Course Descriptions

PSY 5270 History of Psychological Thought

This course provides a survey of the history of Psychology with emphasis on the philosophical, scientific, sociopolitical and cultural background of each psychological era/movement.  The manifestation of the innate vs. environmentalist approaches throughout history will serve as the frame of reference to the analysis of theories and school of thought.  Specific philosophical and scientific issues germane to clinical practice will be discussed including the history of the mind-body dualism.   Principles of the Philosophy of Science as they apply to psychological thought, theory building and psychometrics will be presented. 

The course will end with an overview of the systems that have most impacted the field of psychology during the last few decades including: humanism, cognitive, systems theory, cybernetics, constructivism, etc.

PSY 5140 Neurobiology and Psychology of Emotion and Motivation

This course explores the basic dimensions involved in the understanding of emotional processes: neurobiological, cognitive/psychological and social.  It begins with an analysis of the neural structures that underlie and subserve emotional processes.  Once this information is mastered, the student is exposed to the main psychological theories that explain the interaction between appraisal of external situations and the biological (emotional) reactions to the nervous system to such evaluations.  The classical as well as the contemporary theories of emotion will be explored.  The course also explores the neurobiology of motivation and the behavioral manifestations of motivated behavior.  The main psychological theories of motivation are also explored within a historical perspective. The course will also explore the neurobiological and psychological relationships between emotion and motivation

PSY 5150 Human Growth and Development

This is one of the core theoretical courses of the program that also provides an opportunity for the student to develop competencies in the assessment of diverse developmental milestones and neurodevelopmental functions in infants and children.  The course begins with a presentation of the process of birth and of the clinical methods utilized to assess normal development during the perinatal stage.  It follows with a description of the normal progression of the basic areas including motor, sensory, language, cognitive, social and emotional, throughout the different stages of development; from childhood to senescence. 

PSY 5220 Psychology of Personality

The three main areas of interest of the field of Personology will be covered through this course.  Emphasis is given to the holistic theories of personality and their clinical application.  However, many of the issues studied by Trait Psychologist and constructs utilized to describe and explain human behavior by Social Psychologist and Social Learning Theorists will be addressed also including: locus of control, attribution, neuroticism, field dependence, etc.  Other concepts emanating from depth and personality-developmental psychology will be discussed in detail.  The course attempts to develop the capacity to apply such theories and construct to everyday life and to clinical situations.   During the process of learning about human personality, the student will become familiarized with a number of scales and tests that are utilized to measure various personality variables.

PSY 5810 Introduction to Clinical Practice (50 hrs.)  Year I: First Semester

This is the first of a series of practicum designed to foster in the student the development of practical clinical skills.  Through multiple exercises, the student will learn most of the basic skills needed to conduct initial interviews and to begin a therapeutic intervention.  The practicum focuses on the development of an in-depth understanding of all the main components of the clinical interview.  It develops full awareness of the different dynamics of the Patient-Clinician relationship.  The ethical handling of records and of confidential information will be addressed throughout the semester.  The students will master basic skills in the logical and sequential organization of clinical data so that the information obtained through interviews may become meaningful and useful for clinical intervention.

PSY 6250 Test Construction

This course provides the student with a more in-depth exposure to the process of test construction and validation.  It intends to foster a better understanding of the psychometric properties of psychological tests and to develop specific skills in the adaptation of different psychometric instruments to populations different from the one for which the test was constructed and standardized.

PSY 5110 Fundamentals of Neuroscience

Starting with a general exploration of the intrauterine development of the neural tube and crest, the course explores the anatomical and physiological foundation of the nervous system within a developmental context. It provides a general overview of the chemical basis of behavior.  The lectures will mostly address normal neurological development and functioning but will make reference of the clinical implications of various endogenous and exogenous abnormalities such as genetic and neurodevelopmental variations and morphological abnormalities.  The sensory, motor and arousal systems will be examined in detail as well as those subcortical and cortical functions most related to psychological and behavioral processes.

PSY 5120 Neuroanatomy Laboratory – To be taken concomitantly with PSY 511.

The laboratory experience will allow the student to observe the morphological characteristics of the CNS including the spinal cord and its projections, the cranial nerves, the brain stem and peripheral vasculature of the brain.  The student will observe the internal structure of the brain at the same time that such information is provided through PSIC 511. Special attention will be given to those hypothalamic, Limbic and cortical zones that sub-serve the major neurocognitive and neurobehavioral functions.

PSY 5230 Cognitive Psychology

The study of the diverse psychological systems that allows the human being to gather information/knowledge from his/her internal and external world is the main focus of this course.  The psychology of sensation, perception, cognition, psycholinguistic and information processing provide the experimental and theoretical background to the study of the following topics: attention, thinking, problem solving, language and memory. The student is exposed to the main concepts of each area, to the main research methods utilized to examine hypothesis and to the practical application for clinical practice of such body of knowledge.

PSY 5730 Ethics in Professional Psychology

All professional activity performed by a Clinical Psychologist involved other individuals who is part of society and who is probably served by an organization.  Many ethical situations involve conflictive decision making which intends to protect all participants of the issue.  Such interactions and the need to safeguard the needs and rights of those being served in the professional context will be a major component of this course.  The nature and types of ethical dilemmas will be examined from a conceptual as well as from an applied perspective.  The course will gear around multiple cases that by themselves illustrate the different ethical issues that are most confronted in clinical practice.

PSY 5410 Fundamentals of Clinical Psychopathology

This course provides the foundation for the rich sequence of courses on psychopathological conditions in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.  It starts with a presentation and analysis of the theories about normality found within the literature and implicit within many psychometric scales and instruments.  It follows with an analysis of the experience of stress, loss, trauma, dissociation and other non-pathological human experiences that reflect the borderline between normalcy and psychopathology.  It concentrates on the techniques utilized to assess psychopathology within clinical settings with special and detailed attention to the Mental Status Evaluation.  The main concepts utilized in the field of psychopathology will be explained.  The student will learn the meaning of symptoms, signs and syndromes as these related to normal and abnormal dynamics of both organic and psychological nature.  The course ends with an exploration of the Adjustment Disorders, of DSM-IV “V” codes, of the DSM IV culture-bound syndromes (e.g. nervous breakdown) and of the milder forms of psychological dysfunction.

PSY 5820 Fundamentals of Clinical Interventions and Emergency Psychology Year I: Second Semester (50 hrs.)

The course focuses on a detailed discussion of all major psychiatric/psychological emergencies that usually present to the emergency room or outpatient settings.  A detailed discussion of suicide/aggression focuses on both psychological and social aspects that complicate this extreme emergency.  Emphasis will be placed on psychological interventions, theoretical background and the medical management of emergencies associated to alcohol and substance abuse as well as major psychiatric disorders that may present for evaluation in the emergency room setting. The students practice their interviewing and intervention skills through the standardized patient program.

PSY 6860 Introduction to Psychological Assessment and Testing

This is the first of the sequence of practica offered for the development of assessment and testing skills.  The first portion of the practicum focuses on the basic attitudes and skills needed to conduct an assessment.  The practicum follows with a presentation of the common assessment techniques with special emphasis on the utilization of data gathering instruments including interview schedules and outlines, assessment scales and brief paper and pencil, thematic and projective techniques.

PSY 6200 Applied Research for Psychologists (2 credits)

This course will provide the foundation for the acquisition of practical research skills.  The course expands from the selection of a definable problem, through the literature search, to the elaboration of hypothesis and initial methodological considerations.  After learning about the basic principles and the specific steps utilized to conduct applied psychological research, the student will be able to write the introductory section of his/her research project.

PSY 6600 Behavior Modification: Theory and Practice (2 credits)

This course serves as an adjunct to the Cognitive and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy course also to be taken during the first semester of the second year. Its main goal is the development of an advanced understanding of the multiple ways in which behavior may be altered through interactions with the environment.  Students will be able to gain a solid working knowledge of Learning Theories as they apply to real life contexts and to clinical settings.  The course will introduce the student to the different theoretical traditions of the field.  The student will learn the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis.  They will also learn about other technological advances of the field based on Respondent/Classical and Social Learning approaches.  By the end of the course the student will be able to design a behavior modification program for a particular problem or situation. 

PSY 6520 Cognitive Assessment (3 Credits)   Prerequisite: PSY 625

After exploring some of the basic theoretical and psychometric issues surrounding the “intelligence” construct, the course will examine the evaluation of intelligence and other cognitive functions and academic achievement.   The main instruments presented are: Wechsler scales (Pre-School, Child, Adult), Test of Non Verbal Intelligence II and K-ABC.  Through this course and its concurrent Cognitive Assessment Practicum, the student will acquire the necessary skills to ethically and competently administer these test and other psychometric instruments. The course will also concentrate on the scientific method of hypothesis generation, on the type of inferences that may be drawn from these tests and on the different models of data interpretation available through the scientific psychometric literature.

PSY 6810 Cognitive Assessment Practicum (30 hrs.)  To be taken concomitantly with PSY 652

Supervised practice in the administration, correction and interpretation of cognitive assessment instruments.  The student will acquire the necessary skills to ethically and competently administer this tests.

PSY 6450 Mood and Anxiety Disorders prerequisite: PSY 541

This course focuses on the different types of mood/affective disorders including depression, mania, anger and its multiple clinical and syndromal manifestations.  It provides the student with an organized clinical frame of reference to diagnose and differentiate these conditions and the theoretical background necessary to understand its etiology and clinical course.  Implications for psychodiagnosis and treatment will be explored. The major theories explaining depression and some of the other affective disorders will be introduced including Beck Cognitive Theory, Freud’s conceptualization of Morning, Attachment theories of depression, Learned Helplessness paradigm from Learning theories and others. 

The role of anxiety in our lives will provide the foundation for the analysis of the more disturbing anxiety-related syndromes that frequently presents in clinical practice.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Phobias, Panic Attacks, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Somatoform disorder and other Anxiety-related syndromes will be explored throughout the course.  Clinical manifestations, differential diagnosis and the somatic and psychological treatment approaches to these syndromes will be emphasized.  The Neurophysiology of anxiety will be explored together with the somatic interventions utilized to control it.

PSY 6850 Conceptualization and Intervention Planning (250 hrs.)  Prerequisite: PSY 683

This is the practicum experience for the second semester of the second year.  Once per week, the students will meet with their practicum supervisor to discuss cases and relevant issues related to their experience.  At the didactic level this practicum will attempt to develop in the student, conceptualization and intervention planning techniques.   Therefore, the student will develop the capacity to understand clinical cases and to develop a coherent intervention plan through these didactic experiences and case presentations.  To achieve these clinical skills the student will be able to integrate the theoretical knowledge and the skills accumulated from previous practica and theoretical courses with the experiences they are having at their practicum site

PSY 5180 Principles of Psychoneuroimmunology (1 credit)

Psychoneuroimmunology emerges as a science that attempts to provide a scientific explanation to the issue of mind/body relationships.  In this sense, it proposes, studies and explains the existing communication between diverse body systems that are responsible for maintaining the equilibrium that allows for a harmonic and healthy functioning of the human body.  Students will explore the area of psychoneuroimmunology through a review of the principal concepts on the topic, of the scientific literature and through the most current areas of research.  The effect of stress upon the immune system is examined. Specific psychological and CBT techniques utilized by the field of psychoneuroimmunology to treat patients with stress and immune disorders are introduced as well. HIV is explored as an example of a condition that through psychological intervention the Psychologist can impact the psychoneuroimmunological status of the person treated. 

PSY 6620 Cognitive and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

CBT has become one of the main therapeutic approaches utilized by Professional Psychologists.  Backed by an impressive body of scientific research, CBT serves as the intervention backbone for many other subspecialties in the field of Clinical Psychology including Health Psychology, Addiction Psychology, Child Therapy and others.  Based upon the extensive literature on Learning Theories, Cognitive Psychology and Behavior Modification, the most effective Cognitive and Cognitive Behavioral therapeutic modalities will be presented throughout this course; e.g. Cognitive Therapies, Rational Emotive Therapy, Multi-modal therapy, Cognitive-Developmental Therapy. Some of the techniques emphasized during the course are: Systematic Desensitization, Behavior Rehearsal, Cognitive Restructuring and Cognitive Restructuring.  Multiple behavior and cognitive assessment techniques will be demonstrated and fully covered.

PSY 6580 Projective Assessment of Personality – Prerequisites: PSY 522, 541 and 652

Projective techniques constitute an important component of the Clinical Psychologist armamentarium of diagnostic tests.  The newer Rorschach system is one of the most widely utilized of these techniques.  This course will focus on the Rorschach method as perceptual-cognitive problem-solving tasks with an incomparable projective potential. 

Learning the administration and scoring of the Rorschach will be the main objective of the course.  The thematic techniques (TAT, CAT) and various Paper-Pencil projective techniques will be presented as secondary and/or alternate personality assessment methods.

PSY 6880 Practicum Projective Personality Assessment (30 hrs.)  To be taken concomitantly with PSY 654.

It is the main purpose of this one semester practicum to familiarize the student with the most commonly utilized projective techniques, with primary emphasis on the Rorschach.  Most of the time available will be devoted to the development of competencies handling the Rorschach Comprehensive System as developed by John Exner and his associates.  The student will also learn the administration, scoring and interpretation of various thematic tests such as the TAT and the CAT.  The Hutt Adaptation of the Bender Gestalt will be utilized also, emphasizing its psychodiagnostic more than its neuropsychological characteristics. These tests serve to complement the Rorschach and will be presented as part of the standard personality battery that the student will learn to utilize through this practicum.

PSY 7670 Family Therapy and Systemic Interventions

A brief review of the history of Family Therapy will provide the initial approach to the course and to the analysis of the different types of family therapies.  Special attention will be given to structural, systemic, strategic and trans-generational orientations.  The student will learn specific Family Therapy techniques needed to assess families (genograms, joining techniques, etc.), will learn to elaborate treatment plans and to organize and conduct family sessions.

PSY 6230 Qualitative/Quantitative Methodology and Descriptive Statistics – Prerequisite: PSY 620

As a continuation of PSY 620, the student will obtain a more detailed exposure to psychological research methods through this course.  Qualitative and quantitative approaches will be compared and contrasted.  The type of statistics applicable to the analysis of data is discussed.  The students will utilize statistical computer programs to process data and obtain statistical values.  By the end of the course the student will be able to write the methodology section of his/her research project.

PSY 6830 Psychotherapeutic Techniques (250 hrs.)

Students will be placed in a community practicum site during the first semester of the second year.  Once per week, the students will meet with their practicum supervisor to discuss cases and relevant issues related to their experience.  They will attend the didactic component of the practicum to acquire therapeutic skills based upon the Learning Psychotherapy system.  Multiple exercises will be performed by the student in the process of developing a solid and coherent set of readily accessible therapeutic competencies. The student will also share their experiences at their practicum sites and will learn how to integrate the skills learned in class to the work being done with patients.

PSY 6480 Psychopathological Disorders in Children and Adolescents – Prerequisite:  PSY 541

A general exploration of the different psychological and neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood and adolescence including Autism, ADHD, elimination and eating disorders, behavioral disorders, affective and anxiety disorders.  The main theoretical positions available about each condition will be presented to assist the student to gain an adequate understanding of the underlying dynamics of each condition, in addition of their clinical manifestation.

PSY 655 Objective Personality Assessment (2 Credits) Pre-requisite PSY 652 and PSY 654 or taken concurrently

The different types of Objective Personality tests have made a significant impact on the practice of Professional Psychology as they have become an important component of the Psychologist’s assessment techniques.  This course will provide the basic knowledge and skills necessary to administer, score and interpret some of the most commonly utilized non projective personality assessment techniques.  The main emphasis of the course will be on the MMPI-2 and the Millon Health and Personality Inventories. 

PSY 7860 General Clinical Practice: Integration I (250 hrs.)  Prerequisite: PSY 685

During the first semester of the third year the student will be placed in a community site to gain additional clinical experience.  They will also have a two-hour didactic session where they will share their experiences with the cases they see at their practicum site.  Through these discussions, the student will develop the capacity to integrate multiple sources of information to help the clients served. The student will integrate information obtained through interview with data obtained through tests, together with their personal experience with client.  Through this integration, they will be able to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the clinical cases they are treating at their practicum site.

PSY 7310 Racial, Ethnic and Cultural Diversity (3 credits)

The main goal of this course is to provide a broad view of issues involving the role of psychologist in areas such as Culture, Race, Gender, Sexual/Political Orientation, Religion/Spirituality and Age, among others.  The student will be exposed to theory, research, practice, professional issues, challenges and potential solutions to issues involving marginalized individuals or groups.  Through lectures, guest speakers, class presentations and group reflections students will have the opportunity to be exposed to or learn about themes such as:  disability, religion, spirituality, social class, the elderly, sexual orientation and gender, ethnicity, race and culture. 

PSY 7550 Psychoeducational Assessment and Consultation

Most psychologists provide services to school age children under different circumstances and for different reasons. This course will prepare the student to respond and to intervene effectively in this type of professional setting. It will also provide advanced skills in psychological testing with children, integration of clinical data and methods of consultation in school settings. The student will learn about additional psychometric instruments and scales useful to address the type of referrals most frequently triggered by the learning problems of school age children. In accomplishing this, the course will examine theories of learning disability (language based, visual-spatial, etc.), neurodevelopmental conditions that interfere with academic performance, behavioral problems usually manifesting in academic settings and the law that regulate the delivery of special education services to qualified students. The dynamics of professional work in school setting will also be addressed in preparing students for a role in these community scenarios.

PSY 7660 Group Processes and Group Psychotherapy

Basic psychological processes of small groups are initially explored as a foundation to introduce the main theoretical approaches to group therapy.  The course provides an in-depth examination of the steps usually conducted to determine the type of group to form and the selection process.  The different stage of development of the therapeutic group follows together with the manner in which the different curative factors of group therapy are activated and maintained during treatment. The role of the therapist is emphasized throughout each topic. 

PSY 7470 Personality and Psychotic Disorders – Prerequisite: PSY 645

Through this course the student will be guided through the exiting literature on Personality Disorders to read the theories that best illustrate these complex clinical syndromes.  Through this approach the student will be able to compare various approaches to the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of the different types of personality disorders including borderline, antisocial, narcissistic, avoidant, schizoid, schizotypal and others.   Various general theoretical orientations created to facilitate the understanding and clinical work with PD patients will also receive special attention including those of Shapiro, Millon, Kernberg and others. The student will obtain a detail understanding of psychotic processes based upon their readings, the lectures provided and upon the examination of recorded interviews with psychotic patients.  This will allow the student to obtain an in-depth understanding of the different manifestations of psychotic symptoms.  The main types of psychotic disorders will be presented with emphasis on Schizophrenia, Affective Psychosis, Brief Reactive Psychosis and Paranoia.

PSY 7170 Clinical Psychopharmacology

The initial portion of the course provides an introduction to pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.  It explores de main neurotransmitter systems of the brain and the role they play on normal and abnormal behavior. The rest of the course focuses on the basic pharmacological properties and clinical action of the main psychotropic medication including: Antidepressants (SSRI, Tricyclics and newer agents), Anxiolytics (with emphasis on BenzoDíazepines), hypnotics, mood stabilizers, high and low potency neuroleptics (emphasis on the newer generation of antipsychotic medication).

PSY 7870 General Clinical Practice: Integration II (250 hrs.) Prerequisite PSY 786

During the second semester of the third year the student will met with their practicum coordinator to further explore ways of integrating clinical material in such a way as to allow them to gain better understanding of cases and to elaborate comprehensive and realistic treatment plans. During this practicum, the student will develop further competencies in the utilization of Empirically Validated Procedures (EVP).  Cases will be presented and discussed with the intention of further delineating clinical syndromes utilizing psychometric and historical information together with patient’s response to the intervention.  This module will also help the student to gain a broader perspective of the context in which treatment occurs, being this learning objective consonant with their third-year academic program. they This entails the capacity to integrate different types of treatment modalities including child therapy and systemic interventions, family therapy, advanced psychopathology as well as theoretical information obtained through the other courses of the third-year program.  Therefore, the student will learn to integrate knowledge from multiple sources within the field of psychology and mental health with the information obtained from the patients being served at the practicum sites, to derive a deeper understanding of their professional roles and of the intervention strategies available within our understanding of EVP.

PSY 8320 Social Bases of Behavior

Social Psychology is an area of psychology that fosters our understanding of how society influences the psychological, behavioral and biological dimensions of human beings.  Individuals are socialized within particular contexts and this process manifests itself through his/her perceptions, cognitions, attitudes, emotions, embodiments and behaviors.   This course provides an overview of the contributions of Social Psychology to different areas of studies, particularly to Clinical Psychology.  Special emphasis will be placed on philosophical, cultural, economic and sociopolitical elements that have influenced its transformation through history. The study of Social Psychology is essential for the understanding of individual and collective phenomena, which is an indispensable tool for mental health professionals.  In this course students, will explore Social Psychology’s theory and practice. 

Also, they will identify and reflect on the advantages and obstacles that social psychologists face as agents of social change.  This will be done with special emphasis of the implications for clinical practice and research. 

PSY 8260 Doctoral Dissertation

The student will register in Psychology 8260 during the 4th year and will meet regularly with his/her thesis advisor and other committee members.  Through these meeting the student will be guided toward the completion of his/her dissertation project

PSY 7730 Supervision and Consultation (3 credits)

This course explores the historical context and the philosophy of supervision.  It analyzes the major supervision models and their application to psychotherapeutic and educational/training settings.  The differences between the supervisor and consultant role will be explored in the context of the relationship with the supervisee and the consultee. Most common consultation settings for psychologists such as schools and organizations will be emphasized, exploring contemporary strategies and techniques such as coaching and mediation.  Students will be given the opportunity to supervise at least one student in their initial clinical practice.  Their supervisory work will be monitored and supervised by the course professor.  The student will provide a written report on the experience.  Other work related to supervision and consultation may be required depending upon the opportunities available in the community and with different organizations.

PSY 9000 Doctoral Internship

This is a 2000-hour per year intensive clinical experience.  The student will be placed for 40 hours per week for 12 months (or 20 hours for 24 months) in a clinical setting where opportunities for further grow are abundant. Such work will be closely supervised given that this is the last experiential component of their program.

PSY 7890 Advanced Clinical Practicum: Child and School Psychology.  May be taken instead of PSY 787.  Requires authorization

This is the module that follows the course on Psychoeducational Assessment and Professional Consultation in Academic Settings.   The main focus of this practicum is to assist students in integrating the knowledge obtained in that course and in the child psychopathology course to the actual work with students in academic settings.  Placements will be in school throughout the southern part of the island. 

PSY 8360 Psychology of Gender

An exploration of adult personality development forms the foundation of this course with special reflection on gender differences as identified through relevant research and humanistic literature.  The different stages of adult development will also serve as the foundation to explore the psychosocial and psycho-cultural issues that have affected adults in traditional and contemporary societies.  The course will address the following topics, among others: choosing life styles and sexual orientation – the GLBT movement; multilateral and multigenerational relationships and connectedness; social roles, work and community; marriage, pregnancy, mothering and fatherhood, health and health psychology of women and men.  Gender issues, gender roles and gender differences will be of primary concern for this course.  The psychotherapeutic implications of these issues will be addressed throughout the course.

PSY 8880 Advanced Clinical Practicum: Clinical Health Psychology. (250 hrs) Prerequisite: PSY 818 Requires authorization

This is an elective practicum that allows students concentrating on Clinical Health Psychology to obtain specialized supervision for the experience they will be having during the semester.  The student will be placed in one of the health facilities affiliated to the school through which they will have the opportunity to provide psychological services to medical patients.   This Practicum will help the student integrate the theoretical knowledge obtained through the Clinical Health Psychology course with the experience they have at their practicum site. 

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