Doctoral Training Programs

Thank you for your interest in the CAPS doctoral training site at California Lutheran University. We provide training to future psychologists at the post-doctoral and practicum level. The information on this page is meant to help make the process easier for serving your training needs. If you have any questions, please contact us at 805-493-3727.

Training Overview

The commitment to a brief therapy approach, combined with the unique nature of university practice and the particular characteristics of our staff, has led to a training program that emphasizes flexibility. We are an eclectic staff, utilizing techniques and ways of conceptualizing client challenges that are drawn from multicultural, feminist, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and humanistic schools of thought. The CAPS staff is also flexible in an integrationist sense. Staff members frequently work across models at various times with the same client.

As such, training at CAPS is not based on a single model or approach. We believe that the most important aspects of training at our site involve all of the following:

  • An integration of multicultural perspective into both our case conceptualization and treatment plan
  • An attitudinal shift on the part of the therapist that embraces the efficacy of brief therapy for many client concerns
  • An emphasis on continual practice defining focus with the client and in orienting the therapy to that focus and its associated therapeutic goals
  • Opportunities to work with various populations and presenting concerns within the Cal Lutheran student body
  • Exposure to a number of therapeutic approaches and interventions, with a focus on adapting them to brief work
  • An insistence, to the extent possible, that therapeutic approaches and interventions should be fitted to the client rather than the reverse
  • An ability to provide preventive measures (outreach) to a community alongside clinical treatment

These ideal characteristics of a multicultural, integrationist approach to brief therapy are not simply actualized in some absolute fashion, even by experienced staff members. Rather, they represent orienting considerations that inform our work in an ongoing fashion. We see training as a process whereby we share our struggles and questions, our successes and failures, as a group. In the end, we hope that our approach assists trainees in developing their own perspective toward brief therapy and to move closer to their own integration of available frameworks and methods. Though part of a religious institution, the treatment provided at CAPS is not guided by the principles of any religious tradition other than beliefs the client may seek to integrate into clinical work.

All residents and trainees receive weekly individual and group supervision, as required by training programs and the state of California. Feedback regarding performance and progress is given formally and informally throughout the training rotation. Evaluation domains and skills are based on the Competency Benchmarks outlined by the APA. Throughout training, an open, two-way exchange of evaluative feedback is encouraged through reciprocal supervision. Trainees and residents evaluate their supervisor(s) at the end of each semester. Trainees also complete a formal evaluation of the CAPS training program at the end of each semester. This information enables CAPS to continue to adapt the training program to trainee perceptions and needs.

Post-Doctoral Residency

The post-doctoral residency requires a 9-month, 40-hour per week commitment. The residency is designed to enable the accrual of the California-required 1,500 hours of post-doctoral supervised professional experience. The start date ranges from early to mid-August and concludes at the end of May.

Post-doctoral residents receive advanced clinical training and supervision for both short-term and longer-term treatment approaches. Individual therapy comprises the majority of the resident’s work. The resident also engages in intake assessments, crisis intervention, relationship therapy, group therapy, consultation, outreach, provision of supervision, and other special projects as assigned. The resident receives supervision from a licensed member of CAPS senior staff. Weekly supervision consists of two hours of individual supervision and two hours of Case Conference/Group Supervision, in which clinic requirements are reviewed as needed and group supervision is provided.

As a university staff member, the full-time resident enjoys health, dental, and vision insurance; paid vacation and sick time; retirement contribution; access to the fitness facility; library privileges; and free parking.

How to Apply

Strongest preference will be granted to candidates who have successfully completed an APA-accredited internship at a college or university counseling center and who will graduate from an APA-accredited Ph.D. or Psy.D. program in counseling or clinical psychology. Well-qualified candidates who completed comparable, but different clinically-oriented doctoral programs are encouraged to apply.

The job description and call for applications is posted on multiple job search websites, including University Counseling Jobs and California Lutheran University’s job board in December each year. Applicants must follow application procedures outlined on the job posting. All application materials must be submitted electronically and include:

  1. A one-page cover letter describing your interest in this particular program
  2. A current curriculum vita, which includes the anticipated date of your graduation
  3. Two letters of recommendation from individuals who have personally supervised your clinical work

Practicum Training Program

The CAPS practicum is a training program which combines hands-on experience, individual and group supervision, and the development of the student’s knowledge base in a number of areas directly related to the competent and effective practice of psychology. Practicum training is a long-term commitment on the part of the trainee, the supervisor(s), and the clinic. Thus, the skills necessary to become an effective clinician will develop over time.

The capabilities of the student provide the basis for individualizing the training experience. Clients are screened and matched with practicum students to ensure, as much as possible, that the needs of the client will be served, and that the training needs of the practicum student will also be met. The level of client difficulty assigned to a practicum student increases as the student's readiness indicates.

CAPS staff is committed to honoring the unique differences of the clients with whom we work. We, therefore, provide on-going training to practicum students on individual and cultural difference. As part of our weekly meetings and in individual supervision, we discuss how factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, etc. affect both the development of client concerns and the therapeutic process. A multicultural professional development seminar is also offered for continued learning and discussion within cultural humility.

The practicum is a minimum of 18 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. The practicum placement is for one academic year. It generally includes an overall caseload of 9 direct client contact hours each week, as well as occasional crisis intervention. Digital recording is required for all practicum students. Practicum students receive supervision from CAPS senior staff and the post-doctoral resident. Weekly supervision consists of a minimum of one hour of individual supervision and two hours of case conference/group supervision, in which agency requirements are reviewed as needed and group supervision is provided. Practicum students also participate in outreaches, program development, and administrative tasks. In order to assist practicum student’s integration into the agency, each student’s schedule is spread over at least three days of the week. It is anticipated that practicum students will accumulate approximately 135-150 direct service hours by the end of two semesters.

How to Apply

Students accepted for practicum placement must demonstrate a basic therapeutic skill level as well as openness toward learning and supervision. Only applicants who are able to make a two-semester commitment will receive full consideration for placement. Practicum placement starts the week before fall classes start and ends the week after spring classes end. 

Acceptance for practicum placement requires an application and an interview. An ethics class is required to be completed prior to beginning practicum. It is preferred that applicants have also completed classes in multicultural counseling and theories of counseling. Applicants who are accepted for CAPS placement must provide evidence of current professional liability insurance before they can see clients at CAPS. Applicants who are accepted for placement are required to attend the following meetings at the following time for both fall and spring semesters:

  • Case Conference: Fridays 9-11 a.m.
  • Seminar: Fridays 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

The application deadline is the last Friday in February. Prior to these deadlines CAPS must have received:

  1. The student's curriculum vitae
  2. The student's letter of interest
  3. Confirmation of readiness for practicum placement by their program's Director of Clinical Training

Applicants will be contacted by CAPS to coordinate an interview. Interviews are conducted by CAPS staff and typically last 30-45 minutes. Applicants for practicum placement will be contacted by CAPS about their status by April 1.