Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree in Psychology; Specialization in Existential and Humanistic Psychology
Specialization Coordinator: Drake Spaeth, Psy.D.
The Existential and Humanistic Psychology (EHP) Specialization is rooted in a holistic conception of what it means to be a person within the frameworks of humanistic psychology, existential psychology, and phenomenological psychology and philosophy. This Specialization is closely tied to the historic mission and vision of humanistic psychology and Saybrook University. The Specialization is committed to carrying forth Saybrook’s long history of maintaining the legacy of having the leading existential and humanistic scholars on its faculty, while producing the next generation of leaders. Though specialization does not prepare you for licensing as a psychologist, there are master level licensed professionals who are interested in acquiring a Ph.D. in Psychology and deepening their understanding of Existential and Humanistic practices.
The EHP Specialization focuses on a growth-oriented perspective emphasizing human potential, intended to foster an in-depth understanding of individuals, including an honest appraisal of the human condition. The Specialization encompasses both the important history and contributions of existential and humanistic psychology as well as contemporary directions in these fields. Many of the faculty in this specialization are established leaders in the existential and humanistic psychology fields.
From a practice/application standpoint, applications of the EHP approach apply to healthy people engaged in a lifelong journey toward self-knowledge as well as to individuals in psychosocial or spiritual distress. The course of instruction is designed to direct students’ attention toward the growth-oriented dimension of personality, even when people are struggling with psychological distress, and to the role of higher states of consciousness in achieving psychological balance and transformation. However, particularly within the existential tradition, the transformative possibilities inherent in suffering are also important considerations within the Specialization.
Augmenting the usual offerings, which focus on behavior and cognition in psychology, the EHP Specialization presents dynamic theories that define personality as a total gestalt, in the context of a spectrum of states of consciousness beyond what are traditionally considered to be the psychopathic and the normal. These states can reach into the realm of self-actualization and the transcendent. An emphasis on fostering existential and humanistic principles in practice and research is encouraged and are viewed as an essential aspect of serving the highest and best interests of humanity.
Saybrook M.A. to Ph.D.
The following requirements apply to students who 1) earn an MA in Psychology at Saybrook University, and 2) are currently earning an MA degree and wish to apply for entry into the doctoral program immediately following graduation. If the student is accepted into the doctoral program and matriculates within two semesters of receiving the MA, the following program requirements apply. If more than one-year elapses between finishing the MA and beginning the PhD program, the student must adhere to the standard PhD course requirements.