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    Saybrook University
  Feb 26, 2020
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Mind-Body Medicine, Specialization in Integrative Mental Health, Ph.D.

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Infusing Mental Health Care with Compassion and Joy

Integrative Mental Health (IMH) is a specialization for PhD students in the CIMHS. This specialization is designed for licensed mental health practitioners, and individuals who have a licensable mental health degree. Disciplines welcomed to apply for this specialization include psychology, psychiatry, social work, counseling, psychiatric nursing, and expressive arts therapy (when licensable).

The program supplements traditional mental health education with Integrative paradigms for understanding mental and emotional disorders, and pursuing positive well-being.

Students in the IMH specialization learn a core of evidence-based complementary therapies, including the use of integrative nutrition, health coaching, guided imagery, somatic therapies, mindfulness approaches, and integrative psychotherapy.  Students also may choose to study either clinical hypnosis or biofeedback.

All students in the IMH specialization also complete a clinical practicum in integrative mental health, and a dissertation applying qualitative or quantitative research methods to mental health related problems.

Specialization Requirements Overview

Students in the Integrative Mental Health doctoral specialization will take 18 credits of course work, broadening and deepening their academic and professional development in the field of integrative mental health. The program provides the opportunity to build upon the foundation provided by a master’s degree (or equivalent) from Saybrook or from another regionally-accredited college or university.

Specialization Credits: (Years 1-4) 18

Degree Requirements for 2017-2018 Academic Year approved by CIMHS Degree Program Committee.


  • The degree completion time for a student following the default course sequence will average between 4 ½ and 5 ½ years. Some students may complete degree requirements in fewer terms and some may require more terms to complete the degree.
  • A listing of acceptable CIMHS courses and electives in the University Catalog. Students may also choose an elective from the required courses in other specializations.
  • 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.

Learning and Career Outcomes

A PhD in Mind-Body Medicine with a specialization in Integrative Mental Health (IMH) provides licensed mental health providers (and those with licensable mental health degrees) with a comprehensive preparation for the integrative practice of mental health care. Graduates will be able to provide clinical treatment within the scope of their licenses, augmented with a variety of complementary therapies and integrative medicine interventions.

The learning outcomes and career outcomes for this PhD program provide students with marketable skills to pursue their existing mental health careers with a more integrative focus and a full range of mind-body skills. Graduates will also be prepared for academic jobs in universities, colleges, and medical schools, teaching an integrative approach to health and mental health.

Today’s consumers demand alternatives to mainstream biomedical psychiatric and mental health care. Pharmacotherapies are often a necessary component of treatment, yet many persons suffer adverse medication effects, or a failure of medication to produce sufficient relief from mental and emotional disorders. Many patients do not adhere to medication therapies over the long-term. The addition of evidence-based behavioral, nutritional, and spiritual/transpersonal interventions can supplement and sometimes replace medication regiments for individuals with acute and chronic mental health disorders.

Many hospitals and clinics are now marketing “integrative care” for mental health disorders, yet there are few graduates of accredited University programs trained in the wide array of complementary and integrative therapies.

Students enrolled in the IMH specialization can earn nationally recognized certificates in clinical hypnosis, biofeedback, and health and wellness coaching, further adding to their toolbox of evidence-based skills in demand in health care today. They also can acquire the knowledge and skills for work in chronic pain, palliative care, and integrative hospice services, areas where integrative approaches have been demonstrated to be clinically effective.

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