The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology degree program provides formal training in the science and practice of clinical psychology. In addition to broad and rigorous preparation in clinical psychology, the program provides training in theory and treatment inspired by positive psychology and both secular and spiritual concepts and interventions. Mindfulness as a source of both clinician self-care and treatment interventions is a core component of the curriculum.
After degree completion, graduates are prepared for a career as a licensed clinical psychologist, which may include work in substance abuse and mental health treatment settings, corrections agencies, private practice, supervisory and program development positions in healthcare settings, teaching, and/or research.
Advisors meet with each student quarterly for ongoing mentoring, advising, and review of students’ progress. Annually, advisors meet with each student for a formal review of student progress. When necessary, students will meet with appropriate faculty members, advisors, and the Program Chair for further discussion and recommendation.
Students may elect to receive the Master of Arts in Psychology (MA) degree while enrolled in the PsyD program after successful completion of a sub-set of the total PsyD requirements. Students may not apply for the MA or enter Sofia University with the intention of completing the MA alone. However, during the course of their studies, they may petition for receipt of the master’s degree.
State Authorizations for Distance Education
Sofia University is licensed, registered, authorized, certified, or formally exempt in the following states and territories as indicated on our State Authorizations page.
Please visit our Professional Licensure page for more information.
Reflects a distinctive, in some ways irreducible, human motivation–the yearning for the sacred that contributes in unique ways to health and well-being. Spirituality is increasingly being studied in psychology as a virtue in positive psychology, and as a mechanism of change in mindfulness and acceptance-based psychotherapies.
The spiritual orientation of the Sofia PsyD program is predicated on research demonstrating that the presence of spiritual and/or religious practices in a person’ life has significant and long-lasting benefits for psychological and physical health and that sensitive and evidence-based incorporation of the client’s spiritual beliefs and practices builds the therapeutic alliance.
The spiritual orientation to clinical psychology that underlies the program is nondenominational. Spiritual and culturally-based religious beliefs and practices as well as an understanding of major world religions are integral to training to be a proficient clinical psychologist in research, assessment, and therapy.
Practices enhance a training therapist’s ability to attend to and empathize with the client. They also cultivate qualities including compassion and unconditional positive regard that are among the common factors shown to strengthen the therapeutic relationship and improve outcome. Studies have demonstrated that therapists value mindfulness training and see it as helpful to their role as a clinician.
Mindfulness practices taught at Sofia University include qigong, aikido, and vipassana meditation. It may seem paradoxical to include aikido, a martial art, as a way to train psychology students in mindfulness and relationship building skills. However, aikido is a form of moving meditation that requires the mind to be focused in the here-and-now, and in harmony with the movement of the body. Also, aikido emphasizes the importance of connecting, collaborating, and blending with a partner that provides an experiential understanding of core psychotherapeutic relational factors that impact effectiveness such as unconditional positive regard (there is no competition in aikido practice, only collaboration), therapeutic presence, staying centered when challenged by clients and blending empathically with clients.
The branch of psychology uses scientific understanding and evidence-based interventions to enhance well-being rather than focusing on treating psychological symptoms and problems. While having its roots in humanistic and transpersonal psychology, which focused heavily on happiness and fulfillment, positive psychology emphasizes the use of the scientific method to develop and assess interventions that further human functioning and flourishing. Forgiveness, compassion, and gratitude are some of the topics covered in the Sofia PsyD curriculum.
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