Course Descriptions - Divine Mercy University

Psy.D. Course Descriptions

PSY 500 – History and Systems of Psychology (3 credit hours)

Behaviorism, psychoanalytical theory, and biologically based theories (e.g., cognitive neuroscience) have been offered as coherent accounts of the nature of the human person. All derive support from versions of evolutionary theory. On this account, theories of motivation are of the survivalistic variety, conduct is understood as “adaptive,” and complex social phenomena are reduced to socio-biological processes. This course assesses these empirical and conceptual orientations.

PSY 503 – Personality Theories (3 credit hours)

Introduces the major theories of personality used in clinical/counseling psychology, including those schools of thought associated with Freud, Object-Relations theory, Erikson, Jung, Adler, Horney, Rogers, Maslow and Cognitive-Behavioral theory. Emphasis is also put on relevant research findings and critical assessment of the validity and usefulness of the different theories.

PSY 504 – Psychological Measurement (3 credit hours)

This course covers the application of statistical thinking and related graphical and other computational tools to the study and measurement of psychological phenomena.  The first part of the course serves as an introduction to a wide range of topics related to basic statistical analysis.  Building on this basic knowledge, the second part of the course examines basic concepts and computational methods related to test and survey design.

PHT 505 – Philosophical and Theological Anthropology (I)

This course examines the unity and complexity of the human person from a philosophical and theological perspective, with special attention to the Catholic tradition. It constitutes an introduction to classic philosophical psychology. The course promotes integrative competencies for understanding anthropological models and their treatment of: the human person and flourishing; moral agency and character; and the interaction of human nature, culture, and divine grace, while attending to relevance for psychotherapy. Together with the other integrative anthropological courses offered at the IPS, it provides an introduction to the most important philosophical and theological concepts, arguments, and texts that are pertinent to the practice of clinical psychology. This course is the first of two on the topic of integrative anthropology.

PHT 506 – Philosophical and Theological Anthropology (II)

This course examines the unity and complexity of the human person from a philosophical and theological perspective, with special attention to the Catholic tradition. It constitutes an introduction to classic philosophical psychology. The course promotes integrative competencies for understanding anthropological models and their treatment of: the human person and flourishing; moral agency and character; and the interaction of human nature, culture, and divine grace, while attending to relevance for psychotherapy. Together with the other integrative anthropological courses offered at the IPS, it provides an introduction to the most important philosophical and theological concepts, arguments, and texts that are pertinent to the practice of clinical psychology. This course is the second of two on the topic of an integrated anthropology.

PSY 507 – Psychopathology (3 credit hrs)

This course provides an overview of the major theories, classification systems, and research in the area of psychopathology. It introduces students to diagnostic nomenclature, emphasizing the development of facility with the DSM-IV classification system. It also examines how spiritual and moral pathology affect the quality of life.

PSY 512 – Law, Ethics, and Psychology (3 credit hrs)

This course examines the ethical codes and guidelines developed within the mental health field. Special emphasis is placed on how these ethical guidelines, along with Christian principles, can be applied to the practice of psychology in a manner which holds the well-being of the client as primary. The course also examines professional issues relevant to the practice of psychology.

PSY 516 – Basic Interviewing and Clinical Skills (3 credit hrs)

This course provides an introduction to the art and science of basic clinical skills aimed at forming a comprehensive understanding of the person, with special emphasis on assessing dimensions consistent with a Catholic perspective. Specifically, this course will orient students to general philosophical issues related to clinical interviewing and present critical fundamentals of therapeutic relationship development. Instruction will also address particular challenges presented by high risk clients, the need for mandatory reporting, and interviews with children, adolescents, couples, and culturally diverse populations. The course includes a blend of lecture, skill demonstration, and student practice.

PSY 597 – Psychology Overview Seminar I (1 credit hr)

This course is specifically directed toward entering students who have little or no prior educational background in psychology, or who wish to refresh their psychology background or training.  It seeks to provide a foundational basis for understanding in basic content areas such as psychology’s history and methods and psychology’s approaches to physiology, sensation and perception, learning, language, consciousness, and memory.

PSY 598 – Psychology Overview Seminar II (1 credit hr)

This course represents a continuation of the self-directed study primarily for those entering students who have little or no prior educational background in psychology, or who wish to refresh their psychology backgrounds and/or training.  The course continues to provide a foundational basis for understanding in psychology’s basic content areas, such as intelligence and associated controversies, nature and nurture, lifespan development, emotion and motivation, social psychology, personality, and psychological disorders and their treatment.

PSY 601 – Introductory Clinical Practicum II (3 credit hrs)

This course is the first course of a 2-semester course sequence which also includes PSY 602. During these two courses, students gain their introductory clinical experience at a practicum site. In this first course of the 2-course sequence, students build on their foundational skills in basic interviewing and diagnostics by acquiring new knowledge and skills in behavioral therapy, including functional behavioral assessment, treatment planning and treatment implementation, and an understanding of the provision of services from an integrated Catholic perspective. The students will also gain introductory skills in clinical case presentation.

PSY 602 – Introductory Clinical Practicum II (3 credit hrs)

This course reflects time spent gaining clinical experience at the externship site. Students also attend and present regularly scheduled case consultation groups which focus on skill development in the areas of diagnosis, treatment planning, clinical skills, and provision of services from an integrated perspective.

PSY 605 – Developmental Psychology (3 credit hrs)

This course covers the major theoretical systems that seek to explain the development of the human person, and examines them from a variety of perspectives: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and moral. It also considers central aspects of Christian life such as the development of the conscience, the life of virtue, commitment to human relationships and the discernment of one’s vocation.

PSY 608 – Cognitive/Behavioral Assessment (3 credit hrs)

Offers an overview of the major theories of intelligence and develops basic skills in the administration of commonly used standardized test instruments for assessing cognitive ability and achievement in children, adolescents, and adults. Also covers the basics of report writing and ethical issues pertaining to psychological assessment. (Prerequisites: PSY 504, PSY 516)

PSY 609 – Adult Psychotherapy (3 credit hrs)

The purpose of this course is to identify, develop and practice core clinical skills and tasks in the treatment of adult psychopathology. This includes developing and maintaining therapeutic relationships with clients as well as the application of particular systems of psychotherapy in identifying and effectively working toward therapeutic goals. In addition, students will gain a greater ability to critique secular approaches to psychotherapy in light of a Catholic view of the human person and explore psychotherapeutic approaches informed by this anthropology. (Prerequisite: PSY 507)

PSY 610 – Child Psychotherapy (3 credit hrs)

Develops an integrated Catholic framework for understanding family life and the role of parents in raising children. Provides training in basic skills for working with children in therapy including play therapy, behavioral techniques, parenting skills training, and family therapy. Also examines ethical and diversity issues related to the practice of child and family therapy.

PSY 611 – Marital Psychotherapy (3 credit hrs)

Develops an integrated Catholic framework for understanding the nature of marriage and marital relationships. Provides training in basic skills used in the assessment and treatment of marital distress. Also examines ethical and diversity issues related to the practice of marital therapy.

PSY 613 – Personality Assessment (3 credit hrs)

This course offers instruction in basic skills in the administration of commonly used personality tests, including both psychometric and projective approaches to personality assessment. It also offers instruction in report writing skills by examining the ways in which the results of cognitive/behavioral assessment and a variety of personality assessment instruments can be integrated. (Prerequisites: PSY 507, PSY 608)

PSY 629 – Career Counseling and Development: Theories and Techniques (3 credit hrs)

This course provides an analysis of the basic theories of career development including the educational, psychological, and social factors which influence educational and vocational decision making. The use of vocational and educational assessment to advise as to school, work, and college planning is included.

PSY 648 – Diagnosis & Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders (3 credit hrs)

This course will provide an overview of the fundamental concepts in substance abuse and substance-induced disorders. A review of the historical, geographic, economic, socio-cultural, physiological and genetic factors that impact substance misuse and abuse will be covered. Treatment options, different intervention approaches and strategies applicable to substance abuse intervention, as well as barriers to treatment, will also be included.

PSY 681 – Pre-Practicum I (1 credit hr)

This course is part one of a two-part, full year course designed to prepare  students for their intensive clinical experience in the IPS Psychological Services  Center. Students will be oriented to Center operations including clinician duties and  procedures. Practical skills in developing working diagnoses and case  conceptualizations as well as writing progress notes and treatment plans will be  emphasized.

PSY 682 – Pre-Practicum II (1 credit hr)

This course is part two of a two-part, full year course designed to prepare  students for their intensive clinical experience in the IPS Psychological Services  Center. Students will be oriented to Center operations including clinician duties and  procedures. Practical skills in developing working diagnoses and case  conceptualizations as well as writing progress notes and treatment plans will be  emphasized.

PSY 690 – Professional Roles and Clinical Competencies in Counseling and Psychotherapy  (2 credit hrs)

This course will examine the varied professional roles and functions of the mental health professional. This will include and orientation to professional issues, scope of practice as well as professional preparation standards and credentialing. The course will also address critical competencies necessary for a successful externship experience. Practical skills development in case conceptualization and consultation, writing progress notes and treatment plans, along with an understanding of HIPAA and other forms of confidentiality will be emphasized.

PSY 691 – M.S. Clinical Practicum/Externship I (3 credit hrs)

This course is the first part of a two-part course sequence that also includes PSY 692. During these two courses students are placed in clinical practicum sites where they complete a nine-month practicum that provides for a minimum of 600 hours of supervised clinical practice. Students also attend regularly scheduled case consultation groups in which they discuss clinical practice from an integrated Catholic perspective.

PSY 692 – M.S. Clinical Practicum/Externship II (3 credit hrs)

This course is the second part of a two-part course sequence that also includes PSY 691. During these two courses students are placed in clinical practicum sites where they complete a nine-month practicum that provides for a minimum of 600 hours of supervised clinical practice. Students also attend regularly scheduled case consultation groups in which they discuss clinical practice from an integrated Catholic perspective. (Prerequisite: PSY 691)

PSY 696 – Independent Study (Master’s Program) (1-3 credit hrs)

Individualized plan of study designed through agreement between the instructor and student, and approved by the Department Chairman. Such plans may include designated readings, viewing of videotaped learning resources, individual meetings for discussion with the instructor, research, and writing, as well as other types of assignments. The instructor determines in advance the requirements and criteria by which a grade is assigned and the number of credit hours to be awarded. Students are limited to a maximum combination of two independent study and psychology seminar courses per degree program. (Prerequisite: Consent of Faculty Advisor and Department Chair)

PSY 697 – Psychology Seminar (Master’s Program) (1-3 credit hrs)

This seminar course offered to a group of students on a topic or topics specified by the instructor and approved by the Department Chair. The seminar format typically includes regularly scheduled class meetings in which the instructor gives lectures and/or facilitates discussion. Students are limited to a maximum combination of two independent study and psychology seminar courses per degree program (Prerequisite: Consent of Faculty Advisor and Department Chair.)

PSY 701 – Foundational Clinical Practicum/Externship I (3 credit hrs)

This course reflects time spent gaining clinical experience at the externship site. Students also attend and present regularly scheduled case consultation groups which focus on skill development in the areas of diagnosis, treatment planning, clinical skills, and provision of services from an integrated perspective. (Co-requisite: Placement in the IPS Center)

PSY 702 – Foundational Clinical Practicum/Externship II (3 credit hrs)

This course reflects time spent gaining clinical experience at the externship site. Students also attend and present regularly scheduled case consultation groups which focus on skill development in the areas of diagnosis, treatment planning, clinical skills, and provision of services from an integrated perspective. (Prerequisite: PSY 701)

PSY 703 – Foundational Clinical Practicum/Externship III (2 credit hrs)

This course reflects time spent gaining clinical experience at the externship site. Students also attend and present regularly scheduled case consultation groups which focus on skill development in the areas of diagnosis, treatment planning, clinical skills, and provision of services from an integrated perspective. (Prerequisite: PSY 701 & PSY 702)

PSY 718 – Research Design for the Psychological Sciences (3 credit hrs)

This course presents concepts related to experimental design: validity and reliability, unobtrusive, quasi-experimental and experimental research design, as well as small-n methodology. Philosophy of science as it relates to data analysis will be examined. Survey research topics are covered. Research ethics and the writing of research reports are also addressed. (Prerequisite: PSY 504)

PSY 721 – Cognition & Emotion (3 credit hrs)

This is a survey course in modern cognitive psychology, including perception, attention, memory, knowledge, imagery, language, problem solving, reasoning, decision-making, and emotion and memory. Issues of emotion and memory, and the controversy over recovered/false memories is examined.

PSY 724 – Advanced Adult Psychotherapy (4 credit hrs)

This is an advanced seminar on methods of individual psychotherapy, with a concentration on interpersonal psychotherapy. The instructor will draw from among the principles of interpersonal psychotherapy, object relations theory, attachment theory, cognitive therapy, family systems and others. A Catholic Anthropology will be integrated into the subject matter. Issues concerning culture, ethnicity, gender, religious values and other client characteristics will be addressed. The course will include didactic and experiential learning. Sessions from students’ clinical caseloads will be reviewed and critiqued. (Prerequisite: PSY 609)

PSY 729 – Advanced Statistical Methods (3 credit hrs)

This course builds on the basic concepts presented in PSY 504 to examine more advanced statistical analyses. These include factorial and multivariate analysis of variance, multiple regression, meta-analysis, and structural equation modeling. Primary emphasis in the class will be in understanding and critiquing the statistical analyses presented in clinical psychology journals as an adjunct to lifelong learning.

PSY 734 – Advanced Child, Marital, and Family Therapy (3 credit hrs)

PSY 734 promotes mastery of basic knowledge and skills obtained in the earlier courses PSY 610 and PSY 611, as well as introducing advanced knowledge and training in the areas of child, marital, and family therapy. Methodologies and techniques covered in PSY 734 include play therapy, parenting skills training, family therapy with children, and marital therapy. The course also enhances students’ understanding and application of the ethical issues and diversity issues involved in the utilization of these therapeutic interventions. Throughout the course, connections are made to practicing these methodologies from an integrated Catholic perspective. (Prerequisites: PSY 610, PSY 611)

PSY 736 – Child Psychopathology (2 credit hrs)

This course provides a broad overview of child psychopathology initially focusing on understanding basic concepts, historical context, developmental influences, theoretical perspectives, research methodology, and issues related to assessment and classification. This will be followed by a comprehensive survey of the major categories of child psychopathological disturbances with an emphasis on empirically supported interventions for treating the various disorders.

PSY 760 – Professional Roles and Issues (2 credit hrs)

This seminar examines the multiple career opportunities and professional roles of professional psychologists. Topics include academic careers, clinical practice in a variety of settings, scholarly publishing and presentations, and involvement in professional associations. In addition, students construct a curriculum vitae and develop a strategic career plan.

PSY 801 – Advanced Clinical Practicum/Externship I (3 credit hrs)

This course reflects time spent gaining clinical experience at the externship site.  Students also attend and present at regularly scheduled case consultation groups which focus on sharing the diversity of clinical experiences obtained through the variety of external site placements, with input from the University faculty on how these experiences interface with the perspective of the University training model. (Corequisite: Placement in an the University approved externship. Typically completed by students in their fourth year of the Psy.D. Program. (Prerequisite: PSY 703)

PSY 802 – Advanced Clinical Practicum/Externship II (3 credit hrs)

Second of two required semesters of advanced clinical experience at the externship site. This course reflects time spent gaining clinical experience at the externship site. Students also attend and present regularly scheduled case consultation groups which focus on skill development in the areas of diagnosis, treatment planning, clinical skills, and provision of services from an integrated perspective. (see Prerequisite: PSY 801 for additional details)

PSY 815 – Psychology of Religion (3 credit hrs)

This course will provide an overview of the empirical psychology of religion as well as more general social scientific perspectives on religion. Topics will include issues of measurement, faith development, religion in adolescence, its effects on health and at-risk behavior, religious coping styles, conversion, religious experience and mysticism, as well as the treatment of religion in attachment theory, evolutionary perspectives, the cognitive science of religion, and the spirituality and/or/versus religion debate. “New” religions, totalistic movements, and the “new atheism” will also be examined.

PSY 820 – Group Psychotherapy (3 credit hrs)

This course will cover evidence-based therapeutic factors that operate in most group interventions and the role of these in long term, short term and specialty groups. It will include didactic and experiential learning, case presentations, seminar discussion and analysis of group research. The course will also illustrate how Catholic Anthropological principles might apply to group life.

PSY 822 – Biological Bases of Behavior (3 credit hrs)

This course introduces students to the structure and functions of the central nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, and the endocrine system. It is designed to introduce students to the “bio” in “biopsychosocial.” Areas covered include sensory and perceptual processes, physiological regulation of the sleep and waking cycles, eating behaviors, motivation, and affect. The etiology of psychopathology will be considered from a biological perspective, and students understanding of the influences of biological systems on clinical disorders.

PSY 825 – Social Psychology (3 credit hrs)

Serves as an overview of the major theories, areas of study, and research methodologies in the field of social psychology. Includes such topics as impression formation, attribution theory, social influence, attitude development and change, prejudice and discrimination, antisocial and prosocial behaviors, affiliation and attraction, and sex role behaviors. Behaviors strongly intertwined with affect such as aggression, prejudice, and interpersonal attraction and intimate relations, as well as contemporary theories of affective influences are examined.

PSY 827 – Cultural, Religious, and Individual Diversity in Clinical Practice (3 credit hrs)

This course systematically covers the cultural, religious, and individual diversity considerations central to effective functioning of a clinical psychologist. In addition to reviewing the adjustments in clinical practice expected when working with individuals from diverse backgrounds, attention is given to the need which often arises to coordinate treatment efforts with other professionals who are involved in caring for the client.

PSY 830 – The Psychologist as Consultant, Supervisor and Educator (3 credit hrs)

As leaders, psychologists find themselves called to participate in many roles beyond those of clinical practice and research. This course introduces students to the leadership roles of consultation, supervision, and teaching. Students will be introduced to the literature concerning these areas, as well as being provided with opportunities for experiential learning about these roles.

PSY 832 – Integrative Dissertation Seminar (3 credit hrs)

This seminar is the final integration course in the Psy.D. curriculum. Its purpose is to review, refine, and further develop the students’ understanding of psychology from an integrated perspective. The seminar also serves to assist students in adopting an integrated approach to the completion of their doctoral dissertation.

PSY 836 – Advanced Personality Assessment (4 credit hrs)

This course develops skills in the administration and interpretation of more advanced projective personality techniques such as the Rorschach. Report writing skills are developed further by examining the ways in which the results of a variety of psychological assessment instruments can be integrated and used to make diagnoses and treatment recommendations. (Prerequisite: PSY 613)

PSY 890 – Pre-Doctoral Internship (0 credit hrs)

This is a non-credit course for doctoral students completing their pre-doctoral internship.  Students participating in off-site internship will be considered fully enrolled.

PSY 896 – Independent Study (PsyD. Program) (1-3 credit hrs)

Individualized plan of study designed through agreement between the instructor and student, and approved by the Department Chair. Such plans may include designated readings, viewing of videotaped learning resources, individual meetings for discussion with the instructor, research, and writing, as well as other types of assignments. The instructor determines in advance the requirements and criteria by which a grade is assigned and the number of credit hours to be awarded. Students are limited to a maximum combination of two Independent Study and Psychology Seminar courses per degree program. (Prerequisite: Consent of Faculty Advisor and Department Chair)

PSY 897 – Psychology Seminar (1-3 credit hrs)

This seminar course is offered to a group of students on a topic or topics specified by the instructor and approved by the Department Chair. The seminar format typically includes regularly held class meetings in which the instructor gives lectures and/or facilitates discussion. Students are limited to a maximum combination of two Independent Study and Psychology Seminar courses per degree program. (Prerequisite: Consent of Faculty Advisor and Department Chair)

PSY 897 – Psychology Seminar: Existential Issues in Psychology and Psychotherapy (3 credit hrs)

This course surveys existential issues from its roots in philosophy and literature to its specification in the field of psychology and psychotherapy. Among the issues covered are the existence of the ‘I’ and its meaning, love and suffering, freedom, isolation, and death. While this course is principally theoretical in nature, case studies and clinical methodology will be discussed in order to facilitate integration into clinical work.

Psychology Seminar courses per degree program. (Prerequisite: Consent of Faculty Advisor and Department Chair)

PSY 897 – Psychology Seminar: Emotion-Focused Therapy for Individuals and Couples (2 credit hrs)

This clinical seminar will cover an introduction to the theory, research, and practice of the Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) model for individuals and couples.  A focus will be on understanding how emotional awareness, comfort to distress with emotion, levels of emotional expressiveness, and regulation of emotions are shaped by early and ongoing systemic, developmental, and transactional processes.  Specific techniques for treatment will be examined, viewed, and role-played.  Techniques will include exploring emotions through visceral sensations and deep empathy, developing emotional tolerance, accessing primary underlying emotions, understanding emotions in the context of attachment and identity needs, identifying key interactional cycles, and having corrective emotional experiences. The underlying scientific and philosophical presuppositions and the clinical techniques of this treatment model will be examined in light of a Catholic-Christian understanding of human flourishing and languishing. (Prerequisite: Consent of Faculty Advisor and Department Chair)

PSY 897 – Psychology Seminar: Rorschach R-PAS System (3 credit hrs)

This course develops advanced skills in the administration and interpretation of the Rorschach Inkblot Technique using the Rorschach – Performance Assessment System (R-PAS).  This course will cover the necessary information for those who have previous Rorschach experience with other systems in order to convert their abilities to the use of the R-PAS system.  Advanced report writing skills are developed using the R-PAS interpretations regarding psychological strengths, weaknesses, and diagnostic clarity. (Prerequisites: PSY 613 Personality Assessment, PSY 836 Advanced Personality Assessment, Consent of Faculty Advisor and Department Chair)

PSY 897 – Psychology Seminar: Psychopharmacology (3 credit hrs)

This course develops an understanding of psychopharmacology with respect to the pathological basis for treatment, drug nomenclature, mechanisms of action and side-effects, drug-drug interactions, preliminary treatment considerations, and ethical-legal issues related to pharmacologic treatment.(Prerequisite: Consent of Faculty Advisor and Department Chair)

PSY 899 – Dissertation (1-3 credit hrs)

Registration for dissertation hours is required for all Psy.D. students from the time the Dissertation Chair is appointed until their dissertation is defended.

PHT 535 – The Catholic Vision of Spiritual Maturity (2 credit hours)

This course examines the structure, dynamics, and mechanisms for spiritual progress as understood in the Catholic tradition. Students will become familiar with the major spiritual writers in the Catholic tradition, and also explore the similarities and differences between a Christ-centered spirituality and select schools of thought.

PHT 614 – Practical Reasoning and Moral Character (3 credit hours)

This course examines practical reasoning, moral character, and the virtues, in a philosophical and theological perspective, with special attention to the Catholic tradition and clinical psychology. Together with the other integrative anthropological courses offered at the University, it provides an introduction to the most important philosophical and theological texts that are pertinent to the practice of clinical psychology.

PHT 635 – Theology of Marriage and Family (3 credit hrs)

This course will introduce the student to the nature, origins, and purposes of marriage and family life. It will examine the continuity and development of Catholic teaching on marriage and family. It will also put this doctrine in a historical, psychological, philosophical, and theological context. It will address several issues that are especially pertinent to the psychological sciences, including disorders and privations related to romance, marriage, and family life. Together with the other integrative anthropological courses offered at the University, it provides an introduction to the most important philosophical and theological texts that are pertinent to the practice of clinical psychology.

LIB 500 – Library and Information Use & Research (0 credit hrs)

This course is required for all entering students and provides an in-depth review of library organization, collections, services, and online resources; presents the methodologies of information searching, strategy development, and evaluation; and reviews the evaluation of information and information sources.