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.
More than four out of five physician visits are for problems with a significant psychological and/or behavioral component, such as obesity or diabetes. Our emphasis in primary care psychology & behavioral medicine—another fast-growing area of modern psychology—integrates clinical psychology, behavioral medicine, and healthcare.
Students learn evidence-based approaches and techniques related to key principles of primary care psychology, including mind/body interaction; pain definition and management; stress related illnesses and treatments; the role of behavioral factors in physical and psychological well-being; and the application of psychological assessment and intervention techniques to acute and chronic illness.
Interested students in good academic standing having maintained a minimum 3.0 grade point average should apply to the Emphasis Coordinator for entry into the Emphasis in Primary Care Psychology and Behavioral Medicine toward the end of their first year. Students are also expected to attend either a Primary Care Student Organization (PCSO) meeting or event, or attend an emphasis meeting during their first year. Interested students should also meet with the Emphasis Coordinator before application to discuss their interest in the area.
Understanding the impact of broader structural and systemic factors on well-being, and the role of the psychologist in healthcare delivery are emphasized. This emphasis is well suited for those interested in practice in primary healthcare settings, such as hospitals, group medical practices, community clinics, HMOs, and family practice centers. It is also a good fit for students who wish to intervene with medical patients in order to reduce physical symptoms, such as reduction in pain symptoms using mindfulness, reduction in blood pressure using biofeedback, or regulation of blood sugar in diabetics using behavioral management techniques in collaboration with a dietician.
Required courses provide students with knowledge and skills pertinent to several of the key principles of primary care psychology, including mind/body interaction; pain definition and management; stress-related illnesses and treatments; the role of behavioral factors in physical and psychological well-being; the application of psychological assessment and intervention techniques to acute and chronic illness; and an understanding of the impact of broader structural and systemic factors on well-being and the role of the psychologist in healthcare delivery.
Successful completion of the following courses is required to complete the emphasis:
Total Credit Hours Required: 18
This class covers the special and unique role of psychologists as part of an integrated healthcare team in a primary care medical setting. Students will learn about interprofessional collaboration with physicians, nurses, social workers, and other providers.
This course covers medical conditions with which psychologists usually intervene, including diseases of the endocrine system (e.g., diabetes), nervous system (e.g., multiple sclerosis, various chronic pain syndromes), cardiovascular system (e.g., atherosclerosis, thrombosis, congestive heart failure, and cardiovascular accident; certain headaches), pulmonary system (e.g., asthma, COPD), and musculoskeletal system (e.g., arthritis).
The focus of the course is management of mild to moderate disease, disease prevention, and positive health behaviors (e.g., smoking cessation, dietary change, exercise, insomnia, health-compromising behaviors, and wellness). Illustrative interventions that integrate wellness will involve disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, and somatoform disorders.
This course focuses on coping with acute and chronic disease states in which disease/disability, rather than lifestyle/prevention, dominates. The disease or disability is sufficiently severe to require major behavioral changes, and, often, changes in personal identity. Theories applied in the class are the biopsychosocial model and CBT.
This integrated experiential and scientific course will teach students to manage their own stress and to teach mindfulness-based meditation to others to help them to manage their stress.
This class presents the theory and application of applied psychophysiology (biofeedback) as it is practiced today within mind-body medicine. A review of the components of the autonomic and central nervous systems underlying commonly used psychophysiological measures (EEG, EMG, HR, etc.) will be presented.
This is an advanced course that will cover in-depth applications of cognitive, cognitive-behavioral, and third wave therapies including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT; Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT; Steven Hays), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT; Marsha M. Linehan), and cognitive processing therapy (CPT; Patricia Resick).
This course covers the psychological theories, cultural responses, individual and family system reactions, and treatment relevant to individuals facing death, dying, life-threatening illness, bereavement, other losses, and long-term caregiving.
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