Orange County Clinical Psychology MA Degree Program

Our Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Psychology degree program located in the greater Los Angeles/Orange County area serves as a preliminary step for students who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Our program is built to teach students the foundations of clinical psychology, with a focus on psychological assessments, intervention skills and the science underlying all of psychology and clinical practice. We are also dedicated to ensuring that students understand how clinical practice occurs within a broader context of cultural diversity and professional standards.

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Program Goals and Objectives

The Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Psychology degree program at the American School of Professional Psychology–at Argosy University| Southern California has the following goals and objectives.

Goal 1

Preparing students to become knowledgeable in the foundations of clinical psychology.

Objective 1.1 Knowledge of Scientific Psychology–Students will develop foundational understanding of the key concepts underlying the science of psychology as a foundation for clinical practice.

  • Competency 1.1.a Scientific Inquiry and Methods: Recognition of scientific inquiry as a means for understanding human behavior. Knowledge and application of research and statistical methods in psychology to generate knowledge and to evaluate effectiveness. Critically evaluating empirical literature in psychology and related disciplines as applied to one's clinical practice.

Objective 1.2: Assessment–Students will develop foundational competencies in psychological assessments through application of psychometric theory, interviewing and diagnostic skills, and proficiency in using psychological tests.

  • Competency 1.2.a Methods of Psychological Assessment: Conducting clinical interviews and/or observations of identified clients, families, and collateral informants. Selecting, administering, scoring, interpreting and reporting psychological tests and measures Integrating interview data, psychological testing results, behavioral observations, and information from other sources to formulate an understanding of presenting concerns and to make recommendations.
  • Competency 1.2.b Diagnosis: Identifying relevant DSM criteria and utilizing other clinical information to generate diagnostic formulations. Knowledge of key concepts, theories and empirical research in the study of maladaptive behavior. Applying knowledge of psychopathology to case formulation and treatment planning.

Objective 1.3: Intervention–Students will develop foundational clinical intervention skills that are grounded in conceptual models of intervention and evidence-based practices.

  • Competency 1.3.a Knowledge of Interventions: Understanding foundational conceptual/theoretical models of intervention and principles of change associated therewith. Ability to prepare case formulations utilizing specific theories and/or models of clinical intervention. Knowledge of the empirical support for clinical practices.
  • Competency 1.3.b Basic Intervention and Relationship Skills: Demonstrating basic therapeutic skills – e.g., empathic listening, reflection, framing problems, questioning, redirecting, making process comments, supportive confrontation, etc. Ability to establish and maintain an effective working relationship and/or treatment alliance with clients.
  • Competency 1.3.c Planning and Implementing Interventions: Utilizing interventions that are grounded in assessment findings and appropriate to the individual client and/or population. Implementing specific theoretically-guided and evidence-based clinical interventions, strategies, and/or techniques with clients. Knowledge of the process and means of assessing intervention progress and outcomes. Basic skills in evaluating the effectiveness of one's interventions with clients.

Goal 2

Assuring that students understand how competent clinical practice occurs in a broader context of cultural diversity and professional standards.

Objective 2.1: Diversity –Students will demonstrate awareness and understanding of human diversity in clinical practice and other areas of professional competence.

  • Competency 2.1.a Awareness of Cultural Identities: Developing awareness of one's own personal values, biases, and cultural identities that inform perceptions of self, other, and engagement with others.
  • Competency 2.1.b Culturally-Informed Practice: Awareness of social, political, economic and cultural factors that impact individuals, institutions, systems, and communities. Understanding a conceptual framework of individual and cultural differences that guides one's work with diverse persons and groups. Utilizing cross-cultural skills and appropriate APA mulicultural guidelines on to provide services to persons with diverse cultural values and lifestyles.

Objective 2.2: Professional and Ethical Standards– Students will understand and apply ethical principles and professional standards that guide the practice of clinical psychology.

  • Competency 2.2.a Knowledge of Ethical, Legal, and Professional Standards: Understanding and applying the current APA Code of Ethics and the general ethical principles that serve as the foundation for this code. Integrating ethical, legal, and regulatory principles and standards into all areas of professional competence and practice. Adherence to standards of ethical conduct. Articulating and applying a model of ethical decision-making to resolve ethical issues or dilemmas.
  • Competency 2.2.a Professional Development: Students will be exposed to the existing and evolving body of foundational knowledge and methods in the practice and science of psychology to enhance their practice as demonstrated by attending educational and professional meetings, life long learning events, subscribing to professional journals, or presenting scholarly work.