PsyD Clinical Psychology
As one of the first PsyD programs in the nation, the Graduate School of Professional Psychology has offered a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) since 1976. The mission of the PsyD program is to train doctoral-level practitioner/scholars who have foundational interpersonal and scientific skills, a functional mastery of psychological assessment and intervention, and can apply this knowledge and skill in a range of settings.
We aim to train psychologists who contribute to the common good through their interpersonal awareness and skill. Students graduate from GSPP as psychologists with a solid grounding in psychology's scientific, ethical and professional foundations, with skills in assessment and intervention that can be applied to many contexts and communities.
We offer training in a variety of specialty areas including Military Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Psychodynamic Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies, and others.
Foundations of Diversity
Our required multicultural sequence ensures students are prepared to work with diverse populations.
Clinical Experience from Day One
Clinical practice begins in the first quarter of the program at DU's community-based psychological center. Additional fieldwork opportunities are available through our partnerships at 130 different practicum sites.
We offer extensive hands-on and experiential opportunities to complement our students' broad base of knowledge along with their analytical and research skills.
We connect our students with internships, mentorships and professional development opportunities to help ensure professional success.
The PsyD Program at GSPP is committed to providing broad-based training that provides students the basis for general practice, with an adequate foundation to pursue specialty training. As such, we cover the following broad and general areas of psychological study through our 135-credit program. The curriculum includes required and elective coursework in the following areas:
Theoretical & Scientific Bases
We provide a four-course theory sequence that is supplemented with a fifth elective. These courses address both the history and scientific foundation of each area of psychology.
- Psychoanalytic Models
- Behavioral/Contextual Models
- Cognitive Bases of Behavior Models
- Systems Models
- History and Systems of Psychology
- Humanistic-Existential Theory and Therapy (elective)
Research Methodology & Data Analysis
The research and data analysis area begins with two statistics courses that review the fundamentals of descriptive and inferential statistics for evaluating clinically relevant questions. The quantitative research design course focuses on how to critique and integrate the empirical psychology literature with critical concern for issues such as design plans, artifacts and applicability to clinical work. This reviews theory and techniques for assessing both ongoing processes and outcome effectiveness of psychological programs. A second methodology course deals with understanding, evaluating and conducting qualitative research. Finally, the third methodology provides theories and techniques of program evaluation.
- Statistics for the Clinician I & II
- Quantitative Research Methods
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Program Evaluation Techniques
Assessment begins with a theory course that lays the foundation for the assessment courses. It focuses on validity, reliability and standardization issues in psychological testing and the statistical properties of commonly used tests as well as clinical inference. This is followed by an assessment sequence providing students the background and skill necessary to administer, score, interpret and integrate results from cognitive and personality measures into insightful, helpful and even therapeutic effects.
- Issues in Measurement
- Cognitive Assessment
- Introduction to the Rorschach
- Self-Report Assessment
- Integrated Personality Assessment
- Electives include: Advanced Personality Assessment, Advanced Rorschach Analysis, Therapeutic Assessment and Pediatric Neuropsychological Assessment
The developmental sequence consists of three courses that consider the phases of human development from infancy through adulthood, including the relevance of personality theories and research. Attention is given to issues of culture and gender. Guest panels, community resources, videotapes and small discussion groups are incorporated. Child observations are included in the early phases, and a life review interview is required in the final course.
- Infancy and Early Childhood
- Adolescence and Young Adulthood
- Late Adulthood
Social Bases is a two-quarter sequence. The first course reviews both theories and techniques of understanding and utilizing group dynamics. The second focuses on the implications of social psychology/social cognition for the practicing clinician.
- Group Interventions and Dynamics
- Social Psychology
Biological Bases of Behavior
The Biological Bases of Behavior area is covered with a two course required sequence, and two electives are provided. These courses are designed to familiarize students with the principles, terminology and research findings in this area.
- Physiological Psychology
- Clinical Neuropsychology
- Electives: Psychopharmacology, Health Psychology
Ethical Issues in Psychology
The Ethical Issues in Psychology course offers in-depth consideration of ethical standards applicable to the science and practice of psychology. Ethical issues are also covered in each of our professional seminar courses.
- Ethical Issues in Psychology
Individual & Cultural Diversity
Individual and cultural diversity are addressed throughout the curriculum, as well as in our four-quarter multicultural sequence.
- Racial/Ethnic Identity Development
- Social Psychology of Racism and Oppression
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues
- Culturally Competent Psychotherapy
Diagnosis & Psychopathology
Most of the intervention electives address issues of diagnosis and psychopathology. We also offer a specific diagnosis class and an elective in adult psychopathology.
- Diagnosis and Classification
- Adult Psychopathology I, II, & III
Supervision & Consultation
Students are expected to address issues of supervision and consultation in advanced seminars, and the foundations for consultation theory are addressed in the Systems Models class. Advanced students can also elect to do a supervision practicum.
- Business Issues in Psychology
- Supervision Practicum
Effective Therapeutic Interventions
Students can take clinical courses that build on the scientific foundations presented in the required courses, and allow students to explore intervention techniques and means of tracking and assessing their effectiveness. These courses are taught from a variety of theoretical perspectives and focus on several different clinical populations and problems.
- Assessment and Treatment of Children
- Assessment and Treatment of Adolescents
- Couples Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Behavioral analytic principles I & II
- Behavioral Analytic Case Formulations
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Intersubjective Theory and Practice
- All professional seminars also address effective therapeutic interventions.
Course of Study
Specialty Focus Tool
The program provides a broad and general education. Each student also has the opportunity to choose a specialty area to increase depth of theoretical knowledge and skills. Examples include adult or child assessment and therapy, behavior therapy, family therapy, forensic psychology, behavioral medicine, treatment of women, or military psychology.
Clinical Competency Exam
This exam is generally taken in the second year to ensure students demonstrate minimum standards for clinical skill and scholarship. It is comprised of three sections: clinical vignettes, clinical case conceptualization and clinical intervention strategies.
The doctoral paper requires students to make an original contribution to psychological scholarship. They may choose to do a qualitative or quantitative research project or select another form of scholarship such as developing a case study or treatment protocol.
Professional Psychology Clinic (PPC)
Students become staff members of the PPC and work with clients in the clinic each year prior to their internship. PPC client cases are supervised by faculty members, seminar co-leaders and individual community professionals.Explore Clinics
In the years prior to their internship, students serve in practicums for a minimum of eight hours per week. Sites may include mental health centers, schools, hospitals, rehabilitation center, and residential treatment homes.Learn More
During their clinical internship, a vital part of our program, students gain valuable experience interning at sites around the U.S. and Canada and are able to pursue placements in a variety of settings. Our program has a 100% match rate to accredited sites.Past Placements
Dr. Pia Khandekar
Pia Khandekar, PsyD is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in San Diego, California with the Department of Defense. She is currently the supervising psychologist and Clinical Program Director for the inpatient unit at Naval Medical Center San Diego. During the past 4 years, Dr. Khandekar has developed and implemented a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program focusing on crisis prevention planning and evidence-based interventions for depression/anxiety, trauma, substance use, and serious mental illness. She is a core faculty member for the Navy psychology internship program, supervising interns on the emergency psychiatry and inpatient mental health rotations. She also serves as teaching faculty for the psychiatry residency program, facilitating the PGY-1 and 2 Cognitive Behavioral and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy courses. She was awarded Faculty of the Year for the psychology internship program 2018, and received an Associate Master Clinician designation from the command in August 2019. She also maintains an outpatient panel, working with service members from Navy/Marine Aviation and Naval Special Warfare.
Dr. Khandekar graduated in 2011 from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology, and completed her internship and postdoctoral training at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. Dr. Khandekar began working with active duty personnel when she took a position as a clinician working with military families in Germany at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. Upon returning to the states in 2015, Dr. Khandekar was employed as a psychologist with Naval Air Station North Island, providing therapy to the naval aviation community and consultation to squadrons on human factors and performance.
“The longer I practice, the more I am able to appreciate the exceptional caliber of the faculty and supervisors I encountered during my time at GSPP. Throughout my career I have regularly felt grateful for the training I received as a student, but now as a supervisor, I find myself reflecting on my own supervision almost daily. I feel a personal responsibility to pay forward the skills and guidance I was so lucky to receive myself. There is no substitute for exposure to excellence as a trainee, and I believe that the faculty and field placements at GSPP are what makes this program so exemplary.”
APA Accreditation & Contact Information
The program is Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of 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
Phone: 202-336-5979 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org