Completion Time: 5 years
Earned Credits: 76
This applied psychophysiology Ph.D. degree specialization is designed to be offered mainly via distance education supported by two required "in person" training sessions per year and required attendance at the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) annual meeting. This applied psychophysiology degree specialization prepares graduates for careers across the broad spectrum of health care, including:
- Wellness coaching
- Health education
- Stress management
- Corporate wellness
- Sports applications
The optimal functioning specialization gives graduates an extensive knowledge of the symbiotic relationship among the body’s functioning systems. It provides them with a broad range of strategies to achieve and maintain elite levels of performance for athletes or manage stress-related chronic illness in everyday life.
Licensed health care professionals who complete this doctoral degree will strengthen their already existing careers, while graduates without health care licenses will impact the field as consultants, educators, and employees in corporate and medically based health promotion and wellness programs through the implementation of evidence-based psychophysiological techniques within their chosen career.
Current research shows that a whole-person approach toward treating stress-related diseases and chronic health conditions yields improved outcomes and can also promote optimal levels of human wellness and performance. The Optimal Functioning specialization prepares students to assist healthy people to perform better through behavioral control of their physiological systems. The Ph.D. in Applied Psychophysiology with an Optimal Functioning specialization provides an opportunity to broaden and deepen your knowledge of health, wellness, and resilience and to master strategies that will help human beings reach their highest wellness and optimal levels of performance in such areas as sports, business, and education. Electives include courses in optimal functioning in the sports environment, optimal functioning in the business environment, stimulation technologies, hormones and behavior, and many others.
*Our Ph.D. Psychophysiology is intended for professionals who wish to pursue non-clinical careers or expand on their existing licenses. This program is not designed to prepare graduates to qualify for clinical licensure or certification.
More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
Students selecting the specialization in Optimal Functioning will take an additional 18 credits to prepare them for careers in such areas as wellness, stress management, sports coaching, mental health coaching, and optimal functioning in business, sports, and educational environments. Psychophysiologically based electives include optimal functioning in the sports environment, optimal functioning in the business environment, stimulation technologies, pain assessment and intervention, hypnosis, and neurofeedback.
Advanced Coaching Practicum
In this final skills and competencies development course in the coaching curriculum, students will engage in 12 experiential coaching sessions with two to four practice clients. This advanced coaching practicum provides students with the opportunity to utilize and improve their spectrum of integrative wellness coaching skills within their specific coaching niche. Students will receive weekly faculty supervision and peer coaching support via videoconference, mentoring, and online discussions. 3 credits
Optimal Functioning: Psychophysiological Applications in the Community, School, Sports, and Workplace
Effectively working within large organizations to increase work efficiency, decrease accidents, and increase morale while decreasing stress related absences, disorders, and conflicts is a complex task requested by more and more employers as the impact of stress on the workforce becomes more recognized. Optimal performance in these environments is difficult but achievable with appropriate training. The research supporting the efficacy of such efforts is reviewed and the typical techniques for interventions with diverse groups are illustrated. A wide variety of behavioral interventions have been effective in enhancing and optimizing performance in many settings. Effects include increased endurance and accuracy under many circumstances, especially within sports and the military. The evidence supporting this assertion is reviewed and examples are provided of specific interventions shown to be effective in specific circumstances. Effective presentation of behavioral medicine concepts to diverse groups is a daunting task that requires considerable training and experience. Practices are frequently augmented through communicating with peers, other health care professionals and administrators, the public, and potential patients. Effective methods for presenting to each type of group are very different but have been well worked out. Typical presentation methods for workshops, lectures, and public appearances are presented, which are likely to optimize understanding of behavioral medicine techniques. 3 credits
Foundations of Lifestyle Medicine
This course presents a comprehensive overview of lifestyle medicine and optimizing pathways toward greater well-being. As a foundations course, students will be introduced to holistic approaches to assess various dimensions of personal wellness. Each week, students will explore a new dimension of wellness by reviewing and critiquing literature and assessment in positive health, lifestyle medicine, health promotion, and cultural humility and sensitivity. This class is fundamental for students preparing for a career in wellness coaching and consulting. 3 credits