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    Saybrook University
  Jan 28, 2023
2021-2022 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2021-2022 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Department of Humanistic and Clinical Psychology

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The Humanistic and Clinical Psychology (HCP) department is home to Saybrook’s flagship programs, which include the M.A. in Psychology, Ph.D. in Psychology, and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree programs. It offers students a foundation of scholarship and practice based in the tradition of existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology. Learning encompasses a course of study that takes the student beyond traditional field-specific boundaries to focus on such subjects as consciousness, spirituality, and integrative health; creativity studies; and existential and humanistic psychology.

Discovery that is informed by a variety of disciplines and modes of inquiry can enliven each student’s primary field of study and enrich the learning process. It is with this in mind that the HCP Psychology and Clinical Psychology degree programs have expanded the definition of the field to include not only human processes that occur at an intrapsychic level, but also those that occur within groups, communities, societies, and at the global level.

Our research and practice encourage the best in human qualities and activities while also adhering to rigorous scholastic standards. By producing humanistic scholars, researchers, and practitioners, the Psychology and Clinical Psychology degree programs offer interdisciplinary graduate education that crosses and merges many disciplines within the diverse field of Psychology. Through such an approach, exploration of what it means to be human in the 21st century is expanded beyond traditional definitions of the fields of psychology and clinical practice.

The uniqueness of Saybrook’s Psychology and Clinical Psychology degree programs lies in our heritage of humanistic, existential, transpersonal, and phenomenological inquiry. Key founders and early contributors to this tradition include such innovative thinkers as Carl Rogers, Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, James Bugental, Henry Murray, Viktor Frankl, Charlotte Bühler, and Virginia Satir. These and other leaders in existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology came together in the 1960s to challenge the dominant behaviorist and psychoanalytic theories and other models of inquiry into human experience. Today Saybrook faculty, alumni, and students continue to question, critique, and offer alternatives to many of the axioms of mainstream academic psychology and professional practice, including those of the now predominant bio-medical model. Through creativity, spiritual commitment, sound research, scholarly writing, and integrative professional practice, members of the Saybrook community keep alive the spirit of innovative and creative approaches to the increasingly complex issues of our times.

Our work offers a vital, viable, and emancipatory alternative to individuals, families, groups, and societies as they effectively respond to human needs in an increasingly complex world. The emphasis of the course of study is on disciplined inquiry that includes various ways of knowing, scholarly research and writing, and the conceptualization of issues in psychology within the framework of their philosophical, scientific, social, and political contexts, as well as practical “real world” implications. HCP Department Programs are leading humanistic educational programs committed to the study of human experience from multiple frameworks informed by this historical and evolving humanistic, existential, and transpersonal perspectives. While the Psychology degree programs do not prepare students for clinical practice or eligibility for clinical licensure, the Clinical Psychology degree program does.  However, many Psychology degree program students are already licensed clinicians and find the coursework offered through Psychology curricula complements and enhances their prior or concurrent study of clinical issues.

Curricula Learning Goals

The curricula learning goals express the Department’s mission and vision as overarching tenets that inform the learning outcomes of degree programs, Specializations, and courses. They guide and support students in aligning their own aspirations and program goals and learning outcomes with Saybrook’s mission. Student learning outcomes for each of the degrees are based on these goals. These learning goals support students to become:

  • Leaders for life-honoring and life-enhancing social change
  • Self-reflective, contemplative, and intentional scholar-practitioners
  • Extraordinary thinkers who move beyond traditional disciplinary and paradigmatic boundaries
  • Professionals who place their work within an expanded geopolitical, temporal, and socio-environmental context
  • Persons who experience and cultivate intra- and interpersonal authenticity, integrity, and compassion

Psychology and Clinical Psychology Degree Program Contacts

Theopia Jackson, Ph.D.
Department Chair, Clinical Psychology Degree Program

Israel Espinosa
Department Chair, Psychology Degree Program


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