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Clinical Psychology – PsyD Programs (Doctor of Psychology)

The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology program has been designed to educate and train students so that they will be able to function effectively as clinical psychologists. To ensure that students are adequately prepared, the curriculum is designed to provide for the meaningful integration of psychological science, theory, and clinical practice.

The Clinical Psychology program at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area is designed to emphasize the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes essential in the training of professional psychologists who are committed to the ethical provision of quality, evidence-based services.

Training Model

The program follows a practitioner-scholar model and is based on the competencies developed by the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology (NCSPP). The curriculum is designed to provide students with a broad array of theoretical perspectives in preparation for the general practice of clinical psychology. Required courses expose students to assessment and intervention strategies that are based on psychodynamic, cognitive, and experiential approaches.

As a group, the program faculty is also representative of this diversity. Rather than being immersed in a single theoretical perspective, students are encouraged to consider these alternative perspectives, to critically evaluate the full range of theories and associated practices, and to be able to apply multiple theoretical perspectives to clinical issues. Opportunities are available for students to develop competence in a number of areas, including the provision of services to specific populations.

The PsyD in Clinical Psychology program is a five-year program. Three full-time academic years (or the equivalent thereof) are dedicated to graduate coursework, including three years of practicum training during the second, third and fourth, academic years. The fourth academic year also allows students to complete advanced elective courses, and complete the Clinical Research Project (CRP). The fifth academic year is devoted to an internship in clinical psychology. There is an option to complete a half-time internship over two years, requiring a sixth year in the program. There is also an option for completion of the Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology degree en route to the PsyD in Clinical Psychology degree.

Program Goals and Objectives

The American School of Professional Psychology, San Francisco, Doctor of Psychology Program in Clinical Psychology program goals and objectives are as follows:

  • Goal #1: To prepare practitioners of psychology who are able to provide therapies and diagnostic assessments that are evidence based, ethically appropriate and are sensitive to diversity factors.
  • Objectives for Goal #1:

    1.1 Students will demonstrate competency in case conceptualization and DSM diagnosis which are based on the foundational aspects of clinical psychology including psychopathology and individual differences.

    1.2 Students will demonstrate the competency to consider cultural and individual differences, and how those factors affect treatment and assessment.

    1.3 Students will demonstrate competency in their ability to practice psychology that is consistent with both ethical and legal guidelines.

    1.4 Students will be able to administer, score, and interpret the results of psychological testing, and understand the psychometric information obtained from psychological testing instruments as well as integrate these interpretations with other behavioral and qualitative information into a written report.

    1.5 Students will demonstrate competency in a broad range of theoretical orientations and therapeutic techniques as well as develop competency in relationship skills.

    1.6 Graduates will engage in the practice of psychology consistent with their training, including the direct delivery of services (therapy, assessment, consultation). Consistent with this objective, graduates will demonstrate the ability to pass state licensing exams and proficiency on the national exam (EPPP).

  • Goal #2: To prepare practitioners of psychology who possess the requisite knowledge of the scientific bases of psychology which include biological, cognitive, affective, historical, developmental and social aspects of human behavior.
  • Objectives for Goal #2:

    2.1 Students will demonstrate knowledge of the current body of literature in biological, cognitive, developmental and social bases of human functioning; and the overall historical and philosophical context of the field of psychology.

  • Goal #3: To prepare practitioners of psychology who are able to critically evaluate and utilize the existing and evolving body of knowledge and the scientific method of psychology to enhance clinical practice.
  • Objectives for Goal #3:

    3.1 Students will demonstrate competence in research methodologies and the application of statistical tests for data analysis in the science and practice of psychology.

    3.2 Students demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the existing theoretical and research literature in psychology. This includes the ability to articulate a clinical question and critically evaluate and synthesize the relevant theoretical, clinical, and research literature.

    3.3 Graduates will evaluate and use the existing and evolving body of knowledge and methods in the practice and science of psychology to enhance their practice as demonstrated by attending educational and professional meetings, subscribing to professionals journals, and presenting or publishing scholarly work.

  • Goal #4: To prepare practitioners of psychology who are capable of operating in the expanding roles of psychology, including the areas of consultation and supervision.
  • Objectives for Goal #4:

    4.1 Students will demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will enable them to succeed in the expanding roles of psychology. Specifically, they will understand basic consultation and supervision.

Clinical Training Overview

Students begin formal practicum training in their second year in the program, allowing them to integrate their classroom learning with real world clinical experience. In their first year, students are encouraged to engage as volunteers in order to gain exposure to clinical service delivery in clinical settings. This first year work usually occurs either through our on-site Intensive Clinic or through volunteer positions in community agencies. Practicum training proceeds through the second, third, and fourth years in the PsyD program, allowing for a solid foundation of clinical experience that lead to internship.

Practicum training sites affiliated with the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University San Francisco Bay Area are located throughout the Bay Area and provide our students hand-on learning opportunities in a wide array of settings with our diverse and multicultural community. Sites are chosen based on their ability to provide students the appropriate breadth and depth in training per American Psychological Association criteria, as well as on the quality of supervision that serves to foster and further integrate necessary learning.

Practicum sites at ASPP-SF are generally all located in the greater Bay Area and are members of the Bay Area Practicum Information Collaborative (BAPIC; www.BAPIC.info), of which we are a founding member. BAPIC is a partnership between Bay Area doctoral psychology programs and practicum agencies. BAPIC was organized in 2008 with the primary goal of centralizing practicum training information and streamlining the practicum application process for doctoral students and agencies. This partnership simplifies the application process for students and provides ease of access to the best practicum training opportunities the Bay Area has to offer.

Students at ASPP-SF train in settings that include community mental health centers, VAs, hospitals, colleges, school districts and other non-profit agencies, all supervised by licensed psychologists. In addition, students have the opportunity to train in our on-campus Argosy Assessment Clinic providing assessment services to the surrounding community under the supervision of program faculty, or to complete supplemental clinical training through our Intensive Clinical Training program that features the use of our program’s one-way mirror.

For internship training beginning in the fifth year, students are expected to seek internships that are APA accredited. Students also have the option of applying to our own San Francisco Bay Area Internship Consortium– a great benefit to students who must remain in the area– or applying broadly in California and nationally. As a member of the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC; www.capic.net), our students also gain access, when approved, to a network of internship training sites throughout California in addition to those found through the national APPIC match. Students also have the option of completing internship part-time over two years, requiring a sixth year in the program. Regardless of which type of internships our students pursue (APA, APPIC or CAPIC), our faculty are prepared to support students through every step of the internship application and selection process.

Research Training at ASPP-SF

In the summer of the second year, PsyD students begin work on their Clinical Research Project (CRP), with the goal of completing the CRP proposal by the fall of the third year. Students continue working on their CRP in their third and fourth year, or until it is complete. Students are strongly encouraged to complete their CRP prior to internship in the fifth year, which allows more time to focus on internship and on advancing to postdoctoral training.

The CRP is designed to develop and refine the skills necessary to integrate one’s clinical knowledge with the research literature in order to produce an original, scholarly research contribution in an area of clinical psychology. In conducting the project, students are expected to significantly deepen their knowledge about a particular area (or areas) of clinical psychology, enhance and sharpen their critical thinking and writing skills, and develop and apply skills in research methodology.

The CRP requires students to analyze and synthesize the psychological literature and to develop original research questions that they can then investigate in order to draw conclusions based on the results of their study. CRPs may involve original empirical research using quantitative, qualitative or mixed-methodologies, integrated literature reviews, or a comprehensive literature review with an original contribution, such as a proposal for program development, evaluation or a novel treatment approach.

The Clinical Research Project can serve as a launching point for students and alumni to pursue further scholarship such as publications and presentations, often in collaboration with program faculty.