Pacifica Graduate Institute Announces New Degree Program: Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology

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The Psy.D. is designed to be completed in four years total: three years of curriculum plus one year of pre-doctoral internship and dissertation completion. The Psy.D. will require students to complete 1,000 hours of practicum during Years Two and Three of the program, followed by 1,500 hours of internship in Year Four of the program. The Psy.D. program will hold classes on a quarter system, with three sessions per quarter comprising three-day sessions (Friday morning through Sunday afternoon) approximately once each month during Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, with a seven-day Summer session, over a period of three years. The fourth year does not include attendance of classes on campus, although students typically continue to work on their dissertations during this time.

“The new program offers the graduates of our M.A. program in Counseling Psychology the opportunity of a fast track to the doctoral degree by allowing the transfer of nearly a year of credits from their M.A. " - Joseph Cambray, Ph.D., President of Pacifica

Pacifica Graduate Institute is an accredited graduate school offering Master’s and doctoral degree programs framed in the traditions of depth psychology. Founded in 1976, with a mission to “tend the soul in and of the world,” the Institute has over 4,000 graduates worldwide and offers eight distinct programs to serve the needs of our students, including Clinical Psychology; Counseling Psychology; Depth Psychology with Specializations in: Community, Liberation, Indigenous, and Eco-Psychologies; Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices; Jungian and Archetypal Studies; and separate programs in Engaged Humanities, as well as Mythological Studies. Pacifica has established an educational environment that nourishes respect for cultural diversity and individual differences, and an academic community that fosters a spirit of free and open inquiry. Students have access to rare and significant collections in the fields of mythology, archetypal psychology, and world cultures, including the private collection of Joseph Campbell, at the OPUS Archives. Pacifica’s two campuses are located between the coastal foothills and the Pacific Ocean, a few miles south of Santa Barbara, California.

In an increasingly complex world, the scholarship and service of Pacifica’s faculty, staff, alumni, and students offer a soul-centered “intelligence” integral to what is being asked of us now. A natural progression of our mission is the introduction of a new degree program, to be offered starting Fall 2020: The Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology. The program offers a uniquely immersive, experiential, and relationally designed doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology that will prepare graduates for licensure as licensed psychologists. This exciting new program is deeply informed by principles of psychodynamic psychology, and it emphasizes a psychotherapy practice that appreciates the importance of the unconscious life in the individual and in communities. Following a practitioner-scholar model, the Psy.D. Program in Counseling Psychology represents Pacifica’s commitment to grounding the principles of depth psychology in clinical practice within community settings. Its graduates will be prepared to function as licensed psychologists in a variety of applied settings, including private practice, community mental health, substance abuse, and dual diagnosis settings, hospital and inpatient settings, the nonprofit and private sectors, and many other professional contexts.

Matthew Bennett, Psy.D., a longtime core faculty member of Pacifica Graduate Institute, and Chair of the M.A. Program in Counseling Psychology, will serve as the Chair of the new Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology Program. Bringing together the longstanding traditions and culture of Pacifica’s M.A. program in Counseling Psychology, the Psy.D. will join the M.A. to form a contiguous Department of Counseling Psychology. Matthew Bennett is a licensed clinical psychologist, lecturer, and administrator with experience in public sector mental health and substance abuse treatment. He was formerly founder and first Director of Training for the Ventura County Behavioral Health Pre-Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology and Chair-Elect of the Psychology Department at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, California. His research interests include personality disorders, comparative personality theory, and Internet applications for mental health. Dr. Bennett is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer (“Poland III, 1991–1993”).

It is Dr. Bennett’s view that “It’s a rare opportunity to get doctoral-level training in applied professional psychology that’s informed by psychodynamic depth-psychological principles. I would say that psychodynamic perspectives have become scarce in higher education, and this program uniquely combines an applied clinical focus to valuable perspectives that reflect the role of the unconscious and imaginal to our individual and collective psychological lives. The new Psy.D. reflects the momentum of a long-established and highly successful M.A. program that has a proven history of providing both sophisticated clinical training that allows graduates to hit the ground running in a variety of applied clinical settings, while also training our students to be able to tolerate strong emotional experiences and to develop and elaborate capacities for interpersonal attunement.”

Joseph Cambray, Ph.D., President of Pacifica, adds, “The new program offers the graduates of our M.A. program in Counseling Psychology the opportunity of a fast track to the doctoral degree by allowing the transfer of nearly a year of credits from their M.A. This would reduce their doctoral work by a year and correspondingly reduce their costs by the same amount. There are a significant number of alumni who can pursue this doctorate by applying their previous classwork to this end. This will in turn allow them to broaden the range of what they can do as clinical practitioners, i.e., the ability to function at a doctoral level as a psychologist. We’ve also been privileged to offer Coverdell Fellowships for this program. These fellowships are for returning Peace Corps volunteers, who can apply to this program and if successful, receive three years of partial tuition waivers.”

The Psy.D. is designed to be completed in four years total: three years of curriculum plus one year of pre-doctoral internship and dissertation completion. The Psy.D. will require students to complete 1,000 hours of practicum during Years Two and Three of the program, followed by 1,500 hours of internship in Year Four of the program. The Psy.D. program will hold classes on a quarter system, with three sessions per quarter comprising three-day sessions (Friday morning through Sunday afternoon) approximately once each month during Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, with a seven-day Summer session, over a period of three years. The fourth year does not include attendance of classes on campus, although students typically continue to work on their dissertations during this time.

The new Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology Program is currently enrolling for Fall 2020.

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John Ziegler
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