Applied Clinical Dissertations (Non-Empirical)

Applied Clinical Dissertations (Non-Empirical)

Applied clinical dissertations supported by the LA Clinical PsyD program use scientific reasoning (e.g., critical thinking, knowledge of scientific methodology) to produce a critical review of empirical and practice-based literature; and to develop a scholarly and innovative product, of clinical or psychoeducational value, grounded in the literature. The literature review portion of the dissertation can be either analytic or integrative in nature, depending on the scope of the overall project, but must always conclude with a section that provides support for product development based on deductive argumentation (i.e., departing from well-known principles or tested theories). Analytical literature reviews: contrast at least two viewpoints based on empirical and practice based literature to arrive at an unbiased understanding of the strengths and shortcomings of each viewpoint. Personal communications with known experts in the field may be cited in the literature review to help fill in gaps. Examples include (1) multiple perspectives on how to handle therapy termination with children; (2) multiple approaches to fostering socioemotional development in children with autism spectrum disorder; and (3) multiple approaches to development and implementation of anti-bullying programs for elementary school children.

Integrative literature reviews: bring together well-established literature from more than one field of study within psychology, or from multiple disciplines, to arrive at a broader understanding of a clinical problem and/or a new way to address the problem. This type of review summarizes important findings in each field and for this reason may rely more heavily on non-empirical literature (e.g., other reviews, textbooks). Personal communications with known experts in the integration of these multiple fields or disciplines may be cited in the literature review to help fill in gaps. Examples include (1) a family centered approach for treating entertainers with substance use problems (this dissertation would integrate substance abuse literature, with sociology literature about entertainment culture, and literature about systems theory); and (2) yoga as a complementary practice in the treatment of children who have been exposed to domestic violence (this dissertation would integrate yoga literature, with trauma literature, and literature about interdisciplinary approaches to care). Applied clinical dissertation products can be (1) adaptations of existing treatments or psychoeducational manuals for use with new clinical populations; (2) compilations of resources for mental health professionals who deliver services to a specific clinical population or community; or (3) a new therapeutic game, children’s book, app, or another product that could be used in conjunction with psychotherapy to improve clinical outcomes. NOTE: These are examples of acceptable products. Applied clinical dissertations must also include a product evaluation component, in which a group of experts will be asked to rate the quality of the product or give some other form of feedback to the student. It is expected that few students will opt to complete this type of dissertation given that it requires advanced knowledge, or special skills or resources, to be able to develop a high-quality product.

Formatting is APA 7th edition

Required Contents of the Non-Empirical Clinical Dissertations All non-empirical clinical dissertation proposal drafts should contain the following elements:

Title Page


Table of Contents

Chapter I: Introduction

Chapter II: Literature Review

Chapter III. Product Development and Review



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