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    Saybrook University
   
 
  May 25, 2019
 
2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
    
2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum

Applied Psychophysiology, Ph.D


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Core Degree and Requirements


Applied Psychophysiology is the sub-specialty of psychophysiology which uses knowledge of the biological bases of various behaviors in conjunction with numerous psychological techniques to help people moderate illness-related symptoms and optimize their behavior in the sports, educational, and business environments.

Applied Psychophysiologists are professionals who develop and use behavioral assessments and interventions based on such areas as behavioral genetics, hormonal influence on behavior, individual differences in perception, and abnormal physiological patterns. They assist clients in recognizing and altering problems caused by these biological underpinnings. Common psychophysiological intervention techniques include biofeedback, relaxation training, hypnosis, neurofeedback, stress management, among others.

The Department of Psychophysiology, within the College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences at Saybrook University, provides a PhD in Applied Psychophysiology with two doctoral level specializations to prepare graduates to pursue careers in a professional practice informed by a scientific understanding of mind and body. 

The specializations available within the PhD in Applied Psychophysiology include:

  • Clinical Psychophysiology
  • Optimal Functioning

For licensed health professionals, the Clinical Psychophysiology curriculum provides a range of useful concepts and skills for application in most specialty areas of medicine and mental health.  Students entering the Optimal Functioning specialization will learn to assess and assist healthy people to perform better through behavioral control of their physiological systems.  Optimal functioning assessments and interventions are widely used in sports, education, business, military, and clinical environments.  The specializations are detailed below.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Assess and appraise knowledge of the biological basis of behavior and accurately relate and interpret behavioral dysfunctions to underlying biological dysfunctions
  2. Evaluate and interpret psychophysiological recording methodology and set, monitor, recognize and consistently perform correct recordings utilizing psychophysiological equipment.
  3. Create, organize, and conduct independent psychophysiological research studies utilizing accepted design and analysis techniques so that students recognize common mistakes in published studies involving design and analysis and can teach others how to do so.
  4. Explain and assess the physiological and stress responses underlying both behavioral and physiological sequences impacting optimal functioning, in order to design and conduct appropriate training utilizing psychophysiologically based techniques to optimize functioning in business, education, sports, and (when appropriately licensed) clinical environments.
  5. Explain and integrate ethical principles and professional practice standards, as promulgated by the field’s professional organizations, within the field of applied psychophysiology.

Admission Requirements


Students entering the Applied Psychophysiology doctoral program must have completed a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university prior to enrollment. Doctoral students must complete a minimum of 76 credits. Applicants to the Clinical Psychophysiology specialization must document a current healthcare or mental healthcare license or completion of a licensable healthcare or mental healthcare degree.

Students entering the program who have not taken undergraduate courses in general biology or general psychology must take any they are missing during their first semester: APH 5001 General Biology, 1 credit; APH 5002 General Psychology - 1 credit.  Students showing weaknesses in academic writing skills must take Graduate Academic Writing, a 3-credit course. Depending on prior education, they may need to review learning modules provided by the department covering areas including electronic circuitry, mathematics, psychological assessment, and medical information needed to perform psychophysiological assessments.

By approval, Saybrook may accept up to nine graduate transfer credits into the PhD degree in Applied Psychophysiology from other regionally accredited colleges and universities prior to entrance. Transfer credits must be from courses substantially similar to those offered by the Department. They are applied to reduce the required number of elective or required courses for degree completion. Alternately, they may be waived without granting credit so students can take other electives in place of the transferred courses.  Suitability of the proposed courses for transfer to the intended degree are determined by the Department Chair.

If a student has taken more than nine credits of past graduate courses matching required courses, or can demonstrate learning equivalent to a required course, the required course(s) may be waived without credit, and students will take additional elective(s) in their place. For further details regarding transfer credit policies, consult the Institutional Transfer Credit Guidelines section of the University Catalog.

Students who have earned a Saybrook MS in Mind-Body Medicine, the MS in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, or the MA in Integrative Wellness Coaching, and who are admitted into the doctoral degree in Applied Psychophysiology, can generally transfer all master’s degree credits that match either a required course or an elective in the PhD program. The exact amount depends on which master’s degree the student has completed, and which PhD specialization the student selects. These students must fulfill the doctoral degree requirements not completed at the master’s level, including the remaining required courses and the dissertation or project.

For further information on admission into the PhD in Applied Psychophysiology program after completion of a master’s degree at Saybrook University, contact the Applied Psychophysiology Department Chair.

Note, this program is not a clinical psychology program. However, it can offer more flexibility in program planning to those wishing to enhance and further develop their clinical knowledge and expertise, but who do not intend to use the degree to qualify for licensure.

Degree Requirements


Students in the PhD degree program in Applied Psychophysiology pursue a 25-credit sequence of core courses in Applied Psychophysiology, 18 credits in specialization courses, and 12 credits of psychophysiologically relevant elective courses. This training prepares graduates for a broad range of employment opportunities in medical and mental healthcare, stress management, optimal functioning, sports and mental health coaching, and wellness education. Students in the PhD in Applied Psychophysiology also complete a 21-credit sequence of research courses, culminating in a doctoral dissertation and oral defense of the dissertation. Students carry out several original research projects, including the doctoral dissertation, on topics relevant to psychophysiological assessments and interventions in areas such as optimal functioning and health care.

Each of the doctoral specializations is described separately with its coursework and career applications, following discussion of the core PhD degree in Applied Psychophysiology.

Notes:


 

  • The degree completion time for a student following the default course sequence will average between 4 and 5 years. Some students may complete degree requirements in fewer terms and some may require more terms to complete the degree.
  • Acceptable elective credits must be psychophysiologically relevant courses.
  • This is a structured cohort program and the sequence of courses is different for students who start in the fall than for students who start in the spring.

 

Residential Conferences


Throughout enrollment in the program, students attend several monthly synchronous web based seminars and attend three in-person training sessions per year. Each session is approximately five days long. Two occur during Saybrook’s residential conferences and one during the annual meeting of the professional organization, The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Students attend the residential conferences until they complete all coursework other than the dissertation.

Comprehensive Exams


After completion of all coursework and prior to the dissertation defense, each student has to pass a written comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination is made up of open ended questions covering each of the courses in the student’s doctoral studies in psychophysiology.  For each comprehensive examination, each professor who has taught a lecture course to the student submits two essay questions for each of the lecture courses they teach in the program. The student selects one of the two questions for each course to answer. The questions will test the student’s understanding of a crucial basic concept and the student’s ability to apply that concept to applied psychophysiology rather than requiring a list of facts.

The student must pass 80% of the questions to pass the exam. A student who fails the comprehensive may attempt questions from the failed subject areas twice with not less than one month between each attempt. Different questions are supplied to the student for each attempt. If the student does not pass on the third attempt (the original and two retries), the student will be dismissed from the program. 

 

Dissertation


Students develop their dissertations with the assistance of a mentor and a dissertation committee. Dissertations are designed to produce novel information related to psychophysiology based on a study performed using subjects and to be of adequate quality so its results could be published in a peer reviewed journal. Students must orally defend both the protocol the dissertation study is based on and then of the dissertation’s results when it is completed to the members of the dissertation committee.

Career Outcomes


Licensed healthcare professionals who complete this doctoral degree with the clinical specialization will strengthen their already existing careers, utilizing evidence-based psychophysiological assessments and interventions within their practice areas to see a greater variety of patients and enhance outcomes with current patients. They are prepared to excel in medical and mental health settings, integrative medicine, and a variety of allied health professions. Graduates in the optimal functioning specialization who do not have healthcare licenses will be prepared to work in wellness coaching, sports coaching, stress management, and optimal performance training as consultants, educators, and employees in corporate and medically based health promotion and wellness programs.

Specialization in Clinical Psychophysiology


Clinical psychophysiology represents a new level of scientific breadth and personal depth in healthcare. It requires training that emphasizes treating the patient as a whole person, rather than as a set of symptoms, and working with the mind and spirit as well as the body. The Clinical Psychophysiology Specialization (within the doctoral degree in Applied Psychophysiology) gives currently licensed health professionals expert knowledge and skills applicable in their current field of practice, and opens new medical and mental health practice areas as well.

Designed for licensed healthcare professionals (and those with licensable degrees), this curriculum involves extensive evidence-based research to support a comprehensive range of applied psychophysiological assessments and interventions used in the treatment of medical and mental health disorders, in pain management, physical rehabilitation, and a number of other medical specialty areas.

Specialization Requirements


Students selecting the Clinical Psychophysiology doctoral specialization will complete 18 credits in specialized coursework including coursework in mind-body science (anatomy and physiology, psychophysiology), the application of integrative medicine strategies, and additional clinical skills, such as biofeedback, hypnosis, stimulation technologies, and consulting skills. As part of their required coursework, they may complete Saybrook University certificates in biofeedback / neurofeedback, hypnosis, stress management, or psychophysiological studies. 

Psychophysiologically oriented electives include courses in pelvic floor disorders, behavioral assessment and intervention for pain, QEEG, advanced topics in EEG, neuromuscular rehabilitation, neuropsychophysiology, advanced hypnosis, impact of hormones on behavior, and impact of genetics upon behavior.

Specialization Requirements for 2018-2019 Academic Year have been approved by the CIMHS Degree Program Committee.

Notes:


  • The degree completion time for a student following the default course sequence will average between 4 and 5 years. Some students may complete degree requirements in fewer terms and some may require more terms to complete the degree.
  • Acceptable elective credits must be psychophysiologically relevant courses.
  • This is a structured cohort program and the sequence of courses is different for students who start in the fall than for students who start in the spring.

Specialization in Optimal Functioning


Current research shows that a whole-person approach toward treating stress-related diseases and chronic health conditions yields improved outcomes, and can also promote optimal levels of human wellness and performance. The Optimal Functioning specialization prepares students to assist healthy people to perform better through behavioral control of their physiological systems. The PhD in Applied Psychophysiology with a Specialization in Optimal Functioning provides an opportunity to broaden and deepen your knowledge of health, wellness, and resilience, and to master strategies that will help human beings to reach their highest wellness and optimal levels of performance in such areas as sports, business, and education. Electives include such courses as optimal functioning in the sports environment, optimal functioning in the business environment, stimulation technologies, hormones and behavior, and many others. 

Specialization Requirements


Students selecting the specialization in optimal Functioning will take an additional 18 credits, to prepare them for careers in such areas as wellness, stress management, sports coaching, mental health coaching, and optimal functioning in business, sports and educational environments. Psychophysiologically based electives include optimal functioning in the sports environment, optimal functioning in the business environment, stimulation technologies, pain assessment and intervention, hypnosis, and neurofeedback.

Notes:


  • The degree completion time for a student following the default course sequence will average between 4 and 5 years. Some students may complete degree requirements in fewer terms and some may require more terms to complete the degree.
  • Acceptable elective credits must be psychophysiologically relevant courses.
  • This is a structured cohort program and the sequence of courses is different for students who start in the fall than for students who start in the spring.

Career Outcomes


All the specializations in Applied Psychophysiology support career and professional goals across a broad spectrum of academic, healthcare, and organizational environments. The learning outcomes and career outcomes for the Optimal Functioning specialization include:  the application of applied psychophysiological knowledge and interventions in wellness coaching, health education, stress management, corporate wellness, and sports applications.

Whether you are a mid-career professional seeking to enhance your existing skills or an individual seeking to transition to a new career path, the optimal functioning specialization provides a comprehensive overview of the wellness and performance fields combined with core skills training.

If you are currently pursuing a career in one of the occupations below or aspire to do so, this degree program and specialization can help you make a difference and advance along your chosen path.

 

  • Stress Management
  • Sports Trainer
  • Integrative Wellness Coach
  • Health Educator
  • Clinician

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