Are there any All-But-Dissertation (ABD) Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D./Ph.D.) completion programs?

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by PositiveSoul, Jan 24, 2023.

  1. Chanel1

    Chanel1 New Member

    sanantone is absolutely correct in this. The doctor program needs to train individuals to provide psychological Services as a healthcare services provider. While not every school utilizes that term, that is the generic term for any program that leads to licensure as a psychologist in all 50 states. So it's the degree that matters. If you were to transfer those courses into a degree that was not clinically based, such as a doctor of forensic sciences, or doctor of cyberpsychology, the degree itself would not meet. The board evaluators would simply look at the degree program at the website and determine that it does not meet the requirements. That's what the evaluators do. You see on the board website they have a list of schools that people have attended and identifies if they have passed the EPPP. So the board has probably evaluated a psychologist from any school that has a clinical program. Anyone can look it up. And when they come across a new school that is unclear whether it's clinically oriented, they will investigate. In California it's different at the Masters level because the BBS evaluators have programs fill out a specific form identifying which courses meet which content requirements, which are very specific and way more comprehensive than the board of psychology requirement. And many other states applicants for the license of psychology have to fill out a document identifying which courses meet which domains. The domains are aligned with the APA accreditation requirements, even when the program is not APA acccredited. So the general area is that sanantone mentioned, those are APA programmatic content requirements that many non-accredited programs align themselves. Cal Southern has all of these.

    As mentioned in the above post, the board updated their requirements about what types of degrees are now allowable, and they have to have very specific terminology in the degree major or it's intent, or it's already approved by the board of psychology. Someone with an out-of-state doctorate may qualify when the degree is evaluated by NACES to meet program requirements and supporting documentation is provided. However I was at a board meeting where they met with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists who specializes in doing evaluations for international and foreign degrees in psychology. This organization was pitching that they should take over the evaluations for the board because they specialize in doing this and specifically will require the university to demonstrate that they had multiple students in the program, that they have multiple qualified faculty with doctoral degrees and psychology providing the education and that it included practicum and internship. They have not yet made a decision about whether they will solely utilize this service, but I can imagine like several other states do, this may be coming down the pipeline. I say this because while the degree from Universidad Central de Nicaragua has been evaluated as equivalent to a US degree by some NACES, should the board specifically only work with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, I suspect that the the degree would not pass demonstrating certain requirements.

    Specifically the law says the following:

    Applicants for licensure that apply on and after January 1, 2020, shall possess an earned doctoral degree from a college or institution of higher education that is accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education in any of the following:
    • Psychology with the field of specialization in clinical, counseling, school, consulting, forensic, industrial, or organizational psychology.
    • Education with the field of specialization in counseling psychology, educational psychology, or school psychology.
    • A field of specialization designed to prepare graduates for the professional practice of psychology

    Again the doctoral degree needs to have a very specific title, educational psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, forensics psychology or the others listed above. No other variations are accepted. I know this because I often attend board meetings (which are also open to the public), as I used to be an associate professor for Argosy for many years before they closed all of their doors in 2019 and did a lot of accreditation and content review for our programs, mostly the Masters for clinical and marital family therapy license, but occasionally addressing some of the content for the doctor of education in counseling psychology program. California BOP is becoming more strict, but really just aligning itself with many other states that already have these requirements.

    Regarding your statement that the university does not assist with placement for internship. I know that is a complaint for many of the students there, but it's also the complaint for almost any non APA acccredited program. Almost none of them assist with this placement unless the University is specifically located in california and likely does not have a fully online program, so the university is able to make direct connections with local community stakeholders and organizations. CalSouthern is a 100% online program, no way that they could hire enough staff to develop contracts with all 50 states and its territories, and all the counties within all of those States. And there's no way for cal southern to guarantee these organizations that they will have psychologists for each one of those mou's established. So it does fall on the student (Learner) to find their own site, but they do provide you a list of sites that have been utilized by students in California and are familiar with cal southern. However as aforementioned, you simply can complete your doctorate and register with the board of psychology as a psychological associate (updated term as I used to call us psychological assistant) and complete all of your hours full-time or part-time or whatever the organization and your supervisor is comfortable with. Since you're working in it and you make good money and not looking to change careers immediately, there is no way in my mind that you can complete an internship within the program which lasts a minimum of one year and 1500 hours. You would have to work full-time in order to achieve that, and when I say full time I mean approximately 30 hours a week, which is historically what the board has identified as meeting their weekly requirements. But as a psychological associate you can work part-time, work on the weekends, work early in the mornings, work at night, whatever the private practice or the organization has available and is willing to work around your schedule, a lot more freedom.

    So all I know you are interested in finding a different program, or maybe a loophole, this is not to discourage you but to give you just practical information, and a little advice. I would finish the program there, you were so close, you have the comp exam which is a bunch of essays, then you have your doctoral project which is pretty straightforward, a big template that you just fill out as you were doing your research, and before you know what you are defending and done. Years ago I finished a doctor at a marriage family therapy because it only took 3 years, and I regretted it ever since because I really wanted to initially do the psychology license but didn't want to spend the extra time. I went back and got it but if I could have done things differently I would have just went ahead and got the psychology degree and license early on. I now run a part-time practice, from a full-time previous practice, because once I got my registration with the board of psychology and needed supervision. I'm actually happy with the setup, I have a great supervisor, and I still get to have my practice providing counseling while doing psychological assessments as a psychological assistant.

    California is literally the easiest state to get license in. Almost every other state, if you pull up their board, when you pull up the application for licensure, they have a form that specifically identifies what courses meet the specific content, you often have to have a practicum along with an internship. Missing any content, missing the practicum, missing the internship identified specifically on the transcript, null and voids your ability to obtain licensure in that state, unless you are applying by reciprocity.

    Regarding reputation and name of the University. Clients do not care where you got your degree from as long as your license and competent. I've only found that individuals who might have attended a more prominent name School might have something to say, but employers don't have any issues as long as you are licensed. The only limitation is if you were wanting to work for specific organizations, like State hospitals, psych hospitals with APA acccredited internships that require someone with an APA accredited doctorate to do supervision, or the VA. Those are the only places that really have a requirement to have an APA credit degree come in there for the schools have a bit more prominence. Outside of that they only care whether you have a license.

    I apologize for any typos, using my speak to text for most of this. Hope this helps and hope you can make a decision that benefits you and supports your future career goals.
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  2. PositiveSoul

    PositiveSoul Member

    As kindly advised by @Chanel1 and @sanantone, my Psy.D. journey continues at CalSouthern. I just finished all of my core and elective courses and will be working on my Comprehensive Exam next.

    In the meantime, I have sent the following email to the California Board of Psychology just to put the field of Cyberpsychology on their radar which I think will become very important in the near future:

    Hi there,

    Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to respond to my email.

    Given California is a pioneer and trendsetter state not only in the United States but also in the world in improving the lives of ordinary human beings in many ways as well as being home to Silicon Valley, in my humble point of view, it is prudent for California Board of Psychology to look into the emerging field of cyberpsychology hence I would like to encourage you to read the following articles (Thre are plenty of more on the Internet on this subject.):

    "Cyberpsychology: Defining the Field - Defining the transdisciplinary nature of cyberpsychology in a new era."

    I can only hope that you will find the field of Cyberpsychology very much related to or part of counseling, consulting, forensic, industrial, or organizational psychology thereby considering Ph.D. in Cyberpsychology at Capitol Technology University (CapTech) or any other school a fit for licensure. It will definitely help a lot of aspirants like me in the future and the field of psychology on the whole.

    Your due diligence and a positive response would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you and best regards.

    In return, I have been advised to attend an upcoming California Board of Psychology meeting and raise this issue there which I am planning to attend soon.
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  3. Chanel1

    Chanel1 New Member

    Happy to hear you are continuing your journey - you are probably just 1 year out from finishing depending on your pace!

    My response here is just to give you context on your quest for the BOP to consider cyperpsy..... and the limited ability of the BOP to do so....

    My first doctorate was a Ph.D. in Family Therapy/Family Studies, not clinically based because I already had my MFT masters, with that, and after teaching for many years at Argosy U before they closed, I realized there was a huge difference between clinically oriented courses and concepts, verse concepts that can be applied to clinically oriented courses/concepts.

    You see, Cyberpsychology has many concepts that can apply to clinical concepts, but not in and of itself a clinically developed theory. Let me give a different example, Developmental Psychology is a psychological discipline, and so is Social Psychology, and Cognitive Psychology - all of these are important and help inform the work of mental health providers, but none of them are clinical in nature, on their own - but their concepts are applied directly to clinical application. While you can get a doctorate in Social or Developmental etc... Psychology, you could never be licensed with that degree in CA or any other USA State (without post-certification/retraining) because it is not built for the clinical training of practitioners. This is the same for Cyperpsychology - it's all about how people are impacted by computers and perhaps vice versa - but has no well-defined theories about how to provide intervention - that would be the entire purpose of a Health Care License, which is the purpose of BOP.

    When we look at the disciplines of educational psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, forensics psychology, or the others listed above - we can point to direct services that would be offered collectively, or independent of each other. I would argue that cyberpych would fit under each of these quite nicely and an additional topic/course/concept to be studied and applied, but by itself, not a direct service psychological theory - even more, it's transdisciplinary which creates issues of a theoretical nature that I won't get into!!

    With that said, your enthusiasm for Cyberpsych is well-received and I never wish to tell someone no, or not to pursue something and always wish to encourage them. With that said, the BOP will also invite folks to speak at one of the meetings, it's something they do monthly and I go regularly to theirs and the BBS's. But I know they will do nothing with that info....until the American Psychological Association decides to formally recognize it as a Doctoral Clinical Discipline! So here is my advice:

    1. Email APA folks about cyberpsych
    2. Perhaps write your doc project on it.
    3. It takes hundreds of published (peer reviewed and recognized - impact factor) articles to develop empirical evidence of the efficacy of clinical approaches. Write research on cyberpsych and perhaps develop a theory that could be built on.
    4. Contact ABPP - they are the.... let's say, "Authority" on all things Psych for Board Certification - if they listen, so will everyone else.
    5. Contact ASPPB - they control the examination for licensure in psychology, it's not recognized if you don't get tested on it! Email them and if they listen, yup, so will everyone else!
    6. You need APA, ABPP, and ASPBB to all agree, otherwise, no state Board, such as the CA BOP will update/change the recognition of degrees because they only reflect what is already accepted by the Profession. This of the Frye & Daubert Stanards that we use in court for psychologists and has permitted much of what we do, in short, it must be "generally accepted (by the psyc community)" and "scientifically valid"

    Hope this helps and look forward to hearing and seeing a new way in psychology with you leading!

    I apologize for any typos, using my speak to text for most of this.
  4. PositiveSoul

    PositiveSoul Member

    @Chanel1 , Thank you for your kind encouragement. I am done with my Psy.D. I am looking for a mentor and a licensed psychologist to do my SPEs with for the license. I am in the San Francisco Bay Area (North Bay). Any help, referral, or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    @sanantone , Thank you for this post.

    Is the above information still valid? Any update would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I think West Virginia finally uploaded a document with more details.
    PositiveSoul likes this.
  6. Chanel1

    Chanel1 New Member

    @PositiveSoul My apologies for the delay here, congratulations and I'm so happy that you finished! I don't know if you mentioned this in your previous messages, but it sounds like you probably did not do an internship during the program? That's fine, California allows you to do all 3000 hours after your degree.

    You need to register as a psychological assistant with the Board of Psychology.

    Then you need to apply for position as a psychological assistant either in a private practice, community setting, or other healthcare setting, but if in local government, some hospital settings, the title would be pre-licensed psychologist. Lots positions are on indeed, but I would also look up chronicle jobs, higher education jobs, and If you are not already a member of the PsyD Facebook group, you should join, check out where people who have graduated are working, there are many on there that I'm sure would be happy to tell you where they currently are working, and perhaps direct you to their supervisor. You could also do a quick Google search, type it in the name of the university, and the word psychological assistant or psychologist, and LinkedIn and other websites should pull up where graduates from this University are working as licensed psychologist or psychologists in training.

    Additionally, I believe sometime a year or maybe 2 years ago someone posted a list of all of the clinical sites that the school had an ongoing contract with where students have done their internship, I would download that from the Facebook group, and you can contact those places because they will be familiar with graduates from the program.

    You will have a little more opportunities with some organizations if you did your 1,500 hours within the program - for example Kaiser in your area is hiring for psychological assistants, however they do want the 1,500 hours done, it's shortens the time that they have to provide supervision - several graduates work for Kaiser, they only require you to have your registration and a doctoral degree, they don't care about any other requirements. But just go on indeed and those other websites and there are plenty, plenty of opportunities. My suggestion, become really knowledgeable at psychological assessments.

    PS - California is by far the easiest state to get your psychology license in, to practice as a clinical psychologist. You can be considered and called a psychologist in Virginia, they have two licenses, one a licensed clinical psychologist, and the other applied psychologist. With the applied psychologist, this is really a designation for someone who perhaps goes into research or teaching, is not doing clinical work, but still wants to be recognized as a psychologist. We don't have that designation in California, which is why it becomes a little iffy when a PhD in social psychology calls himself a psychologist, they are, but the APA used to say that they have to use the word professional in front of the word psychology, so they were a professional psychologist. They haven't had that requirement in a while, but these were older ethics and standards at that. The board psychology is very specific that an individual cannot call themselves a psychologist unless they are registered and licensed by the board.

    Anyway, I say that all to say, that you could send your documents to Virginia, for the applied psychology license, and that'll allow you to take the EPPP right away, instead of having to wait until you complete 1,500 hours! You just transfer over the score once you are ready to apply in California, but having that exam out of the way and list it on your resume looks really good for employers, since so many graduates from PsyD online, on campus, on ground, APA and non-APA programs don't and can't pass the exam, the pass rates are made freely available online on the board website.

    For study material, psych prep audios are excellent, listen to them. You're going to learn things that were not in the books, so take it as a learning process. AATBS has some really robust practice exams with great explanations. Have you spend the money in both of those, hopefully you will feel confident in taking your exam, both exams actually. There are other companies out there, I don't know their quality, but I can't speak to the two that I just mentioned. The one issue with going to an online school that's not having strong social connections unless you were part of the Facebook group, so if you did not do that during the program, it's not too late to start. There's a strong Facebook group that is very supportive and if you're not a member, join!

    I wish you well!
    As always, my apologies for any typos or grammar issues, as I am addicted to using speak to text while I am cooking and cleaning and doing other things and don't always go back to make corrections. Sorry busy person but wanted to reply!
    PositiveSoul likes this.
  7. PositiveSoul

    PositiveSoul Member


    Thank you so much for your valuable insights shared here. I have sent a detailed response to your advice via private message. Please check your inbox when you have a moment. I look forward to continuing our discussion. Wit much respect and best regards.
  8. Chanel1

    Chanel1 New Member

    Happy to share whatever insights I can! I know how easy it is to get discouraged, just in life generally. But I find that, consistent with solution focused therapy, find any ways to navigate around any potential road blocks, is more important and meaningful, then, perhaps the use of problem focus therapy, which I used to use all the time, but really does focus too much on the problem, and not ways to navigate and be creative around it. I honestly almost never post on here, but did so at the behest of another colleague who was always talking about some of the information that is shared on here. I do wish you the best in your journey!
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