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    Saybrook University
  Aug 19, 2022
2016-2017 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2016-2017 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Mind-Body Medicine, Integrative Mental Health Specialization, 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. The program supplements traditional mental health education with Integrative paradigms for understanding mental and emotional disorders, and pursuing positive well-being.

Academic studies in the IMH specialization integrate complementary therapies including mind-body approaches, nutrition, somatic therapies, the wisdom of world healing traditions, and a review of current psycho-neuroimmunology and neuroscience research. The goal of this specialization is to revitalize the mental health field with energy, spirit, compassion, and joy.

The IMH specialization is designed for individuals who are already licensed mental health practitioners, or who have a licensable degree in a mental health profession. The course work supplements traditional mental health education by introducing alternative paradigms for understanding mental and emotional disorders. Students 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 in Integrative Mental Health

The doctoral degree program in Mind-Body Medicine with a Specialization in Integrative Mental Health offers professionals a means to broaden and deepen their academic and professional development in the mental health field. The program provides the opportunity to build upon the foundation provided by a master’s degree from Saybrook or from another regionally-accredited college or university.

Requirements Overview

Candidates for the Integrative Mental Health (IMH) specialization must have a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited University that qualifies them for a mental health license. They may be counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychiatric nurses, or psychiatrists, or have a degree that qualifies them for one of these specialties. The IMH degree is a 92 credit PhD. Applicants are allowed to transfer in up to 30 credits from their previous degree, leaving 62 credits in coursework for most applicants. Applicants must document that they have previously passed a course on ethical principles and practice standards, or add this course to their Saybrook degree program.

All students in the IMH specialization complete a regimen of research courses preparing them to complete a doctoral dissertation research project on a health related topic, and complete 100 hours in a Clinical Practicum placement or placements.

Students receiving a master’s degree in Mind-Body Medicine from Saybrook who are admitted into the doctoral degree in Mind-Body Medicine can generally transfer many of these credits into their PhD program. 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. Meeting the doctoral requirements will include completing additional credits of doctoral coursework plus the dissertation or project, for a minimum total of 93 credits. Under some circumstances, additional courses required may total more than 92 credits.

For further information on admission into the PhD Mind-Body Medicine program after completion of the M.S. Mind-Body Medicine degree, contact the Program Director. . Some credits from a master’s degree earned in other programs at Saybrook may also be transferable into the doctoral degree program. Contact an academic advisor for additional information.

This program is not a clinical psychology program. However, it can offer those wishing to enhance and further develop their clinical knowledge and expertise, and who do not intend to use the degree to qualify for licensure, more flexibility in program planning than the Clinical Psychology Specialization program provides.


Total Credits: (Years 1-4) 62

* (Note: Students will remain enrolled in this course each term during culminating phase until completion.)

Degree Requirements for 2016-2017 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 to 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 you with marketable skills to pursue your 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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