PsyD Specific Policies

Student/Trainee Competence
(adapted 7/14/05 from the Council of Chairs of Training Councils and from Antioch University, New England)

Professional psychologists are expected to demonstrate competence within and across a number of different but interrelated dimensions. Programs that educate and train professional psychologists also strive to protect the public and the profession. Therefore, faculty, training staff, supervisors and administrators in such programs have a duty and responsibility to evaluate the competence of students/trainees across multiple aspects of performance, development and functioning.

Academic competence in clinical psychology programs is defined and evaluated comprehensively in doctoral coursework, during students’ practicum and internship clinical training, and throughout the development, production and presentation of their dissertation research. Consequently, in addition to evaluating performance in coursework and related academic program requirements, other aspects of professional development and functioning will also be evaluated. These areas include cognitive, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, technical and ethical competencies. Such comprehensive evaluation is necessary in order for faculty, training staff and supervisors to appraise the entire range of academic performance, development, and functioning of their students/trainees.

It is important that students/trainees in professional psychology programs (at all levels) know that faculty, training staff, supervisors and administrators have a professional, ethical and potentially legal obligation to a) establish criteria and methods through which aspects of competence other than, and in addition to, a student/trainee’s knowledge or skills may be assessed (including, but not limited to, emotional stability and well-being, interpersonal skills, professional development, and personal fitness for practice), and b) ensure (as much as feasible) that the students/trainees who complete the program are competent to manage future relationships (e.g., client, colleague, professional, public, scholarly, supervisory, teaching) in an effective and appropriate manner. Because of this commitment, and within the parameters of their administrative authority, professional psychology education and training programs, faculty, training staff, supervisors, and administrators strive not to advance, or recommend graduate students or trainees with demonstrable problems (in cognitive, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, technical or ethical areas) that may interfere with professional competence to other programs, the profession, employers or the public at large.

Evaluative areas other than and in addition to coursework, seminars, scholarship, examinations, or related program requirements include but are not limited to demonstration of sufficient: a) interpersonal and professional competence (e.g., the ways in which students/trainees relate to clients, peers, faculty, allied professionals, the public and individuals from diverse backgrounds or histories); b) self-awareness, self-reflection and self-evaluation (e.g., knowledge of the content and potential impact of one’s own beliefs and values on others as listed in “a” above); c) openness to processes of supervision (e.g., the ability and willingness to explore issues that either interfere with the appropriate provision of care or impede professional development or functioning); and d) resolution of issues or problems that interfere with professional development or functioning in a satisfactory manner (e.g., by responding constructively to feedback from supervisors or program faculty; by the successful completion of remediation plans; by participating in personal therapy in order to resolve issues or problems).

This is applicable to settings and contexts in which evaluation would appropriately occur (e.g., coursework, practica and supervision) rather than settings and contexts that are unrelated to the formal process of education and training (e.g., non-academic, social contexts). However, regardless of setting or context, when a student/trainee’s conduct clearly and demonstrably a) impacts the performance, development or functioning of the student/trainee; b) raises questions of an ethical nature; c) represents a risk to public safety; or d) damages the representation of psychology to the profession or public, appropriate representatives of the program may review such conduct within the context of the program’s evaluation processes.

The inclusion of this material is for the purposes of informing students/trainees that evaluation will occur at many levels during their enrollment in the program. Evaluation procedures will be consistent and content verifiable, will depend on more than one single source (e.g., across supervisors and settings), will be for the primary purpose of providing feedback to students/trainees, will focus on strengths as well as areas of improvement, and will be for the purposes of developing remediation plans when necessary (and if satisfactory remediation is possible). These materials will comprise part of the Annual Review Process described below.

The Annual Review Process
At the end of each academic year, an Annual Review Process will be undertaken in which every student in the PsyD program will be reviewed by the PsyD core faculty. This Review will include material generated on each student during the recently completed academic year.

The Review Process will encompass information regarding:

  • academic performance
  • professional and clinical performance
  • professional development (including interpersonal functioning)
  • overall progress towards degree

As such, we will review evaluations from instructors, practicum and internship supervisors, dissertation committee members and any additional information tha might be forthcoming to the student’s Advisor or program administrators.

Following a review of documents on each student in a specially convened faculty meeting, each student will meet individually with his or her Advisor to review the student’s progress through the doctoral program. Information will be provided to the student regarding his/her functioning in each of the three areas reviewed. Student performance will be rated as:

  • Highly Satisfactory (Exceeds expectations)
  • Satisfactory (Meets expectations)
  • Satisfactory with Concerns (Meets most expectations)
  • Unsatisfactory (Below expectations)

If students receive unsatisfactory ratings in any area they can be placed on Academic Probation. Along with the ratings, any plans for remediation will be discussed with the student.

While the Annual Review Process considers all aspects of the student’s functioning on an annual basis, this is not intended to be an overall grade based on the student’s work during the year, but rather is intended to provide a snapshot of the student’s progress at a given point in time. For instance, if at the time of the review, the student has not completed an assignment for a specific class, but is in the process of doing so and has completed all other academic requirements, s/he might receive a “satisfactory with concerns” in the academic area.

During the Annual Review Process, students will be given a copy of the document that includes written ratings. Where ratings are “Satisfactory with concerns” or “Unsatisfactory,” specific explanations and plans for remediation will be included. Remediation plans may include suggestions and recommendations or possible actions to be taken (including Academic Probation, recommendations for leave, part-time enrollment or personal therapy). Arrangements for work that is incomplete will also be included. Thus, deadlines for late papers or other assignments will be included in the written documentation.

The Annual Review Process is only one opportunity students receive for constructive feedback. Course evaluations, field experience evaluations and other formal and less formal forms of feedback will also be provided at regular intervals throughout a student’s time in the program. We believe that this high level of communication to the student is essential for maximizing the learning experience.

Academic Probation
Academic Probation is determined by the program faculty and/or the Provost under the following conditions:

  • earning 3 units of No Credit in any learning activity;
  • failure to follow a course of learning deemed necessary by the Advisor;
  • an established pattern of ratings of “Unsatisfactory” or “Needs Improvement” and/or pattern of critical feedback in evaluations, which in the faculty’s judgment is serious enough to indicate persistent academic problems which may warrant probation;
  • critical feedback in clinical practicum or clinical learning activities that may be indicative of inability or impairment in the role of professional psychologist; or,
  • documented plagiarism, academic dishonesty, ethical violations, or violations of school policy. (Note: Consequences of unethical behavior are not restricted to probation and may include expulsion.)

Placement on Academic Probation may occur as part of the Annual Review Process or may occur independently of such review.

When a student is placed on Academic Probation, the Advisor, Chair, or Provost notifies the student of her/his Academic Probation status (if determination is made at a time other than the Annual Review). It is the student’s responsibility to respond promptly by scheduling a meeting with the Advisor or Chair in the appropriate cases. A summary of the meeting between the Advisor and the student is documented. It may include specific steps the student must take by a deadline in order to have probationary status lifted or to remain in the program.

The student and advisor develop a plan to address the concerns relevant to the student’s probationary status. Requirements are specified—for example, deadlines for incomplete work, standards for work in subsequent quarters, and/or the requirement to enroll at half-time status, Enrollment Maintenance, or to take an approved Leave of Absence. PsyD students placed on Academic Probation could have their approval to enroll in a clinical training placement delayed or they may be required to attend psychotherapy.

A student on Academic Probation is required to meet with the Advisor before registering for the following quarter to demonstrate required academic progress. Students on Academic Probation should note that often the Advisor must inspect their evaluations before signing the registration card. Students who are required to obtain psychotherapy have a right to confidentiality in that relationship, but they are required to submit a statement from the therapist indicating that they have attended sessions and are making appropriate progress.

The student is removed from Academic Probation at the Advisor, Chair, or Provost’s discretion, when in the Advisor, Chair, or Provost’s judgment, the student’s current work or conduct demonstrates remediation of the problem(s) that led to Probation. Student Services is then notified to remove the student from Academic Probation.

Students on Academic Probation who do not meet the conditions of their plan of remediation are informed in writing of the specific consequence. Students are not approved for Candidacy for Graduation or certified as ready for their pre-doctoral internship while on Academic Probation. Dismissal from the program is possible for failure to meet the conditions of the probation.

Clinical Training Probation
Students in the PsyD Program are reviewed and evaluated for clinical suitability and skills in all courses including Practicum and Field Experience. Students are expected to abide by the ethical standards for counselors and therapists established by the American Psychological Association. Students may be placed on Clinical Training Probation and/or dismissed from the PsyD Program for failure to demonstrate appropriate clinical skills and/or violation of the ethical principles for psychologists. Questions that arise about students’ ethical conduct in clinical training work are addressed through the following procedure. The Advisor speaks with the involved student to obtain pertinent information and also consults with any other parties who can provide information about the situation. The Advisor recommends to the Program Chair a course of action to be taken. This information is also considered during the Annual Review Process.

Clinical Field Experience
Clinical field experience (part of the Practicum sequence) takes students out of the classroom and places them into the community to work with clients, professionals and peers from many schools and disciplines. The program allows students to gain knowledge and develop assessment and psychotherapeutic skills by providing services in a variety of settings such as non-profit, government, in-patient, educational, health care or rehabilitation sites.

The Psychology Program maintains training agreements with practicum placements serving a variety of populations in the tri-county area (Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties) as well as in Los Angeles County. It is expected that students will acquire a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical experience prior to beginning the internship. We expect that most students will seek out clinical placements early in their program (and will take advantage of summers to accumulate the requisite hours). During enrollment in the Practicum sequence, students will be required to be in
Practicum Training (field experience).

While those hours will not count toward the 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience, they will serve to prepare the student to apply for competitive doctoral internships. See the Clinical Training Manual for more details on the process of obtaining this experience, or consult with the Director of Clinical Training (DCT).

Doctoral Internship
Students are required to complete a full-time doctoral internship in order to graduate. Internship training sites are usually accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), are members or meet membership criteria of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) or the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC). The Director of Clinical Training will help students with the identification of appropriate internships. Students will earn one unit of academic credit during the internship year, but will be considered enrolled full-time if participating in a full-time internship, even if the internship is out-of- state.

Personal Therapy
The program values the utilization of personal therapy for student practitioners; it can help to both better understand one’s personal issues and struggles and support students’ ability to function effectively as a psychologist. The program highly recommends such therapy, but it is not a requirement. Personal problems may at times interfere with a student’s ability to function in a clinical setting. The APA Guidelines specify that it is the trainee’s responsibility to recognize when personal problems interfere with his/her effectiveness and to take appropriate steps so that the public is not harmed. This recognition may lead to a student decision to engage in personal therapy. In some instances, the program may recommend therapy in order to help students resolve the issues that seem to interfere with personal or professional functioning. In some circumstances therapy may be required as the result of our Annual Review Process. However, there are other reasons that students may wish to seek therapy during their doctoral training and they are encouraged to do so. This is not a requirement of the doctoral program, but the student may choose to enhance his or her personal and professional development through direct involvement as a client in individual, dyadic or group therapy. Because of ethical limitations on dual relationships, students may not seek psychotherapy with Core or Adjunct Faculty.

Part-Time Status
Students in the PsyD program are required to be enrolled full-time in the program. Exceptions to this are those instances in which a student may be placed on part-time status due to health reasons, disability or through administrative initiative. Students must petition the faculty for permission to enroll in the program part-time.

Classroom Participation
The PsyD program capitalizes on the synergistic quality of student engagement in the classroom to maximize the learning experience. As such, student presence is important and highly valued. The program has high standards for student timeliness and persistent lateness to classes may be reflected negatively on course evaluations. Unless otherwise specified, missing more than two class periods in any 10-week course in the PsyD program results in being denied credit for that course.

Dual Relationships in Psychology
In compliance with the APA Code of Ethics, Antioch University faculty, staff and students refrain from entering into a multiple relationship if the multiple relationship could reasonably be expected to impair the objectivity, competence, or effectiveness of said person in performing their duties, or otherwise risk exploition or harm to the person with whom the professional relationship exists. A dual relationship occurs when someone has a pre-existing significant relationship with the student, such as  parent or child, spouse or partner, business associate, client or therapist, and then becomes the student’s instructor or supervisor.

Dual relationships are problematic because they may lead to favoritism, prejudicial evaluation, or raise the potential for harm because one person has the power to exploit the other.

In order to avoid such relationships, students may not take an Antioch course from a faculty member if that faculty member is currently their therapist or has been their therapist in the past. Furthermore, students may not see a member of the Adjunct or Core Faculty or their current traineeship supervisor for Psychotherapy in order to meet any requirement of the program. It is acceptable, however, to enter therapy after graduation with someone who was formerly the student’s instructor. More information on the Dual Relationships Policy of Antioch University Santa Barbara can be found in the AU Policies, Regulations & Procedures section of this catalog.

Experiential Learning and Confidentiality in the Classroom
Some classes in the PsyD Program offer an opportunity for students to gain insight about themselves and their interpersonal impact on others by receiving feedback from classmates and instructors. Experiential education fosters this type of learning through shared experience.

In order to create safety in this learning environment, students are asked to maintain confidentiality with regard to the comments and experiences of other students. Respecting the privacy of others is most important in managing the risk and enjoying the benefits of experiential learning.

Advanced Doctoral Students in the Role of Instructing Less Advanced Students
Advanced doctoral students may serve as Teaching Assistants in courses where less advanced students are enrolled. So as to minimize any possibility of a dual relationship, advanced doctoral students will not evaluate the work of other students enrolled in the doctoral program, although they may be asked to evaluate the work of students enrolled in other Antioch programs, including the Master’s in Psychology.

Integration of Diversity Material in the Curriculum
Antioch University Santa Barbara supports the integration of diversity material throughout curricula in all of its programs. Faculty in the PsyD program have agreed that it is advisable for all courses to reflect issues of diversity, rather than isolating diversity into one or two courses. Consequently, students can expect multicultural issues and issues related to other diverse groups to be considered in every course. In addition, students will enroll in Social Justice & Cultural Competency I and Clinical Issues in Multicultural Counseling to consider issues related to diversity and multiculturalism in a more focused manner. The Chair of the program remains responsible for ensuring that appropriate diversity content is included in all courses.

Research with Human Subjects
Students who are working toward completion of the Doctoral Dissertation requirement must be aware of the need for review of the proposed research by the campus Institutional Review Board (IRB). This review is required whenever human subjects are the focus of research. Proposed research must be submitted to the IRB for review. Ethical principles in human research include confidentiality, informed consent, care of subjects, and communication of the results of your research. Details of the IRB review process are included in the Dissertation Manual.

The Faculty in the doctoral program consists of Core, Teaching, Clinical, Affiliate, and Adjunct Faculty. Core Faculty have primary responsibility for the delivery of courses and the development and implementation of program policies and procedures. Student advisement is also a responsibility of Core and full time Faculty. Adjunct Faculty are carefully selected to teach courses in their area of expertise, to participate on dissertation committees and to provide input to the Annual Review Process. Because Antioch University Santa Barbara operates through participatory governance, Adjunct Faculty are encouraged to participate in as many aspects of the University as possible.

Student-Faculty Relations
Doctoral students at Antioch University Santa Barbara work collaboratively with faculty on research and other academic tasks through informal partnerships as well as through more formal relationships such as Graduate Research and Teaching Assistantships. While it is widely understood that doctoral students are colleagues-in- training, it must be acknowledged that because of the special evaluative relationship between student and faculty, this cannot be a completely reciprocal relationship. Nonetheless, Antioch’s student-centered approach and its commitment to the development of the student as a whole person results in creating a collaborative and supportive educational environment.

Policy on Incompletes
Students are encouraged to complete coursework on time. In rare circumstances, for justifiable and documented reasons and when that student has completed at least 75% of the work before the end of the enrolled quarter, a student may take an incomplete. To do so, the student must fill out the Request for Incomplete Form and submit it to the instructor for approval. This written document must contain a list of the work to be completed with a final deadline. Both student and instructor must sign the agreement to the terms. The completed and signed form must be turned in to the PsyD program no later than Friday of Week 11.

Clinical Suitability
Students are assessed in all classes for clinical suitability including interpersonal and professional competence, self-awareness and self-evaluation, openness to feedback, and emotional stability and well-being. It is the ethical responsibility of the instructor to discuss any concerns about a student’s fitness for practice with the program chair and/or program faculty.



Next Section: Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology Course Descriptions

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