PhD in Clinical Psychology
Classes begin late September
The Ph.D. program celebrates its 30-year long tradition of offering clinical psychology doctoral education in-depth psychological traditions, which emphasizes radical theorizing, in-depth relational clinical education, and engagement in issues of social justice and care. The program prepares psychologists through the integration of diverse depth psychological traditions, human sciences scholarship, and community praxis.
Learn About the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program
About the Clinical Ph.D. Program
Students are prepared for professional practice as scholar-practitioners whose clinical training is enhanced by scholarship and enriched by the analytical and interpretative skills developed through research. Our curriculum is designed to lead to licensure as a clinical psychologist (based on educational requirements for psychologists in the state of California).
Human Science Model
Our commitment to a human science model of psychology – a viable alternative to conventional psychology’s natural science approach – emphasizes meaning as the fundamental component of psychological life. This focus on human meaning carried out in both qualitative research and clinical practice, yields an in-depth understanding of how things matter for people within their life-situations.
Acknowledging the cultural and historical character of meaning, human science psychology is deliberately affiliated with the humanities and cultivates multiple ways of knowing, such as imagination and meditative awareness, beyond the instrumental reason employed by the natural sciences. Accordingly, our curriculum is infused with the study of mythology, history, religion, philosophy, and the arts.
“I want psychology to have its base in the imagination of people rather than in their statistics and their diagnostics.”
Depth Psychological Perspective
Within a human science model, the Ph.D. program focuses on the traditions of depth psychology. Found in multiple cultural contexts and perspectives, including the groundbreaking explorations of Freud and Jung, depth psychologies are distinguished by their recognition of a latent or unconscious dimension of psychological life. This unconscious element, the depth dimension inherent in human experience, is understood as essential to the transformative character of the therapeutic relationship.
Our program is inspired by psychoanalytic, Jungian, and existential-phenomenological perspectives in their historical and contemporary formulations, including archetypal, relational, and hermeneutic psychologies. Significant attention is given to dialogue with related disciplines such as multiculturalism, postmodernism, feminist theory, gender studies, indigenous psychologies, complexity theory, postcolonialism, ecological studies, and Eastern thought.
“We need images and myths through which we can see who we are and what we might become.”
By emphasizing the importance of scholarship in the education of psychologists, the program continues depth psychology’s longstanding approach to clinical practice. The clinical orientation that infuses our curriculum, facilitates the engagement of theory and research in addressing individual, community, and global concerns.
Students receive comprehensive clinical training that is informed by Jungian, psychoanalytic, and phenomenological psychologies as well as contemporary depth approaches to psychotherapy.
Clinical instruction emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic relationship, particularly transference and counter-transference dynamics, the significance of dreams, attachment and trauma in early development as well as developmental stages across the lifespan, individuation as a process of psychic transformation, and the cultural context of healing. A critical dialogue is maintained with contemporary developments in the field, such as neuroscience.
“Psychological life in its texture, structure, and function is a metaphorical reality.”
Robert D. Romanyshyn
Our strong research curriculum is guided by depth psychology’s understanding of psychological phenomena. Hence, the courses focus on qualitative research methods that affirm the interpretative dimension of description as well as the unconscious dynamic between researcher and what is being researched. Student research encompasses the pursuit of knowledge, personal transformation, and the practice of social engagement.
Our goal is to prepare students to become constructively engaged in diverse clinical, academic, and community settings as researchers and clinicians who are grounded in deeply humane, theoretically sophisticated, and socially conscious approaches to clinical psychology.
The engaging beauty of the campus, an intense residency format & class cohort configuration all lend themselves to an experience of scholarly and personal development keenly attuned to Pacifica’s forty year mission of “caring for the soul in and of the world.”
What is distinct about doctoral education in clinical psychology at Pacifica?
Pacifica Graduate Institute has a 40-year long history of providing training in depth psychology within a human science model, and remains one of the few institutions in the world to offer degrees that bring together education in clinical psychology together with rich traditions of depth psychology, which draw from such fields as humanities, mythology, philosophy, cultural studies, and human sciences. In addition, Pacifica’s education emphasizes the dynamic contemporary visions of understanding human experience, which include somatic, spiritually-grounded, indigenous, multicultural, neuropsychological, and community-based approaches.
Does receiving a Ph.D. from Pacifica’s clinical psychology program meet the qualification needed to be licensed as a Clinical Psychologist in California?
Our curriculum is designed to lead to licensure as a clinical psychologist (based on educational requirements for psychologists in the State of California). In order to receive the California Clinical Psychologist’s license, students must also have met the post-doctoral clinical services hours and examination requirements of the State. As part of receiving the degree from our program, students are required to complete pre-doctoral internship hours that meet requirements of the California Board of Psychology. The eligibility requirements for the formal internship programs in California are set by varied organizations, including the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC) which governs many clinical sites that embrace depth psychological treatment modalities. Pacifica is a graduate school member of CAPIC, and students will be guided through the formal process of application to all such sites. Following receipt of their degree from Pacifica, students must follow state’s requirements, which include post-doctoral supervised clinical hours and passing scores on the national and state exams (EPPP and CPLEE). Applicants and students are responsible for following and adhering to the licensure requirements of other states or countries, in which they wish to reside and practice, which may differ from California requirements.
How long is the Ph.D. program?
Students attend classes in the Ph.D. program for three years on a year-round basis (including summers). Each year classes are held during nine, four (4)-day sessions. One seven-day summer week occurs during the summer quarter. Students complete their dissertations following the three years of coursework. There is an eight-year time limit for completion of the degree program. Please see the graph below for a visual overview of the Ph.D. program.
What is the general format of classes?
The classes are a combination of lecture and discussion formats and occur on Pacifica campus. While faculty present lecture material, time is set aside for discussions and question and answer periods. Some of the classes include presentations by experts, experiential activities (e.g., rituals, somatic exercises), as well as time for processing the information as a group. The cohort system at Pacifica encourages a process of in-depth collaborative learning that integrates the multiple personal and cultural contexts affecting learning and guiding discussions.
How much work is required outside of class?
Class assignments consist of readings, posted reflections/discussions, exams, papers or projects. For every hour in class, at least three hours of academic work outside of class is expected. This time may include reading, reflections, research, and writing. Graduate study, in general, requires twenty (20) hours of study per week with an additional approximate 15 to 20 hours of practice per week in the second and thirds years. Dissertation and internship are undertaken after coursework is completed and comprehensive exams are passed.
Experiential clinical training at off-campus clinical training sites is an essential part of the doctoral program. Students complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of practicum, 1,500 hours of internship, and 60 hours of personal therapy. The Director of Clinical Training works collaboratively with students to place them in practice in the beginning of their second year of academic study. Students receive supervision and are given feedback at off-site locations as well as during campus coursework.
Once students complete their coursework and practica and pass a comprehensive exam, students enter off-campus internships where they are also given supervision and feedback. Internships are completed in a multidisciplinary setting offering a variety of training experiences. To obtain pre-doctoral internships, students often compete in a state-wide or nation-wide competitive application process. However, state of California allows clinical training under a licensed psychologist as a psychological assistant to complete pre-doctoral internship hours required by the state of California toward psychology licensure. Training at culturally diverse sites is encouraged.
When do students have an opportunity to meet with faculty?
Each teaching faculty member holds office hours during the time that students are on campus as well as during specified hours during the week. These office hours schedules and sign-up sheets are made available during each learning session. Students are also assigned a core faculty advisor who connects with them regarding varied aspects of their academic and professional development. At the beginning of spring quarter, faculty advisors assess the progress that each student makes in the program as part of the student’s annual evaluations.
Where does a student complete the 2,500-hour practicum/internship requirement?
Students in the doctoral clinical program are required to accrue a total of 2,500 hours of approved and supervised clinical experience. These hours are obtained in two “tiers” of training: Practicum (1000 hours required) and internship (1,500 hours required). Both levels of training are obtained at off-campus locations such as group private practices, clinics, hospitals, treatment centers, or other agencies, in which psychologists provide services. Practicum training is a lower level of training with more intensive and directive supervision and is obtained during the second and third years of classes at Pacifica. The Clinical Training Handbook outlines the requirements for beginning clinical training. During the coursework on campus, the students participate in Thursday evening practicum seminars designed to ground their clinical training experience in small-group discussions, case conferences, and intensive supervision by faculty. In contrast to practicum training, internship training is a higher level of training with more independence and responsibility and is undertaken after the student has completed all of the coursework and passed the comprehensive exams. The internship, in contrast to the practicum, is a summative and capstone training experience, in which the skills and the knowledge obtained through the coursework and the practicum experiences are exercised. All of the training activities described here are coordinated and supported by Pacifica’s Training Office, including the Training Coordinator and the Director of Clinical Training.
Can a student use past personal therapy hours to satisfy the 60-hour personal therapy requirement?
The personal therapy requirement is an integral part of the program, essential for the development of clinicians who utilize themselves as an instrument of healing of others. In addition, personal self-awareness is essential to other processes of being a student including conducting research studies with human participants or engaging in clinical and scholarly dialogues in the field that expand psychological knowledge. Therefore, the minimum of 60 hours of personal therapy must be completed while a student is enrolled in the program. These hours may be completed in individual, group, couple or family settings.
Clinical Psychology Ph.D. classes take place in four-day sessions (Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon) once each month during fall, winter, and spring. There is also one seven-day summer session each year. Between learning sessions, advising, mentoring, study and instruction continue through individual and group mentorship from faculty, web-enhanced learning, and cohort support groups.
- History and Systems of Psychology - CP 700, 2 units
- Psychological Assessment I - CP 930, 2 units
- Psychological Assessment II - CP 931, 2 units
- Legal, Ethical, and Professional Practice - CP 832, 2 units
- Advanced Psychopathology I - CP 730, 2 units
- Biological Foundations of Human Behavior - CP 735, 2 units
- Phenomenological Psychology: Theory and Practice - CL 917, 2 units
- Psychoanalytic-Based Psychotherapy I - CP 711, 2 units
- Introduction to Depth Psychology and the Human Science Traditions - CL 819, 2 units
- Jungian-Based Psychotherapy I - CP 810, 2 units
- Special Topics - CP 799, 2 units
- Professional Development Seminar I - CL 755, 1 unit
- Professional Development Seminar II - CL 756, 1 unit
- Professional Development Seminar III - CL 757, 1 unit
- Research Designs and Methodology I: Overview - CP 932, 2 units
- Research Designs and Methodology II: Qualitative Methods - CP 933, 2 units
- Quantitative Design and Univariate Statistical Analysis - CP 926, 3 units
- 1st Year Annual Assessment for Program Advancement - CL 758, 0 units
- Principles of Psychopharmacology - CP 873, 2 units
- Developmental Psychology Through the Lifespan - CP 830, 3 units
- Alcohol, Chemical Dependency, and Addictive Behaviors - CL 900, 2 units
- Indigenous Approaches to Psychology - CP 803, 1 unit
- Cognitive Foundations of Human Behavior - CL 837, 2 units
- Affective Foundations of Human Behavior - CL 838, 2 units
- Psychoanalytic-Based Psychotherapy II - CP 712, 2 units
- Archetypal Psychology: Theory and Practice - CP 840, 2 units
- Social Foundations of Human Behavior - CL 800, 2 units
- Special Topics - CP 799, 2 units
- Jungian-Based Psychotherapy II - CP 811, 2 units
- Supervision Practicum Seminar I - CL 759, 1 unit
- Supervision Practicum Seminar II - CL 760, 1 unit
- Supervision Practicum Seminar III - CL 761, 1 unit
- Depth Psychological Methods I - CL 928, 2 units
- Dissertation Development I - CP 961, 1 unit
- Research Designs III: Test and Measurement - CP 934, 2 units
- 2nd Year Annual Assessment for Program Advancement - CL 762, 0 units
- Advanced Psychopathology II - CP 731, 2 units
- Psychotherapy with Diverse Populations - CP 845, 2 units
- Principles of Clinical Supervision and Consultation - CL 752, 2 units
- Projective Personality Assessment - CL 938, 1 unit
- Evidence-Based Best Practices - CL 912, 2 units
- Violence and Trauma - CP 834, 1 unit
- Gender and Human Sexuality - CP 901, 1 unit
- Post-Jungian Psychotherapy: Theory and Practice - CP 745, 2 units
- Imaginal Psychotherapy - CP 814, 2 units
- Special Topics - CP 799, 2 units
- Psychotherapy Practicum Seminar I - CL 763, 1 unit
- Psychotherapy Practicum Seminar II - CL 764, 1 unit
- Psychotherapy Practicum Seminar III - CL 765, 1 unit
- Dissertation Development II - CP 962, 2 units
- Depth Psychological Methods II - CL 929, 2 units
- Dissertation Development III - CP 963, 2 units
- Research Designs and Methodology IV: Advanced Qualitative Methods - CL 940, 2 units
- 3rd Year Annual Assessment for Program Advancement - CL 766, 0 units
Capstone Projects and Program Requirements
- Comprehensive Exam Portfolio - CP 989, 0 units
- Dissertation Writing - CP 990, 15 units
- Personal Psychotherapy - CP 950, 0 units
Requirements for Graduation
Degree Requirements for Graduation
- Students must complete a total of 105 quarter units to fulfill the unit requirement for graduation.
- A minimum grade of “B” is required in each completed course. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained.
- Students must meet attendance requirements as articulated in the Student Handbook.
- Students must submit and defend an original dissertation accepted by the faculty.
- Students are required to complete a minimum 1,000 hours of practicum, 1,500 hours of internship, and 60 hours of personal therapy.
- Students must successfully pass the Comprehensive Portfolio at the end of the third year.
A minimum of 1,000 hours of practicum and 1,500 hours of internship are required. Students must obtain Internship through a competitive application process. It is highly recommended that these internships be completed in a multidisciplinary setting offering a variety of training experiences. Pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology is a supervised summative training experience, which integrates academic learning and previously applied clinical training at the practicum level. Upon completion of the academic program, comprehensive exam, dissertation, and 1,000 hours of practicum training, students in good standing are required to complete 1,500 hours of pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology. Students from California may participate in the California matching system for internships through the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC). Candidates for the internship must demonstrate readiness to apply for the internship to the Director of Clinical Training.
For a full description of all requirements, consult the current edition of the Pacifica Student Handbook, the Clinical Training Handbook, and the Dissertation Handbook.
Each student is assigned a Faculty Advisor for mentorship throughout the program. Faculty Advisors meet regularly with their student advisees to monitor their academic performance, discuss research interests, oversee clinical development, assist with dissertation decisions, and provide personal and professional support.
Preparation for Clinical Psychology Licensure
This curriculum is not intended to meet all the requirements of each state for licensure in clinical psychology. Students that seek licensure in California acquire regional accredited doctoral training making them qualified to pursue licensure as a clinical psychologist in the state of California (because requirements may change, students are responsible for maintaining awareness of licensure regulations by the state). Students may need to meet additional licensure requirements in their home states. Each student is responsible for determining and remaining current on their state licensure requirements.
For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attend this program please visit the Gainful Employment page. Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs are accredited by the Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC) and the Department of Education to offer financial aid. Pacifica’s doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology are not accredited by the American Psychological Association.
- Applicants are expected to bring a strong foundation in psychological scholarship, specifically scholarly research and writing, as well as a demonstrated interest and aptitude for the study of depth psychology, which will be assessed during the application process for bachelor level applicants.
- Program seeks individuals who are psychologically-minded, and who show evidence of emotional resilience, cultural awareness, and commitment to scholarly questioning necessary to work with diverse individuals and communities
- In addition to advanced writing and scholarship skills, successful candidates will have supervised clinical experience and manifest an interest in the relationships among psychology, the humanities, and human sciences.
- The experience of personal depth psychotherapy is highly valued.
- Application Requirements:
- Personal Statement (3-5 pages)
- Minimum 10 page Academic Writing Sample and additional writing sample on the unconscious
- 3 letters with the recommendation form
- Official transcripts – must have a bachelor’s/master’s degree from a regionally accredited or state-approved institution of higher education