Degree Requirements: Master's degree
Completion Time: 5-6 years
Earned Credits: 68-83**
This Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health focuses on the mind, body, and spirit of patients, offering pathways to more holistic approaches to healing. With the goal of accessing and understanding both the inner and outer worlds of patients, many topics are examined, including:
- Mental imaging
- Dream work
- Spiritual beliefs
- Ayurvedic (East Indian) medicine
*Dissertation to be completed in a minimum of two semesters and a maximum of six full semesters.
**Saybrook transcript must reflect a minimum of 60 completed credits of post-master’s learning for the Ph.D.
The Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health Specialization takes an integrative (mind, body, and spirit) approach to understanding individual, cultural, and transcultural perspectives to transformation, healing, and wellness. We believe that well-being and health needs to embrace all dimensions of human life. The integrated study of consciousness, spirituality, and health offers ways of understanding people’s inner worlds as accessed through such methods as depth psychology, self-regulation, inner healing, mental imaging, the arts, dream work, and contemplative practice. In this context, students wish focus their work on transpersonal psychology.
The study of consciousness offers students a unique opportunity to explore various aspects of consciousness through methods ranging from psychophysiology, ethnography, and historiography to explorations of work and community life, interpersonal relationships, spiritual beliefs, and social action. Given the diverse array of course offerings, students are able to create a degree path that suits their particular interests and career goals.
The study of spirituality supports students who want to pursue work in areas such as pastoral care, spiritual guidance, and life coaching, or who want to integrate understanding of the spiritual dimension of human life into another profession. Faculty members work with students to focus their studies in ways that best meet their academic, professional, and personal goals.
Studies also focus on additional alternative health practices relevant to psychological and physical health and include the ethical application of meditation, nutrition, energy medicine (e.g., therapeutic touch, healing touch, and energy channeling), hospice work and chaplaincy, and many others. Mind-body therapies like these are being integrated rapidly into health care settings, from imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation, mindfulness, and health coaching, to expressive therapies such as music, dance, art, and indigenous ceremonies. Students may also explore spirituality, including its role in physical and psychological health, personal relationships, organizational functioning, and communities.
Although not intended as preparation for licensure, graduates from this specialization in Consciousness, Spirituality and Integrative Health will be able to integrate what they have learned into their existing practice as licensed mental health professionals—expanding their expertise and diversifying their clinical practice. Studies in this specialization can also be applied to peace work, pastoral care, spiritual counseling, conflict resolution, education, consulting, and organizational work. Students may explore the role of culture in family systems, business and nonprofit settings, religious and spiritual organizations, health care, and personal spiritual practice.
Our Ph.D. in Psychology programs are intended to open opportunities for graduates to pursue nonclinical careers or expand on their existing licenses and is not designed to prepare graduates to qualify for clinical licensure or certification.
More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
Residential Orientation (RO)
All new students in the Ph.D. in Psychology program begin their studies with our one-time, two-day Residential Orientation (RO). ROs are held two days ahead of the Residential Conference (RC) at the start of the fall and spring semesters in California. Attendance at the entire RO is an academic requirement.
At the RO, students become familiar with the Saybrook culture and academic and support services, including online resources, and the library research services and databases. The challenges of distance and peer learning are also discussed during this time. At the RO, students:
- Consult with the Psychology Department chair and an academic adviser to organize their degree plan process.
- Develop a rationale for the scope and sequence of their proposed plan of study.
- Plan what consultation they will need from other faculty.
Residential Conferences (RC)
All psychology students participate in two five-day-long required Saybrook Residential Conferences (RCs) per year (one at the beginning of the fall semester and one at the beginning of the spring semester). Although you may complete most of your courses through distance learning, all our online graduate degree programs have residential requirements. Residential requirements are academic requirements, and their completion is important for your successful academic progress as well as allowing you to meet with faculty and co-learners in a stimulating face-to-face environment. Our RCs are an important part of your learning experience as they nurture intellectual creativity, enrich the educational environment, and foster faculty and peer interactions. Courses are launched, and independent learning activities, peer learning opportunities, and other hands-on experiences are intended to nurture professional development, skill building, and transformative change. All students must be on-site on the registration day and remain in residence until the last day of each conference. It is imperative that students plan accordingly. Any exceptions must be approved by the department chair prior to the conference.
Doctoral students attend until they have advanced to doctoral candidacy (upon satisfaction of essay orals).
No academic credit is given for attendance at the RC. Students who attend a seminar at an RC and wish to study the topic further may, with the permission of the seminar instructor and department chair, register for an independent study course (ALL 8100) following the RC and receive 1 academic credit upon completion. Each course is individually designed and negotiated with the seminar instructor. Not all RC workshops, courses, and seminars are eligible for the follow-up independent study credit. Students will need to review their program plan to confirm the 1 credit Independent Study will satisfy degree requirements.
Transfer credits based on equivalent graduate courses taken at another regionally accredited institution in the same or similar discipline where the student received a grade of B or better may be transferred and will reduce the number of course credits required to be completed at Saybrook. Allowable transfer credits must be suitable for transfer to the intended degree as determined by the department chair. Transfer course credits do not affect the minimum number of credits required for the degree.
Transfer credit to be applied toward required electives may include up to 12 transfer credits completed in the psychology discipline, 6 of these credits may be from cognate fields, non-degree Saybrook certificate credits, Saybrook CE credits, or other non-degree credits taken at Saybrook University within the last seven years.
Psychology of Consciousness
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts, paradigms, and current issues in studies of consciousness. It explores the field from diverse approaches including humanistic and transpersonal psychology, cognitive and affective neuroscience, cross-cultural studies, existential-phenomenological methodologies, and other related disciplines. 3 credit(s)
This course introduces scientific and experiential approaches to understanding the interaction of mind and body in health. The course surveys scientific principles of psychophysiology, introduces students to basic principles of psychophysiological measurement, and highlights research information relevant to mind/body (psychophysiological) healing, education, and wellness. The student learns to monitor physiological processes via simple biofeedback instrumentation, for clinical practice and research. The course offers an opportunity to explore mind-body relationships through an overview of theory, review of empirical findings, and experiential learning. 3 credit(s)
Advanced Topics in CSIH Studies
This course explores advanced topics related to studies in consciousness, spirituality and integrative health. The course is in a seminar format where, with instructor’s approval, each student selects the topic they wish to pursue and creates clear learning objectives. With ongoing feedback from the instructor and other students, each student then develops and presents to the class an annotated bibliography and a final paper on the topic chosen and guided by one’s learning objectives. 3 credit(s)
“An essential uniqueness of our degree program is the opportunity for our students to engage in genuine interdisciplinary learning as they can take courses across the university while pursuing their clinical training. For example, they can gain skills and knowledge related to biofeedback, hypnosis, consciousness and spirituality, development and leadership, transformative social change, and others. The skills that our students can acquire positions them to be more competitive in the workforce.”
—Dr. Theopia Jackson, Chair, Clinical Psychology Degree Program