Core Courses & Tracks

In the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology curriculum, a psychodynamic perspective is represented in almost all courses to varying degrees. The series of required core courses encompass biological, cognitive, social and cultural foundations; basic and more advanced clinical courses in psychopathology, group dynamics, assessment, psychotherapy, supervision and consultation; and research methods, history and systems, statistics and ethics courses.

In addition to core courses, PsyD students specialize in one of three tracks: Child and Adolescent, Adult or Assessment. 

 


Suggested Plan of Study

All core and track courses together should total 83 credits.

First Year

  • Psychological Assessment (PsyD 8201) (3 credits)  
  • Lab in Clinical Psych Assessment (PsyD 8201) (0 credit)
  • Biological Bases of Clinical Psychology (PsyD 8204) (3 credits)
  • Psychodynamic Psychopathology (PsyD 8205) (3 credits)
  • Psychological Assessment II (PsyD 8202) (3 credits)
  • Lab in Clinical Psych Assessment (PsyD 8202) (0 credit)
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy I (PsyD 8220) (3 credits)
  • Discussion – Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (PsyD 8220) (0 credit)
  • Advanced Statistics (PsyD 8209) (3 credits)
  • Empirical Research (PsyD 8270) (3 credits)
  • Group and Organizational Dynamics (PsyD 8207) (3 credits)
  • Psychological Assessment III (PsyD 8270) (3 credits)
  • Practicum in Clinical Skills (PsyD 8203) (1 credit)
  • Discussion- Practicum in Clinical Skills (PsyD 8203) (0 credit)

Second Year

  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy II (PsyD 8221) (3 credits)
  • Discussion – Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (0 credits)
  • Theories of the Mind I  (PsyD 8226) (3 credits)
  • Track course (Child track takes PsyD 8264) (3 credits)
  • Practicum In Clinical Psychology (PsyD 8203) (1 credit)
  • Practicum in Assessment (PsyD 8203) (1 credit)
  • Theories of the Mind II (PsyD 8226) (3 credits)
  • CBT (PsyD 8222) (3 credits)
  • Track or Group Therapy course (Child track takes PsyD 8262) (3 credits)
  • Practicum In Clinical Psychology (PsyD 8203) (1 credit)
  • Practicum in Assessment (PsyD 8203) (1 credit)
  • Cognitive and Affective Bases of Clinical Psychology (PsyD 8206) (3 credits)
  • Track or Short Term Therapy course (3 credits)

Third Year

During this year, students either continue work as externs in the Center Clinic or complete an extramural externship at another site.

  • Life Span Human Development (PsyD 8260) (3 credits)
  • Supervision (PsyD 8270) (3 credits)
  • Track course (3 credits)
  • Major Area Paper (PsyD 8270) (1 credit)  
  • Practicum In Clinical Psychology (PsyD 8203) (1 credit) 
  • History and Systems of Clinical Psychology (PsyD 8227) (3 credits)
  • Consultation (PsyD 8246) (3 credits)
  • Track, Group Therapy or Family Therapy Course (3 credits)
  • Supervision practicum or Research practicum (PsyD 8203) (1 credit)  
  • Practicum In Clinical Psychology (PsyD 8203) (1 credit)
  • Major Area Paper (PsyD 8270) (1 credit)

4 credits (if completed 12 in spring) or 7 credits (if completed 9 in spring) 

  • Ethics & Professional Issues (PsyD 8210) (3 credits)
  • Supervision practicum or Research practicum (PsyD 8203) (1 credit) 

Fourth Year

  • Complete full-time internship at a faculty-approved site.

 


Core Courses

The lecture course includes two modules. Because all psychological assessment and testing have as their basis an encounter between a clinician and a client/patient, structured as an informal, semi-formal, or formal clinical interview, we will begin by learning how clinical interviews are conceptualized and understood, especially within the psychodynamic tradition.

The second and largest portion of the course will develop your clinical ability to administer and interpret cognitive tests. We will focus primarily on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV (WAIS-IV), as a model of a cognitive test, spending the final few weeks of the semester thinking about the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV (WISC-IV) and the Bender Gestalt II. It is possible to learn about each (WAIS-IV and WISC-IV) somewhat simultaneously, as both employ many of the same concepts. Obviously, due time and diligence will be given to exploring the differences in the ways children and adults learn and how each test is conceptualized.

This course introduces students to the historical, empirical, theoretical, clinical, and professional aspects of various personality and emotional functioning assessment instruments, with particular focus upon the Rorschach Inkblot Method (RIM). The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), and House-Tree-Person (HTP) projective drawings will also be discussed.

The structure and function of the nervous system and its application to understanding psychopathology. Development of the nervous system in interaction with learning and experience as a central basis of human growth and disability.

Students will know the biological underpinnings of normal cognitive and affective functioning and their alteration in various forms of psychopathology. They will be able to summarize alternative methodological approaches to the study of the biological bases of behavior, and illustrate these approaches with examples from the recent empirical literature. They will be able to analyze in detail a specific form of psychopathology through review of contemporary scientific literature, noting areas of consensus and contention. Finally, students will learn to evaluate the relevant scientific literature to propose appropriate next steps to advance our understanding of the disorder of interest.

To learn the foundations of psychodynamic psychopathology, terminology and concepts of the clinical field of abnormal psychology, the behavior patterns and syndromes that define the various groups and subgroups of mental disorders, the distinctive features, behaviors, and symptoms that differentiate character styles and levels of functioning, the major issues and controversies that dominate research and practice in the field of abnormal psychology, and to develop a critical perspective, based on scientific principles, in regard to the developmental and neuropsychological factors that lead to psychopathology. Overall students will be able to understand the purpose behind psychiatric diagnosis, the innovations and limitations to the DSM-IV-TR, the advantages of integrating the recently published Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM), and how to understand psychopathology from diverse psychodynamic theoretical positions. Students will be able to have a clearer understanding of psychopathology and be able to apply their knowledge to the clinical assessment of diverse patients.

This course emphasizes both historical antecedents and recent developments in cognitive and affective bases of behavior. Areas of emphasis will include: seminal cognitive theorists, dialectic theory, perception, representation, memory, language development, self-knowledge and creativity. Of primary importance to us is the relevance of these topics to psychotherapy and change, as well as the possible impact of social issues on these topics.

This course explores the contributions of Social Psychology to the understanding of human behavior, and the implications of social psychological concepts for clinical practice Topics covered include social perception, social influence, stereotyping and prejudice, conformity, pro-social behavior, aggression, and attitude formation and change. Also included in this course will be an exploration of the psychodynamic principles that underlie group dynamics.

This course will help students develop a grounded understanding of the origins, underpinnings, evolution, dynamics, principles, and standards of the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics. Students will compare and contrast psychology ethics with the ethics of a different discipline, as applied to issues faced in professional psychological practice. Students will demonstrate emerging competence in using the peer consultation model to evaluate and resolve problems in ethics in clinical psychology as well as integrate and understanding of psychology as an organized and legally regulated profession.

This course is a survey of statistical methods used in the behavioral and health sciences, with emphasis on clinical psychology. It includes consideration of related issues in research design, summarizing research, and epidemiology.

Clinical theories, research, techniques, therapeutic action, and ethics. The aim for the two-course sequence is to develop a solid understanding of several major contemporary theoretical “schools” regarding psychodynamic mental functioning. This first course focuses on ego supportive psychotherapy; psychodynamic formulations; object relational and self-psychological perspectives.

Clinical theories, research, techniques, therapeutic action, and ethics. The aim for the two-course sequence is to develop a solid understanding of several major contemporary theoretical “schools” regarding psychodynamic mental functioning. This second course focuses on Object Relations and Relational theories.

The overarching goal of this course is to help students become good consumers of scientific literature on psychotherapy by providing them with an introduction to prominent behavioral and cognitive approaches to psychotherapy and behavior change. Other goals of this course are to enable students to conceptualize clinical problems and treatments from multiple perspectives, to help students become scientifically accountable in their own clinical practice, and to communicate effectively when collaborating with behaviorally or cognitively oriented colleagues.

Our goal in the two theories courses is to develop a solid understanding of several major contemporary theoretical "schools" regarding the psychodynamic mental functioning. In Theories I, we cover Freud's theories, Ego Psychology, and Self Psychology. We hope to explore central areas of debate and to read some primary sources as well as more recent authors, contrast the strengths and weaknesses of the theoretical perspectives, and apply theory to published cases and to your own cases, in order to understand patients and the clinical process in a subtler manner. You will learn to convey this understanding both orally and in writing as well as build formulation skills through the two semesters. We will cover the components of psychodynamic formulation and how to convey an integrated understanding of the dynamics of the patient and of the therapeutic dyad. These skills will enable you to use theory to inform your therapeutic interventions, and to manage relevant sections of the Comprehensive Exam and internship interviews.

Our goal in the two theories courses is to develop a solid understanding of several major contemporary theoretical "schools" regarding the psychodynamic mental functioning. In Theories II, we cover Kleinian and Object Relations Theories, and the Intersubjective perspective. We hope to explore central areas of debate and to read some primary sources as well as more recent authors, contrast the strengths and weaknesses of the theoretical perspectives, and apply theory to published cases and to your own cases, in order to understand patients and the clinical process in a subtler manner. You will learn to convey this understanding both orally and in writing as well as build formulation skills through the two semesters. We will cover the components of psychodynamic formulation and how to convey an integrated understanding of the dynamics of the patient and of the therapeutic dyad. These skills will enable you to use theory to inform your therapeutic interventions, and to manage relevant sections of the Comprehensive Exam and internship interviews.

Study of the history of psychology and the diverse, sometimes divergent systems of thought that undergird our field is important for all psychologists. Without critically examining the historical, intellectual, and philosophical contexts out of which we have developed, we cannot be informed citizens of our profession or equipped to help determine its future. This is why history and systems knowledge is prominently included on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, which all must pass to become recognized as licensed psychological professionals. Our domain of study includes interweaving streams: the pre-history, in ancient and modern philosophy, out of which psychology as a science and a profession has arisen; prominent individuals and schools of thought that have shaped, and continue to shape, the larger field of which clinical psychology is a part; the basic ways of thinking, sometimes explicit but often powerfully implicit, that contextualize all psychological thought.

This course explores physical, psychological, cognitive, social and moral development from birth to death. Theoretical, empirical and clinical aspects are considered and integrated to provide a detailed understanding of human development across the lifespan.

This course is aimed at learning about theories of contemporary supervision and developing basic skills of clinical supervision. The readings address issues of transference, supervisory alliance, parallel process, methods of supervision; etc. Special attention is given to factors impacting clinical supervision, such as ethical dilemmas, culture and gender. In addition to class discussions, students are expected to participate in a variety of supervisory tasks and exercises, such as peer supervision, Balint groups, supervisor’s support discussion groups, and etc.

Students will be able to describe the empirical bases of the practice of clinical psychology, understand reliability and validity and their application to research and treatment. They will learn the threats to reliability and validity as well as know the fundamentals of research design and how to conduct clinical studies. Using primary clinical research literature, students will learn how to enhance their clinical skills with an empirical base.

This course is an advanced level seminar designed to teach students to conduct short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, as well as introduce them to some non-dynamic short-term therapies. Through the readings and discussion of cases, students will be introduced to different ideas on how to select appropriate patients and formulate the focus of planned short-term therapy. Based on their experience of psychodynamic conceptualization, students will practice their intervention and formulation skills by presenting their own clinical cases in class. Students will also write a short paper that showcases their understanding of the key principles that can determine the length and depth of different approaches of individual psychotherapy.

The objectives are to learn the theories and basic concepts of group psychotherapy. Students will specifically, learn the basic concepts of group dynamics and the process related to group treatments, understand the diverse theoretical approaches to group treatment, understand the impact of the group leader and how different techniques foster group cohesiveness, and learn the ethical issues that are paramount to group therapists.

(consultation)

 


Courses by Track

Child & Adolescent Track

This course will examine the etiology and symptoms of disorders of childhood and adolescence, as well as current therapeutic approaches. We will cover general, non-specific treatment concerns as well as specific treatment techniques for the intervention of a range of clinical disorders (e.g. autism, attention deficit disorder, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders). Major topics covered will include: contrasting models of psychopathology; classification and epidemiology of childhood and adolescent psychopathology; outcome of childhood disorders; therapeutic approaches and their efficacy. The role of development in the understanding and treatment of childhood disorders is considered throughout and will be explored in detail.

This course will cover basic distinctions between child and adult clinical work; the history and development of psychoanalytic thinking about clinical work with children; core topics in psychopathology in infancy, toddlerhood, and early childhood; and psychotherapeutic methods with infants and young children. The focus will be on psychoanalytically informed/psychodynamic approaches; behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, and family-systems approaches will also be surveyed.

This course serves as an introduction to the field of Family Psychotherapy. Students will learn about the history, general concepts and basic clinical techniques of Family therapy. Special attention will be devoted to studying System theory and its applications to family and group dynamics. Students will also learn about other approaches to family psychotherapy, such as object relations, intergenerational approach, behavioral approach, etc. Special assignments, such as creating a genogram of the family of origin, cultural analysis of the family, role-plays, etc., will help the students learn how to apply the concepts of Family Psychotherapy to clinical work with their patients. A special section of the course will be devoted to working with couples. Educational videos and role-play will be widely used throughout the class to help the participants develop practical clinical skills.  

Students will gain an understanding of attachment theory and current empirical research, be able to apply attachment theory to psychotherapy process and outcome, gain knowledge of how attachment theory applies to diverse patients (including patients with different sexual orientations and cultural backgrounds), and be able to begin to integrate psychotherapy techniques into clinical work (individual, family, couples and group) based on attachment theory.

Recognize symptoms of trauma even when they are not part of the presenting complaints. Evaluate the nature and severity of symptoms in order to formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Identify defenses that contribute to functional disorganization following a traumatic experience and help the patient work through these maladaptive defenses. Understand the utility and application of various psychodynamic theories to treat trauma. Demonstrate knowledge of simple and complex PTSD. Apply knowledge of transference and countertransference dynamics with trauma survivors in clinical situations. Develop an understanding of vicarious trauma and countertransference enactments. Demonstrate an ability to work with traumatized individuals across cultures.

PSYD 8270 Advanced Adolescent/Adult Psychotherapy

The intent of this course is to build upon the foundation of basic concepts and competencies developed throughout our integrated curriculum, in which culturally related and diversity topics are widely addressed, and develop advanced-level skills. Thus, this course will be of particular relevance to students with focal interests in work in minority communities and in cross-cultural clinical work, and with aspirations to participate in leading this edge in the development of our profession. This course, in seminar format, will cover three domains: Foundational topics in the scientific base of cross-cultural psychology relevant to the conceptualization and practice of cross-cultural clinical psychology, issues in cross-cultural psychological assessment, and how psychological science, psychoanalytic theory, and clinical discoveries bear upon the practice of cross-cultural psychotherapy and other forms of psychological intervention, especially, but not only, in the psychodynamic and psychoanalytic traditions and frameworks.

Studies of similarities and differences in male and female gender development and sexual object choice. Recent theoretical and clinical contributions. Readings in Freud, Fast, Mayer, Stoller, Tyson and Tyson, Kleeman, Chassaguet-Smirgel, Kaplan, and Friedman.

Adult Track

This course is designed as an advanced level seminar aimed at teaching the participants to conduct short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy. Through the readings and discussion of cases the participants will be introduced to different ideas on how to select appropriate patients and formulate the focus of planned short-term therapy. Based on their experience of psychodynamic conceptualization the participants will be able to practice in class their intervention and formulation skills though presenting their own clinical cases. The students will, also, be introduced to some non-dynamic short-term therapies. They also will be expected to write a short paper aimed at their ability to understand the key principals that can determine the length and depth of different approaches of individual psychotherapy.

The objectives are to learn the theories and basic concepts of group psychotherapy. Students will specifically, learn the basic concepts of group dynamics and the process related to group treatments, understand the diverse theoretical approaches to group treatment, understand the impact of the group leader and how different techniques foster group cohesiveness, and learn the ethical issues that are paramount to group therapists.

This course serves as an introduction to the field of Family Psychotherapy. Students will learn about the history, general concepts and basic clinical techniques of Family therapy. Special attention will be devoted to studying System theory and its applications to family and group dynamics. Students will also learn about other approaches to family psychotherapy, such as object relations, intergenerational approach, behavioral approach, etc. Special assignments, such as creating a genogram of the family of origin, cultural analysis of the family, role-plays, etc., will help the students learn how to apply the concepts of Family Psychotherapy to clinical work with their patients. A special section of the course will be devoted to working with couples. Educational videos and role-play will be widely used throughout the class to help the participants develop practical clinical skills.

Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder as diagnostic entities are over 100 years old, yet controversy remains regarding their definition, course, and treatment. This seminar will explore the history of the diagnosis and subsequently focus on advances in the characterization of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as valid and specific forms of psychopathology and on the boundaries of the syndromes. As with any scholarly seminar, each student’s active and engaged participation is expected.

Students will gain an understanding of attachment theory and current empirical research, be able to apply attachment theory to psychotherapy process and outcome, gain knowledge of how attachment theory applies to diverse patients (including patients with different sexual orientations and cultural backgrounds), and be able to begin to integrate psychotherapy techniques into clinical work (individual, family, couples and group) based on attachment theory.

Recognize symptoms of trauma even when they are not part of the presenting complaints. Evaluate the nature and severity of symptoms in order to formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Identify defenses that contribute to functional disorganization following a traumatic experience and help the patient work through these maladaptive defenses. Understand the utility and application of various psychodynamic theories to treat trauma. Demonstrate knowledge of simple and complex PTSD. Apply knowledge of transference and countertransference dynamics with trauma survivors in clinical situations. Develop an understanding of vicarious trauma and countertransference enactments. Demonstrate an ability to work with traumatized individuals across cultures.

The intent of this course is to build upon the foundation of basic concepts and competencies developed throughout our integrated curriculum, in which culturally related and diversity topics are widely addressed, and develop advanced-level skills. Thus, this course will be of particular relevance to students with focal interests in work in minority communities and in cross-cultural clinical work, and with aspirations to participate in leading this edge in the development of our profession. This course, in seminar format, will cover three domains: Foundational topics in the scientific base of cross-cultural psychology relevant to the conceptualization and practice of cross-cultural clinical psychology, issues in cross-cultural psychological assessment, and how psychological science, psychoanalytic theory, and clinical discoveries bear upon the practice of cross-cultural psychotherapy and other forms of psychological intervention, especially, but not only, in the psychodynamic and psychoanalytic traditions and frameworks.

Studies of similarities and differences in male and female gender development and sexual object choice. Recent theoretical and clinical contributions. Readings in Freud, Fast, Mayer, Stoller, Tyson and Tyson, Kleeman, Chassaguet-Smirgel, Kaplan, and Friedman.

Assessment Track

Overview of the intersection of American legal and mental health systems; legal and psychological concepts of competence, insanity and dangerousness to self and others; the role of the expert witness and ethics of the mental health professional in legal settings. Restricted to doctoral students in the psychology or professional psychology programs.

Theory and practice of neuropsychological assessment. History and development of the field. Major batteries, individualized approaches, and specialized tests.

PSYD 8270 Advanced Assessment

The intent of this course is to build upon the foundation of basic concepts and competencies developed throughout our integrated curriculum, in which culturally related and diversity topics are widely addressed, and develop advanced-level skills. Thus, this course will be of particular relevance to students with focal interests in work in minority communities and in cross-cultural clinical work, and with aspirations to participate in leading this edge in the development of our profession. This course, in seminar format, will cover three domains: Foundational topics in the scientific base of cross-cultural psychology relevant to the conceptualization and practice of cross-cultural clinical psychology, issues in cross-cultural psychological assessment, and how psychological science, psychoanalytic theory, and clinical discoveries bear upon the practice of cross-cultural psychotherapy and other forms of psychological intervention, especially, but not only, in the psychodynamic and psychoanalytic traditions and frameworks.