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    Saybrook University
  May 08, 2021
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Clinical Psychology, Ph.D.

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Program Overview

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
  • Creativity Studies
  • Existential, Humanistic, & Transpersonal Psychology
  • Psychophysiology

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 selfnarrative) 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 decisionmaking.

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.

Professional Licensure

Saybrook’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program is regionally accredited by the Senior College and University Commission of WASC but does not have programmatic accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA) and therefore does not meet program requirements for professional licensure in states that require graduation from a program with APA accreditation.  In addition, Saybrook’s hybrid online Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program may not meet year-in-residence requirements of some state professional licensing boards/agencies.

At the time of publication, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology aligns with program requirements for professional licensure in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, New York, Texas, Vermont, and Washington where students may seek licensure after fulfilling all other state requirements. To be eligible for licensure, graduates of the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program must meet additional state-specific requirements which may include completion of specific coursework, post-doctoral supervised professional experience, application, and examination.  

It is the student’s responsibility to determine and meet his or her state-specific licensure requirements.  Towards that end, students are strongly encouraged to not only familiarize themselves with the state requirements but to also join related professional organizations in their state as student members.  State professional licensing requirements are subject to change at any time.  Saybrook University will assist students to create a degree program plan that meets curriculum requirements in their state when possible.

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. Failure to meet the residential requirement may delay graduation.

Mid-Term RC

In addition to the twice yearly RCs, the Clinical Psychology degree program offers a 3-day intensive mid-term residential conference 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. The cost of the mid-term RC is significantly less than the Residential Conference and will be posted each semester under tuition feeand fees on the website; the dates will be posted in the University calendar.

Academic Credit for RO and RC

No academic credit is given for attendance at the Residential Orientation or Residential Conference. 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, even if that is beyond the point where the student would normally not be required to attend RCs. 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

Prior to the Start of the Residential Conference

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.

After Attendance at the Substitution Conference

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 Credit

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. No transfer credit will be accepted from courses already applied toward another degree that was previously awarded. Allowable transfer credits must be suitable for transfer to the intended degree as determined by the Registrar and 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 a M.A. or M.S. degree or prior graduate work may be eligible to transfer up to 15 credits applied to Electives. Previous graduate coursework must have been completed within the past 5 years. Additionally, up to 15 credits of prior Saybrook non-degree certificate coursework, and up to 9 credits of Saybrook non-degree coursework will be considered.

Course Equivalencies

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.

Graduate Colloquium

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 throughout matriculation.

Clinical Intervention Sequence

The Clinical Interventions sequence is intended to support the development of clinicians-in-training. Students are required to take Clinical Interventions I & II sequentially in order to ground them foundationally in clinical conceptualization and treatment planning. After completing this sequence, student may select from a menu of courses to fulfill the requirements for Clinical Interventions III/IV which can be taken concurrently.

Clinical Practicum

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.

Clinical Internship

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.

Comprehensive Exam

The Comprehensive Exam is a written exam that affords the student the opportunity to demonstrate skills and knowledge related to the clinical conceptualization, theory, research, and ethics, as well as competency in practice and cultural sensitivity. 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.

Degree completion time

The degree completion time for a full time student following the default course sequence will average 5 years. Any breaks in enrollment may impact completion time.


Degree Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree program is the only Saybrook program that admits students with a B.A. or B.S. degree, which is in alignment with other clinical degree programs. The following courses are required for the PhD degree in Clinical Psychology. The sequence below is a recommended progression through the graduate program, but all students will work with Faculty and the Director of Clinical Training to tailor their program depending on individual circumstances, including one’s background and licensure requirements. Because Saybrook’s Clinical Psychology degree program is not APA accredited, completion of this curriculum does NOT result in completing an APA accredited program. However, in consultation with the Director of Clinical Training and Department Chair, this program may need to be adjusted in order to meet the APA-equivalency as defined by specific states. 

Matriculation/Program Planning Guide:

  • Students entering with a B.A. and B.S. are required to adhere to the first two-year sequence of core Clinical Psychology courses in the program plan outlined below in order to prepare them for clinical practicum placement. 
  • Students entering with a M.A. or M.S. degree are strongly encouraged to complete core Clinical Psychology degree courses in the sequence outlined in the program plan below in order to prepare them for clinical internship.  

Year 5: Semester 1

Year 5: Semester 2

Total Credits Required: 105-108*

  • *Students who complete the requirements for the MA Clinical Psychology degree will complete 108 units.

Saybrook MA in Clinical Psychology

Students entering the PhD in Clinical Psychology degree with B.A. or B.S. are eligible to earn the M.A. in Clinical Psychology degree by completing the courses listed below. The M.A. in Clinical Psychology is not a terminal degree; it is a requirement in satisfying the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology for those who enter without an MA/MS in Psychology or related discipline. Students are eligible to enroll in the master project when they have completed at least 30 credits of new learning, including the ethics course and first introductory research course. See the course description for more details.


Specialization Opportunities:

Unique to Saybrook’s program, Clinical psychology students may choose to complete one of the 15-credit specializations offered in the Humanistic & Clinical Psychology Department at Saybrook University. These courses satisfy the 15-credit elective degree requirement. Students may opt to complete a specialization, as well as other electives. However, they are caution to complete core course requirements early in order to remain competitive during the clinical practicum or clinical internship application processes. Humanistic and Clinical Psychology specialization options include:

  • Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health
  • Creativity Studies
  • Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology
  • Psychophysiology certificate*

Specialization in Creativity Studies (15 semester credits)

Specialization in Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology (15 semester credits)

Psychophysiology Certificate*

The specialization in psychophysiology credit requirements well exceed the Clinical Psychology degree electives; the psychophysiology certificate is more compatible. This certificate is designed to permit students an opportunity to form a coherent synthesis of psychophysiology studies. This certificate is a valuable way to both learn about various aspects of psychophysiology such as biofeedback, neurofeedback, genetic bases of behavior, optimal functioning, etc. and to provide evidence of solid training in psychophysiological techniques. The required core courses for the certificate are:

  • PH 505  Introduction to Psychophysiology
  • PH 510A  Psychophysiological Recording and Intervention/General Biofeedback Lecture
  • Three or more psychophysiology courses (in consultation with specialization coordinator)
  • Capstone paper summarizing what has been learned while taking the certificate

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