Clinical Psychology, Psy.D.
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Immaculata’s Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), is grounded in the practitioner-scholar model of professional psychology. The Psy.D. program is committed to the education and training objectives for doctoral programs set forth by the APA and has been influenced by the values of the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology (NCSPP).

As a Psy.D. student, you will be instructed intensively in psychotherapy, psychodiagnostics, and in other areas pertinent to the practice of clinical psychology. The Psy.D. program, approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Higher Education in 1991, fosters the development of your research skills through coursework, independent projects under faculty direction, and dissertation. After you graduate from the program, you will be prepared to practice at the doctoral level, make scholarly contributions to the professional community, and take leadership positions in the mental health field.

All course scheduling is done with advisement. As an evening program, the Psy.D. curriculum was developed to address the educational needs and objectives of students who are working, and whose lifestyles do not permit attendance at daytime classes.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Psychology is embedded within the PsyD curriculum. This degree is open to doctoral students admitted into the PsyD program who enter with a bachelor’s degree or with a master’s degree in an unrelated field (see additional information on the MA Clinical Psychology page).

The Immaculata University Psychology Internship Consortium is an APA accredited internship, organized and monitored by the Immaculata’s Psychology and Counseling Department. The Consortium provides doctoral internships for Immaculata’s Psy.D. clinical doctoral candidates. A limited number of placements are offered for intern applicants from other APA-accredited doctoral programs through APPIC’s Match II and Post Match Vacancy Service (see additional information about the Consortium on the IU Psychology Internship Consortium page).

Please see the Psy.D. Handbook, the Practicum Handbook, the Internship Handbook, and the Dissertation Handbook, which outline additional aspects of the doctoral program, including goals, competencies, comprehensive examination, practicums, and internships.

Learn more about Psy.D. admissions deadlines and requirements

Accreditation

Immaculata University’s Psy.D. program in Clinical Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Questions related to the program’s accreditation status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
(202) 336-5979
apaaccred@apa.org
www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Psy.D. Program Philosophy

The Psy.D. program educates and trains students to be competent practitioners of clinical psychology by providing a strong foundation in core areas relevant to practice, including theory, psychopathology-diagnosis, intervention, assessment, multiculturalism and human diversity, professional ethics, scientific foundations, and research.

The program provides a unique interpersonal experience that stems from the dedication to service that defines the spiritual mission of the University. Earning your Psy.D. from Immaculata will give you not only a solid foundation of clinical skills that are applicable to a wide range of settings, but also an ethical and spiritual base communicated through the nurturing qualities of administrators and program faculty. Dedicated full-time and adjunct faculty provide an education steeped richly and broadly in the traditions of theory, assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. With teaching styles that are empathic, human, supportive, and restorative, faculty are committed fully to the training and socialization of professional psychologists into careers of service, scholarship, and leadership.

This unique blend of academic rigor with respect for students as whole people characterizes the entirety of the learning environment and facilitates students’ emergent sense of competency as professional psychologists.

With attentiveness to the educational needs of their students, faculty members are outstanding professional role models, committed to each other as people and professionals, who work as a unified team to bring their training, skill and character into the heart and soul of the classroom. This is the quality of the interpersonal atmosphere that surrounds Immaculata’s Psy.D. students and demonstrates the depth and maturity of the program’s character.

Program Aims and Competencies

Immaculata’s Psy.D. program has aims related to the acquisition and attainment of competencies in the following areas.

Aim 1: PsyD graduates will be competent practitioners of clinical psychology and will acquire the following profession-wide competencies.

Research:

  1. Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activity (e.g., critical literature review, dissertation, efficacy studies, clinical case studies, theoretical papers, program evaluation projects, program development projects) that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base.
  2. Conduct research or other scholarly activities.
  3. Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level.

Ethical and Legal Standards:

  1. Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with the current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; relevant laws, regulations, rules and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional, and federal levels; and relevant professional standards and guidelines.
  2. Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise, and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve dilemmas.
  3. Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities.

Individual and Cultural Diversity

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how their own personal/cultural history and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.
  2. Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service.
  3. Ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, service, and other professional activities). This includes the ability to apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of career. Working effectively with individuals and groups whose memberships, demographic characteristics or worldviews create conflict with own views.
  4. Demonstrate the requisite knowledge base, ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups and apply this approach effectively in professional work.

Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors:

  1. Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others.
  2. Engage in self-reflection regarding personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness.
  3. Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.
  4. Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

  1. Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services.
  2. Produce and comprehend oral, non-verbal and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts.
  3. Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.

Assessment:

  1. Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient.
  2. Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective.
  3. Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences.

Intervention:

  1. Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.
  2. Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service of delivery goals.
  3. Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making.
  5. Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking.
  6. Evaluate intervention effectiveness and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.

Supervision

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.

Consultation and Interdisciplinary Skills:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and respect for roles and perspectives of other professions.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of consultation models and practices.

Aim 2: PsyD graduates will acquire discipline specific knowledge to inform their clinical competencies.

Knowledge of Scientific Foundations:

  1. Identify History and Systems of Psychology
  2. Identify and apply concepts of Affective Aspects of Behavior
  3. Identify and apply concepts of Biological Aspects of Behavior
  4. Identify and apply concepts of Cognitive Aspects of Behavior
  5. Identify and apply concepts of Developmental Aspects of Behavior
  6. Identify and apply concepts of Social Aspects of Behavior
  7. Identify and apply concepts of Advanced Integrative Knowledge of Basic Discipline-Specific Content Areas (excluding History and Systems)
  8. Identify and apply concepts of Research Methods
  9. Identify and apply concepts of Quantitative Methods
  10. Identify and apply concepts of Psychometrics

Curriculum

Prerequisites

Required for students admitted with a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree in a field unrelated to psychology, or at the department’s recommendation.

  • PSYC 698 Professional Development Series
  • COUN 668 Counseling Theories and Techniques I*
  • COUN 669 Counseling Theories and Techniques II*

Required Concentration

  • PSYC 709 Group Dynamics
  • PSYC 608 Psychopathology
  • PSYC 703 Tests & Measurements
  • PSYC 728 Cognitive Clinical Assessment
  • PSYC 695 Clinical Skills Seminar*
  • PSYC 700 Biological Bases of Behavior
  • PSYC 701 Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior
  • PSYC 702 Professional Issues and Ethics
  • PSYC 704 Pre-Practicum Seminar
  • PSYC 705 Human Development
  • PSYC 706 Research & Statistics I
  • PSYC 707 Research & Statistics II
  • PSYC 708 Advanced Psychopathology
  • PSYC 710 Cognitive and Behavioral Theories and Therapies
  • PSYC 711 Psychoanalytic Theories and Therapies
  • PSYC 712 Client-Centered and Relationship Theories and Therapies
  • PSYC 713 History and Systems in Psychology
  • PSYC 714 Practicum and Seminar I
  • PSYC 715 Practicum and Seminar II
  • PSYC 716 Practicum and Seminar III
  • PSYC 717 Practicum and Seminar IV
  • PSYC 721 Psychology of Human Diversity
  • PSYC 724 Practicum and Seminar V
  • PSYC 725 Practicum and Seminar VI
  • PSYC 726 Practicum and Seminar VII
  • PSYC 727 Practicum and Seminar VIII
  • PSYC 729 Assessment II: Personality
  • PSYC 730 Assessment IV: Advanced Skills
  • PSYC 731 Assessment V: Neuropsychological
  • PSYC 740 Clinical Psychopharmacology
  • PSYC 741 Clinical Supervision, Consultation, and Management
  • PSYC 745 Social Psychology
  • PSYC 766 Advanced Neuropsychology**
  • PSYC 768 Forensic Psychology**
  • PSYC 786 Internship in Clinical Psychology I
  • PSYC 787 Internship in Clinical Psychology II
  • PSYC 788 Internship in Clinical Psychology III
  • PSYC 790 Dissertation Seminar
  • PSYC 791 Internship in Clinical Psychology IV
  • PSYC 792 Internship in Clinical Psychology V
  • PSYC 793 Internship in Clinical Psychology VI
  • PSYC 797 Comprehensive Examination
  • PSYC 798 Doctoral Dissertation I
  • PSYC 799 Doctoral Dissertation II
  • PSYC 800 Doctoral Dissertation III
  • PSYC 000 Dissertation Continuation
*Required for students admitted with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in an unrelated field
**Students admitted with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in an unrelated field must take either PSYC 766 or 768. Permission of the Chair is required to take both classes. Students admitted with a master’s degree in a related field must take either PSYC 766 or PSYC 768. They may take the other course as an elective, or may choose the elective from either COUN 606- Family Counseling, or PSYC 607-Treatment of Children and Adolescents.

PSYC 786, 787, 788, 791, 792, 793: Students work with the coordinator of the predoctoral internship and practicum to prepare their application and identify internship sites.  The full-time internship involves a national application pool for placement slots and is highly competitive.

GPA Minimums

The minimum level of achievement for Psy.D. students in any course for which there is a letter grade is a B, which equates to a 3.0. Psy.D. students must carry a 3.3 minimum cumulative GPA; if the cumulative GPA drops below 3.3, students will be placed on academic probation. Thus, while the minimum course expectation is B, the overall cumulative GPA for the program must be maintained at a 3.3 or higher. Permission to move forward on dissertation or internship requires a 3.3 GPA or higher.

If students earn less than a B grade, they must retake the course. Program dismissal may occur, following departmental review, if a student also earns less than a B grade on the retake. Program dismissal will occur if the student earns less than a B grade twice in two separate courses (e.g., C+ in PSYC 702 twice, and C+ in PSYC 710 twice).

Full-Time and Residency Requirements

Psy.D. students are required to meet the University’s full-time requirement, which has been defined as two consecutive semesters of at least three classes each semester at the start of the program, and the American Psychological Association’s three-year full-time residency requirement. Internship year does not count toward residency.

To meet these requirements, Psy.D. students must take at least three classes for at least two consecutive semesters at the start of the program. Students may meet the remaining two years of required full-time study by completing either:

  • Two consecutive semesters of at least three classes each semester, or
  • Three consecutive semesters of at least two classes each semester

Clinical Faculty Staff

  • S. Elizabeth Monica Acri, Psy.D.
  • Dr. Maria Cuddy Casey
  • Dr. Francien Dorliae
  • Dr. Janet Etzi
  • Dr. Ashley Higgins
  • Dr. Edward Jenny
  • Dr. Marie McGrath
  • Dr. Catrina Vitagliano
  • Dr. Jed Yalof
  • Natalie Heaps, M.A.
  • Linda Hampson

Certificates of Emphasis

Certificates of Emphasis may be earned in one of the following areas through course work, practicum, and research that has a concentrated focus:

  • Psychological Testing
  • Integrative Psychotherapy
  • Human and Cultural Diversity
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Neuropsychology
  • Forensic Psychology

Please note: the Graduate Catalog currently lists these certificates as “Certificates of Advanced Proficiency,” but the name has changed to “Certificates of Emphasis.”

APAGS membership

The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) provides a voice for graduate students’ concerns with the APA. It is the largest group of graduate psychology students worldwide and provides information to students about relevant education and training issues, legislative positions and developments, and future directions or changes in the field.

Student Diversity Forum

The Graduate Psychology and Counseling Department Student Diversity Forum is an organization that meets at least quarterly to foster an appreciation, knowledge, and understanding of other cultures. Students can choose to work with faculty to generate publications relating to human diversity, to engage in community outreach in culturally diverse neighborhoods, and to socialize with others interested in diversity. The Forum provides an environment of unity, advancement and success for students by offering peer networking and mentorship as well as academic and spiritual leadership.

FAQs

Are there assistantships?
Yes, there are a designated number of assistantships annually for which clinical students compete. The assistantships provide a stipend as well as generous tuition remission. Students work in a variety of capacities within the University.

Do students live on campus?
No, but the University has an off-campus housing arrangement with an apartment complex nearby.

Can you work and still take classes?
Yes, the program offers evening classes that start at 4:30 so that many of our students can work during the day.

Can you do your practicum where you work?
The department has specific guidelines for practica; they are done during the day, include a didactic seminar on campus, and cannot be done at your place of employment.

How big are the classes?
Some classes are around 18-20, but most are 8-12 depending on the nature of the subject.

Do students get travel grants for attending conferences?
Yes, there are grants available. Information is provided by the College of Graduate Studies.

What jobs do your graduates have?
Our graduates work in private practices, outpatient mental health facilities, hospitals, and many other job settings consistent with the competency expectations for our program graduates.

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