in the appropriate coordinating course while in a clinical setting. This is determined by the terms of the student’s placement contract with the site. All internship activities take place in California.
PSY 6776A Practicum I (1.0 unit)
PSY 6776B Practicum I (1.0 unit)
PSY 6776C Practicum I (1.0 unit)
PSY 6777A Practicum II (1.0 unit)
PSY 6777B Practicum II (1.0 unit)
PSY 6777C Practicum II (1.0 unit)
PSY 6778A Practicum III (1.0 unit)
PSY 6778B Practicum III (1.0 unit)
PSY 6778C Practicum III (1.0 unit)
PSY 9699A Internship (1.0 unit)
PSY 9699B Internship (1.0 unit)
PSY 9699C Internship (1.0 unit)
The Psy.D. program at CIIS is for students who hold a bachelor's degree in the field and wish to pursue a broad and general training in clinical psychology that prepares students for the professional practice of psychology.
Online Admissions Application: Begin the application process by submitting an online application and paying the non-refundable $65 application fee.
Degree Requirement: A B.A. or B.S. from an accredited college or university.
Minimum GPA: A GPA of 3.0 in previous coursework is required.
Transcripts: Official transcripts from all accredited academic institutions attended where 7 or more credits have been earned. If transcripts are being mailed to CIIS, they must arrive in their official, sealed envelopes. Transcripts from institutions outside the US or Canada require a foreign credit evaluation through World Education Services (WES) or CIIS will also accept foreign credential evaluations that are in a comprehensive course-by-course format from the current members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
Academic Writing Sample: A writing sample of eight to ten pages (typed, double-spaced) that demonstrates your capacity to think critically and reflectively and demonstrates graduate level writing abilities. A sample that uses outside sources must include proper citations. You may submit copies of previous work, such as a recent academic paper, article, or report that reflects scholarly abilities.
Two Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation will be accepted from academic advisors, professors, professional supervisors, or someone able to attest to your maturity, motivation, and ability to undertake the work required for the Psy.D. program. Recommenders should use standard business format and include full contact information-name, email, phone number, and mailing address.
Professional Goal Statement: A one-page statement of your educational and professional objectives. Please be sure to address the reason(s) you believe this Psy.D. program will be a good match for your goals.
Autobiographical Statement: A four to six page (typed, double-spaced) self-reflective, lifespan autobiographical statement discussing your values, emotional and spiritual insights, aspirations, and life experiences that have led to the decision to apply to the Psy.D. program.
An Up-To-Date C.V. detailing your educational and professional experience.