Training Philosophy and Model

Our Program is based on the “practitioner-scholar” model, emphasizing both the practice and science of clinical psychology. In preparing students to enter the mental health field as practitioner-scholars, we utilize sequential training, adopting the APA’s Benchmarks Model to assess professional competencies at three stages of learning—prior to practicum placement, prior to internship placement, and after graduation—as students move towards independent practice.


We recognize the importance of training students to work with a diverse public through adherence to the APA’s multicultural guidelines, including acknowledging the reality that biases and assumptions often remain hidden, and can undermine effective client care when working with those who have a different cultural background (APA, 2002). Because of this, faculty within our Program work with students to be sensitive to cultural differences, embedding formal and informal educational strategies within the five-year experience to help students cultivate an open, receptive, and flexible posture towards ameliorating worldview conflicts and unconscious attitudes that may undermine client self-determination (APA, 2002). To do this, “culture-centered” research is emphasized, with the curriculum drawing out the importance of working from within clients’ own framework (APA, 2002).

Students are exposed to original, peer-reviewed sources, including theoretical and scientific journal articles and textbooks. As an example, students draw from peer-reviewed journals within the psychology literature, interacting with empirical research articles (e.g., randomized trials, meta-analyses, correlation studies, mediation/moderation studies), theoretical articles, and literature reviews, rather than solely drawing from textbooks as secondary sources (as is the case in many undergraduate courses). By doing this, students are going directly to the original source, learning to be consumers of psychological science, critically evaluating research along the way. What is more, students have the opportunity to join a research group in the second year of the Program, and, thus, contribute to an original research project that may be peer-reviewed in the context of a presentation at an academic conference or submission to a journal for publication.

We believe that the Christian faith, including the rich heritage of Christian writers who have elucidated an astute psychospiritual understanding of the human condition (especially suffering), can play an important role in working with Christian consumers of mental health services. At times, the Christian tradition can enhance secular models of psychotherapy (both theoretical and evidence-based) when working with Christian clients. At other times, though, emerging research on distinctly Christian approaches can help Christian clients to draw from their own faith tradition in a culturally sensitive (and empirically-supported) manner. Students are able to compare and contrast psychological and biblical models (theory and theology), and explore the burgeoning psychology of religion literature, which offers both theoretical and empirical understandings of the psychological function of religion. What is more, students are able to explore ways to think about building and testing theory so as to meet the needs of Christian clients, drawing from a Christian worldview in order to offer culturally sensitive, evidence-based care to a large segment of the American population. Students who do not identify as Christian are able to uncover ways to work sensitively with Christian consumers of mental health services, valuing individual and cultural diversity as they meet the needs of faith-based clients.


To prepare doctoral students for entry-level practice in the field of clinical psychology.


To graduate the next generation of health service psychologists to live their purpose as 21st century “Good Samaritans,” training burgeoning mental health professionals to be academically prepared through discipline-specific knowledge, globally minded and equipped to serve via profession-wide competencies, and biblically rooted by integrating psychological science and the Christian faith.


To prepare practitioner-scholars to competently, ethically, and effectively acquire clinical skills in the foundational and functional areas of professionalism, relationships, psychological science, the application of theoretical and empirical models of assessment, intervention, and consultation to health service psychology, supervision, and working in multidisciplinary settings. By concentrating on a sequential, developmental approach that emphasizes the gradual attainment of clinical competencies at three successive levels of training, graduates will secure the requisite knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to transition from doctoral education to the internship process, culminating with independent psychology licensure and practice. Through blending empirical evidence and clinical practice—drawing inspiration from the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-36) along the way—graduates from the Program will be equipped to serve those in need within contemporary society, responding to suffering with a servant’s heart so as to ameliorate the stigma of mental disorders through compassion, kindness, and empathy.

Student Learning Outcomes*

  • Developing General Knowledge in the Discipline of Psychology: Students will understand and apply a knowledge of the history and systems of psychology, theories of psychotherapy, affective, biological, cognitive, developmental, sociological, and abnormal bases of behavior, integrative knowledge within multiple domains of psychology, research approaches, and psychometrics to health service psychology.
  • Developing Specific Competencies in the Profession of Clinical Psychology: Students will understand the role that several key competencies play in health service psychology, developing these skills incrementally as they move from practicum placement to internship, followed by graduation and independent practice. The six competency domains within the Program focus on (a) professionalism, (b) relationships, (c) science, (d) the application of evidence-based practice, assessment, intervention, and consultation, (e) supervision, and (f) systems, all of which emphasize the value of individual and cultural diversity and the empirical literature within clinical psychology.
  • Blending Psychological Science and a Christian Worldview: Students will be biblically rooted within the profession of clinical psychology, developing the ability to integrate a Christian worldview into previously developed and well-established theories and empirical models, starting with psychological science as the foundation and exploring ways the Christian tradition aligns with clinical psychology. Students will also learn how to begin with a Christian worldview, using several biblical traditions to build, test, and evaluate theory, starting with the Bible as the foundation, and exploring ways the scientific method can help to enrich, deepen, and empirically validate a biblical view of suffering and healing in the 21st century by focusing on assessment and intervention for Christian clients.

*The first two Student Learning Outcomes for the Program, including the structure and much of the language/terminology, are drawn from the knowledge and competencies presented in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology (SoA) and Implementing Regulations (IRs) (see, as well as the APA’s Competency Benchmarks in Professional Psychology (see The California Code of Regulations (see Article 3. Education and Training) has also been used to develop the areas of knowledge that are necessary for California psychology licensure. All three outcomes draw from CBU’s “Core 4” University outcomes.


Within the CBU PsyD Program, 13 competencies are emphasized, organized around six clusters and drawn from APA’s Benchmarks Model. These competency clusters include professionalism (i.e., professional values and attitudes, individual and cultural diversity, ethical and legal standards and policy, reflective practice, self-assessment, and self-care), relationships, science (i.e., scientific knowledge, methods, and research), application (i.e., evidence-based practice, assessment, intervention, consultation), supervision, and systems (i.e., interdisciplinary systems, advocacy). Students are assessed along these competency-based dimensions in their coursework, practicum placements, internship, dissertation, clinical competency exam, and other Program-related mediums.


The CBU PsyD Program is a traditional, full-time, five-year program, with mostly evening and weekend courses. Students complete four years of academic coursework, along with three years of practicum (one internal placement and two external placements). In the fifth year of the Program, a one-year, full-time internship placement is required. Each year, cohort sizes consist of approximately 20 students.

Degree Requirements

The Program requires 128 units, with several course sequences that focus on sequential learning. Through CBU’s coursework, students cultivate a knowledge-base and competencies to prepare them for success in clinical practice. By blending discipline-specific knowledge and profession-wide competencies, the courses within the Program allow students to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to wear multiple “hats” within health service psychology, moving from their first practicum placement, to a full-time internship placement, to independent practice after graduation.

Students complete three years of practicum placement, including an internal and two external practicums. In each placement, students accrue 500 hours of supervised experience. In the first two years of practicum, students focus on intervention-related training, whereas the third practicum placement emphasizes assessment.

These three years of practicum prepare students for the next step, which involves a full-time internship placement. Along the way, students work with the Director of Clinical Training (DCT) to ensure their training needs are being met and that they are developing the necessary professional competencies to move towards independent practice upon graduation from the Program.

In the fifth year of the Program, students complete a full-time internship. With this placement, students continue to develop key professional competencies, which will eventually prepare them for independent practice.

In the fall semester before the full-time internship year, students will complete a clinical competency exam, which will loosely follow the ABPP Clinical Psychology oral and written evaluation for board certification. This portfolio will include a professional statement, along with write-ups of both an assessment and intervention case.

Students will work formally with a dissertation chair in order to develop, propose, and defend an original dissertation. Dissertation types include a quantitative, qualitative, literature review, theoretical, or program development and evaluation dissertation.

To graduate from the Program, students need to complete a minimum of 40 hours of individual psychotherapy with a licensed psychologist in order to focus on professional development, the attainment of self-insight, the resolution of family-of-origin conflict, or other sources of potential countertransference. The licensed psychologist must not be someone affiliated with the Program or CBU community, consistent with Standard 7.05 of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.

Students are required to join the APA as a Graduate Student Affiliate Member during the first semester of the Program (see By doing this, students will be able to start the socialization process, identifying with the field of clinical psychology. As a student affiliate member of the APA, students receive the APA’s Monitor on Psychology and American Psychologist, and can stay current on trends within the field of clinical psychology. This student membership must be maintained for the entire duration of the Program.

While in the Program, students are expected to attend at least one conference, which may include a conference hosted by the California Psychological Association, Western Psychological Association, or APA. This type of an event will provide students with exposure to networking opportunities, continuing education, poster and paper presentations, and other avenues for scholarship.

Career Paths

Graduates of the CBU PsyD Program may have many career options, including conducting assessments and interventions in a wide variety of settings as a clinical psychologist. Graduates may also choose to work full time in higher education as a professor of psychology or related field. Additional career options may include working as an administrator at a mental health agency, serving as a consultant, or working as a researcher, conducting original research related to program development and evaluation, test construction, and so on.