Saybrook’s online clinical psychology program is specifically focused on the knowledge, experience, and practical skills you will need to enter professional practice. Like the M.A./Ph.D. in Psychology degree programs, the Clinical Psychology degree program is grounded in existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology; seeking to apply such principles in all areas for clinical practice and research. More specifically, rooted in humanistic psychology, Saybrook’s clinical program studies human experience in deeply subjective, historical, contextual, cross-cultural, and spiritual contexts. Each program is designed to promote health and wholeness as practitioners who are positioned to effect positive change through service and leadership in their chosen clinical field.
Our Clinical Psychology degree program is committed to a developmental approach in understanding individuals within their broader social and cultural context, and with a full appreciation of the inseparable nature of spirit, body, and mind. Your study will include core psychology courses online, creative use of technology in increasing clinical skills, hands-on training at residential conferences, and close consultation from faculty who are active and experienced in the field, licensed clinical practitioners. At the doctoral level, the foundations include the highest level of scholarship and research skills integral to a PhD degree. An additional uniqueness while completing your degree requirement is the ability for our students to take courses across the university, as well as acquiring a specialization in either:
- Consciousness Spirituality Integrative Health (CSIH)
- Creativity Studies (CS)
- Existential and Humanistic Psychology (EHP)
- Psychophysiology (PH)
Saybrook tracks the employment of graduates in and out of the counseling profession, which is defined by the US Department of Labor’s Standard Occupational Classification codes 19-3031 (Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists) and 25-1066 (Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary), and 11-9199 (Managers, All Other).
Program Learning Outcomes
Goal 1: To develop competency in the theories of a variety of psychotherapeutic and assessment approaches that addresses the whole person.
1.1 Examine and critique the scientific, theoretical, and contextual bases of a wide variety of psychotherapeutic strategies and assessment approaches.
Goal 2: To develop competency in the techniques of a variety of psychotherapeutic and assessment approaches that addresses the whole person.
2.1 Attend to the whole person (e.g. their biological, social, spiritual, cultural context and self narrative) during psychotherapeutic and assessment interactions and analyses.
2.2 Provide a therapeutic relationship that facilitates transformative change through evidence
based practices, empathy, congruence and authenticity.
Goal 3: To develop psychologists who have the skills and knowledge to critically consume and contribute to the body of psychological research.
3.1 Understand and apply the central theories, research, and issues in the following areas of psychology: (a) biological aspects of the person, (b) cognitive and affective aspects of the person, (c) cultural and spiritual aspects of the person, (d) social aspects of the person, (e) human development, (f) individual difference, (g) history and systems of psychology, and (h)psychopathology.
3.2 Analyze, interpret, and critique psychological qualitative and quantitative research and scholarship.
3.3 Produce qualitative and/or quantitative research that contributes to the field of psychology.
Goal 4: To develop personal and professional self-awareness that will contribute to ethical and humanistic clinical practice.
4.1 Describe, analyze, and reflect upon one’s relationships and personal growth from a humanistic perspective.
4.2 Identify one’s own strengths, limitations, motivations, attitudes, assumptions, behaviors and thought processes and their effect on others.
4.3 Understand, critique and utilize APA’s Ethics Code and Principles and ethical decision-making.
Goal 5: To develop the ability to recognize, respect, and accommodate individual and cultural differences in all aspects of professional psychology.
5.1 Value individual and cultural diversity and the contributions of diverse populations which are relevant to the science and practice of psychology.
5.2 Recognize how one’s own perspectives can bias and limit one’s ability to work with individuals from other viewpoints.
5.3 Address life-span issues in scholarly inquiry, assessment, and psychotherapeutic work.
Goal 6: Produce leaders and social advocates in the field of clinical psychology.
6.1 Critically evaluate social systems with an eye towards opportunities for transformative social change utilizing humanistic principals.
6.2 Communicate effectively and professionally in verbal and written work.
6.3 Employ a strength-based approach toward individuals and systems to facilitate growth
In order to become a licensed psychologist, candidates must complete the degree, program, and/or coursework required by their chosen state. States also have licensing requirements beyond a program’s graduation requirements which may, depending on the state, include: post-doctoral supervised experience, continuing education credits, examination(s), background check, and application for license.
At the time of publication, the PhD in Clinical Psychology hybrid online program meets degree and coursework requirements in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The PhD in Clinical Psychology hybrid online program is aligned with the degree and pre-doctoral supervised professional experience requirements of the California Board of Psychology for registration and examination eligibility as a Licensed Psychologist (sections 1386 and 1387 of the California Code of Regulations). The program also offers students the opportunity to complete California Board of Psychology licensure-required coursework as specified in sections 1382, 1382.3, 1382.4, 1382.5, and 1382.6 of the California Code of Regulations.
Candidates for licensure in California must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) examination and the California Psychology Law and Ethics examination (CPLEE), and complete any remaining licensure-required coursework specified in sections 1382, 1382.3, 1382.4, 1382.5, and 1382.6 of the California Code of Regulations. Additional post-doctoral supervised experience is required in adherence with section 1387 of the California Code of Regulations. All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which includes fees and a background check. For further information about licensure in California, please visit the Board of Psychology.
Hybrid Online Learning Model
The PhD Clinical Psychology degree program combines online learning with periodic in-person residential conferences.
Residential Orientation (RO)
All new students in the Clinical Psychology PhD program begin their studies with our one-time, two-day Residential Orientation. Residential Orientations are held two days ahead of the Residential Conference at the start of the fall and spring semesters in California.
Residential Conference (RC)
Clinical Psychology students participate in two five-day long required Saybrook Residential Conferences (RC) per year (one at the beginning of the fall semester and one at the beginning of the spring semester) for the duration of the program. Students are required to attend conferences throughout their degree matriculation in order to ensure that they acquire ample residential hours required by states for eligibility for licensure.
If a student must miss an RC due to a documented medical emergency or other approved reason, the student needs to notify the Department Chair prior to the missed conference. Students will be expected to make-up the missed RC, which is to be pre-approved by the Department Chair. Failure to meet the residential requirement may delay graduation.
In addition to the twice-yearly RCs, the Clinical Psychology degree program offers a 3-day intensive mid-term residential conference (PSY 8000) held at the Saybrook University campus in Bellevue, Washington. Attendance is required for Washington state students in order to comply with state requirements of more face-to-face instructional activities beyond the twice-yearly Saybrook Residential Conference (RC). This mid-term RC is optional for all other Clinical Psychology degree students (see Department Chair).
Academic Credit for RO and RC
No academic credit is given for attendance at the Mid-Term Residential Conference, Residential Orientation or Residential Conference; however, they satisfy degree requirements. Students who attend a seminar at an RC and wish to study the topic further may, with the permission of the seminar instructor and the Department Chair, register for an independent study course (ALL 8100) following the RC and receive 1 academic credit upon completion. Each course is individually designed and negotiated with the seminar instructor. Not all RC workshops, courses, and seminars are eligible for the follow-up independent study credit.
RC Approved Absence Policy
If a student must miss an RC due to extenuating circumstances that include but are not limited to documented medical hardship or family emergency, attendance at an RC must be made up at a later date. In such cases, the student needs to notify the Department Chair prior to the missed conference for approval, refer to the Student Refund Policy for additional information.
RC Substitution Process
If students would like to substitute attendance at a professional conference for attendance at one of the RCs, they need to identify a faculty member who will sponsor them in this request. The conference must be at least five days, in accordance with Saybrook’s Residential Conference. Students must complete the “Authorization Request to Substitute for Residential Conference” form and submit it for approval no less than 30 days before the RC to be substituted.
Following the conference, students must complete the “Confirmation of Attendance at Substitute Conference” form and send to their faculty sponsor. After review and approval, the faculty sponsor will then forward it to the Department Chair, who will complete the recording process. Tangible documentation of attendance for the entire event is required, along with a copy of the completed Authorization Request signed by the supervising faculty member and any other required academic work or learning product required by the supervising faculty member.
Transfer credits based on equivalent graduate courses taken at another regionally accredited institution in the same or similar discipline where the student received a grade of B or better may be transferred and will reduce the number of course credits required to be completed at Saybrook. Allowable transfer credits must be suitable for transfer to the intended degree as determined by the Department Chair. Transfer course credits do not affect or replace specific program requirements or the minimum number of credits required for the degree. Transfer credits from an institution that uses the quarter system will be converted to semester credits. Transfer credits appear on the Saybrook transcript as a single block of credits, not as specific course titles. While matriculated at Saybrook University, students may not receive academic credit or credits for coursework to apply to their Saybrook degree in process from another institution.
Students entering the program with an MA or MS degree or prior graduate work may be eligible to transfer up to 15 credits applied toward electives. Previous graduate coursework must have been completed within the past 5 years. Additionally, up to 15 credits of prior Saybrook non-degree graded certificate coursework, or up to 9 credits of Saybrook non-degree graded coursework will be considered for application toward degree matriculation. Courses will be reviewed for applicability to degree. Consult the Institutional Transfer Credit Guidelines for additional policy on transfer credit.
Students should be sure to review their Transfer Credit Evaluation once it has been sent to them by the Registrar’s Office and should contact the Registrar if they have questions. Students have the option to request removal of any transferred credits prior to the end of their second semester at Saybrook University. We recommend that students check with their Department Chair prior to requesting credit be removed. Once removed, the update is permanent and transfer credits may not be reinstated.
In addition to transfer credits, PhD Clinical Psychology degree students who completed certain graduate courses within the past five years at a regionally accredited institution with a grade of B or better are eligible to petition for course equivalency. If the prior courses are determined to be equivalent to courses required at Saybrook University, students will not have to take these courses again and will be eligible to take other courses as a replacement for those credits. The equivalency policy does not increase transfer credit; it only permits students to take different courses instead of repeating courses already completed elsewhere.
The following courses are eligible for equivalency assessment:
- History and Systems of Psychology
- Cognition and Affect in Human Behavior
- Biological Bases of Behavior
- Developmental Psychology
- Social Psychology
Students must demonstrate course equivalency with course syllabi from previous graduate institution. No other courses will be considered for equivalency review. No more than 5 courses for a total of 15 semester credits will be granted for course equivalency. The request for course equivalency must be completed during the student’s first semester at Saybrook. No review and no equivalency credits will be given under this policy after the first semester has ended.
*Students should review state licensure requirements to determine whether or not multiple transcripts are accepted. Non-Saybrook courses will not be listed on the transcript.
The Graduate Colloquium (GC) is designed as a ‘virtual classroom’ in order to support the student throughout his or her studies, with specific attention to fostering a community of learners, sharing opportunities for professional presentations and conference attendance in the field, and socializing the student to the diverse roles a clinical psychologist. The colloquium affords students opportunities to be advised by a GC Faculty Lead and student Peer Lead, as well as the Academic Advisor, other clinical faculty members and/or the Director of Clinical Training (DCT). As a degree requirement, students are expected to participate in a GC (PSY 7500 A, B, C) throughout matriculation.
Clinical practicum is the first supervised practical training experience in the sequence of professional training in psychology conducted in settings providing professional psychological services. The practicum promotes the integration of academic knowledge with practical clinical experience, and prepares the student for future training, particularly for the pre-doctoral internship that follows. During practicum, students apply and extend the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned in the program’s didactic and classroom-based experiential components to develop increasingly sophisticated clinical skills and levels of understanding. The practicum assists students in integrating academic knowledge with applied experience in settings providing professional psychological services, contributes to the development of competence in the basic skills of professional psychological practice, and enhances the effective use of training experiences. Saybrook does not have an on-site practicum program. Support for the process of selecting, applying for, and completing the practicum is offered by the Director of Clinical Training (DCT) through the RC workshops, Graduate Colloquium course, and individual meetings. The clinical training experience requires a minimum of 600 clinical hours to be completed over two semesters. Students must be enrolled in the clinical practicum course PSY 8145A or PSY 8145B for their practicum hours to count towards the degree requirement. Students can consult the Clinical Training Handbook for additional details.
Internship is an intermediate to advanced supervised clinical experience that follows completion of the practicum and specific course-work. Internship is the hallmark of the clinical psychology training and it is an essential component of our Clinical Psychology Program in which students integrate academic knowledge with practical clinical skills and integrate humanistic principles and perspectives into their practice. Saybrook does not have an on-site internship program. Students locate appropriate internships and supervision in their geographic area, working in conjunction with Saybrook’s Director of Clinical Training. While adhering to state specific licensure requirements, students choose to work in settings conducting individual and group psychotherapy, on multidisciplinary hospital based teams, in community mental health, or in schools and college counseling centers. The clinical internship experience requires a minimum of 1500 clinical hours of training over a 12-24 month (full or part time, respectively) period. Students are required to register for Internship during each semester they are completing clinical hours.
The Comprehensive Exam (PSY 4000 ) is a written and oral exam that affords the student the opportunity to demonstrate skills and knowledge related to clinical conceptualization, theory, research, and ethics, as well as competency in practice and cultural sensitivity. Students are eligible for enrollment upon satisfactory completion of all core degree required courses. In the course, students will be coached in building upon their collective learning experiences across curriculum, Residential Conference events, and clinical practicum and internship experiences in preparation for the exam. Students will take the exam at the end of the term of course enrollment and are required to pass the Comprehensive Exam before advancing to candidacy. See the course description for more details.
Clinical Psychology Student Professional Development Assessment Process
The Student Professional Development Assessment Process (SPDAP) is comprised of several components to help students reflect on their personal, academic, and professional goals and to allow faculty to promote students’ socialization into the discipline of clinical psychology. The primary objective behind this process is for students to use it as a growth tool as clinicians-in-training. Specifically, the self-assessment portion of this process should help students to outline their goals and to develop a vision for their professional aspirations, clinical skills, and identity development. The faculty assessment portion will include evaluation and feedback regarding each student’s progress as they advance through the Clinical Psychology Program in alignment with degree program learning outcomes (PLOs). The faculty assessment will also include evaluation of academic progress in the program and readiness for clinical practicum and internship placement. Students with multiple and/or consecutive course failures throughout the program and/or deficient clinical skills may be placed on program probation, with the establishment of a remediation plan, and/or face dismissal from the Clinical Psychology Program. These decisions will be made in consultation with the degree faculty, Department Chair, Director of Clinical Training, Student Advisor, and/or Dean of Students.
Clinical Psychology Degree Expectation of Students
The expectations for CP students, clinicians-in-training, fall under three broad competencies categories:
- Demonstrated knowledge of and adherence to professional standards,
- Demonstrated application of professional skills, and
- Effective functioning through self-management and balance of personal experiences and professional demands.
In addition to adherence to Saybrook University policies and procedures, clinical students are expected to:
- Demonstrate professionalism in adherence to the American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, Specialty Guidelines, and other relevant professional of psychologists.
- Abide by any laws and regulation governing the practice of psychology, including any local, state, or federal regulations pertaining to the practice of psychology. More specifically, students are expected to integrate/internalize appropriate professional standards or best practices into their personal and professional development as clinicians-in-training.
It is the responsibility of the clinical psychology degree faculty, in collaboration with Saybrook faculty and staff, to expose clinical psychology student to the knowledge, guidelines and standards that are necessary to effectively socialize them into the field of psychology. Thereby supporting and monitoring the professional development of the student body.
Personal Functioning. It is the responsibility of any psychology professional, including to balance their personal functioning and effectiveness. This is most pertinent for CP students during degree matriculation and clinical training. Conceivably, physical, emotional, and/or educational problems may adversely impact the students’ clinical skills/knowledge acquisition, professional performance, and academic progression. The challenges may include yet not limited to the following:
- Problematic academic performance and matriculation,
- Poor psychological adjustment and/or inappropriate emotional regulation,
- Significant inappropriate self-care and stress management,
- Lack of capacity for self-directed professional development,
- Ineffective use of and response to supervision, and/or
Violation of APA Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, Saybrook Student Code of Conduct, and/or other local, state, federal regulatory bodies.
Degree completion time
The degree completion time for a full time student following the default course sequence will average 5 years, including completion of the clinical practicum and internship. Any breaks in enrollment may impact completion time.
It is imperative that clinical psychology students are successful in balancing the demands of graduate education with other personal/professional demands as it serves as an indicator for readiness for clinical practicum and internship training. More specifically, securing clinical training placement is inherently competitive. Therefore, it is quite probable that CP students’ application for training may be adversely impacted with course grades of No Credit or less than B-. Students with multiple and/or consecutive course failures throughout the program may be placed on program probation, with the establishment of a remediation plan, and/or face dismissal from the Clinical Psychology Program (see the Student Professional Development Assessment Process above). Subsequently, CP students are expected to satisfy any No Credit or less than B course within the next term where the course if offered and adherence to prerequisites for subsequent courses.