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Child and Adolescent Psychology Psy.D. Emphasis

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Specialize your Psy.D. Program with an Emphasis in Child and Adolescent Psychology

Students enrolled in the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program can choose an emphasis to focus on a specific area in clinical psychology. Students apply to an emphasis of choice during their first or second year of study. During their first year, students interested in pursuing an emphasis should become acquainted with admissions criteria for their emphasis of choice, meet with the emphasis coordinator during the first year in the program, and attend emphasis activities.

Child and Adolescent Psychology Psy.D. Program

This emphasis within our Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program provides focused coursework, training, and mentorship that prepare students as clinical psychologists with the necessary knowledge, skills, and training to work with children, adolescents, young adults and their families, and the issues that impact their mental health and well-being.

Student Outcomes

Through this emphasis, our students gain research- and practice-based understanding and skills related to assessment and intervention methods that are most appropriate to younger clients, as well as understanding of the broader structural and sociocultural factors that affect children and adolescents.

Careers in Child & Adolescent Psychology

Child and adolescent psychologists work in a range of settings with young people struggling with a range of mental health issues and challenges such as depression, anxiety, body image, drugs or alcohol, relationships, or coping with life changes such as parental divorce or death. They conduct formal diagnostic assessments, provide psychotherapy and other therapeutic services, develop community based youth programs, lead prevention initiatives, provide consultation, advocate for policy and more.

Students are trained as practitioners with broad knowledge and specific skills in assessment, theory, research, and practice by faculty who are practicing clinicians as well as leading scholars, researchers, and educators with extensive child and adolescent experience—focusing in areas such as:

  • Childhood depression and anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • ADHD and other learning disorders
  • LGBTQ youth mental health
  • Trauma
  • Family systems
  • Multicultural treatment models

Admission Criteria and Continued Enrollment

Students are admitted into the emphasis after completion of the first year. Admission criteria include:

  • A cover letter describing the student’s professional goals and interests and how the emphasis will help him or her achieve these goals.
  • Copies of graduate transcripts (can be unofficial transcripts).
  • A letter of recommendation from one faculty member in the Adler Psy.D. program; this can include a direct email from the recommender to the emphasis coordinator.
  • Overall Adler grade point average of at least 3.25.
  • Passing all Psy.D. program milestones up to the point of emphasis admission.
  • An interview with the Emphasis Coordinator.
  • Admission to the emphasis is not guaranteed. The decision will be weighed in conjunction with other data.

Additionally, students admitted into the emphasis must maintain the following standards, or they may risk dismissal from the emphasis:

  • Maintain an overall grade point average of at least 3.0.
  • Obtain a grade of at least B in all required emphasis courses.
  • Pass all milestones in the Psy.D. program (CQE, dissertation, etc.).
  • Have no SCEC referrals for comportment issues.
  • Have no more than one SCEC referral for any other reason


Successful completion of the following courses is required to complete the Child and Adolescent Psychology emphasis:

Child and Adolescent Psychology Courses

Total Credit Hours Required: 18

PSY 723 - Couple & Family Ther Appr I (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to the major and evolving family and couples models. It will focus on theory and conceptualization, understanding the etiology and maintenance of presenting issues, basic techniques, and evidence-based applications for various models.

PSY 753 - Child & Adolescent Psychopathology (3 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of the major psychological disorders of childhood and adolescence. The focus is on the interaction of biogenic, familial, environmental, and sociocultural factors.

PSY 757 - Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (3 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to provide a conceptual framework for interventions with children and adolescents. The course will focus on specific interventions and research on the major psychotherapeutic approaches for children and adolescents, including cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, family systems, Adlerian, person-centered, and parent-infant psychotherapy.

PSY 783 - Advanced Child and Adolescent Assessment (3 cr.)

This course presents a structured approach to the psychological assessment of children and adolescents, including advanced issues in interviewing children and adolescents; conducting mental status examinations with young clients; and evaluating cognitive, social, and emotional functioning in children and adolescents.

PSY 805 - Advanced Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (3 cr.)

This course covers advanced intervention strategies and emerging developments in the treatment of children and adolescents. Approaches to selected clinical problems and special populations are included as well as work with diverse child and adolescent populations and evidence-based practices.

PSY *** - Child and Adolescent Elective (3 cr.) *See below

Open Electives

Emphasis in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology open electives consists of any of the following (3 credits each). Students must select one course from the options below:

PSY 706 - Trauma Focused Approaches to Interventions (3 cr.)

This course covers the history, etiology, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of trauma-related dysfunction, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder (ASD), and common comorbidities.

PSY 754 - Special Topics in the Treatment of Children, Adolescents, Young Adults, and/or Families (3 cr.)

This course will provide students an opportunity to study topics pertinent to the diagnosis and treatment of children, adolescents, young adults, and/or their families. Given the ongoing changes in the field of child psychology, this course offers students the opportunity to learn about focused topics that are related to the field that are not covered in other required courses.

PSY 756 - Group Psychotherapy (3 cr.)

The history, theory, methods, and applications of group psychotherapy are examined, discussed, and demonstrated. The development of competency in group methods is enhanced through didactic presentation, role-playing, and participation in an ongoing group.

PSY 823 - Adlerian Parent Consultation and Family Therapy (3 cr.)

This course will teach students child guidance and parenting knowledge and skills based on Adlerian principles to be practiced in parent consultation and family therapy. Students will understand how Adlerians integrate sociocultural considerations contexts while assessing and intervening with families and the multiple systems intersecting with the clients.

PSY 874 - Race, Ethnicity & Social Class (3 cr.)

This course is designed to give students an understanding of various minority groups including African Americans, Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans. Students are exposed to the limitations and potential dangers of Western definitions of cultural groups.

PSY 930 - Trauma, Grief, & Loss with Children, Adolescents, and Families (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes theories and treatment approaches related to the experiences of trauma, grief, and loss with children, adolescents, and their families. A strong emphasis of this course will be to understand the ways children, adolescents, and families understand and experience trauma and loss and ways in which culture influences these processes.

PSY 931 - Development Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes assessment and intervention approaches focused on the treatment of children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum and/or other developmental disorders. Research-supported treatments, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), will be the central focus of this course.

PSY 932 - Assessment & Intervention Adolescents Young Adults (3 cr.)

This course emphasizes theories and treatment approaches related to the treatment of older adolescents and young adults. Specifically, the unique developmental task associated with this phase of the life span and associated impact on mental health and well-being will be addressed.

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      You need a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution to enroll in Adler University programs.


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