FAQ about the International Doctoral Program

What is the tutorial doctorate program in group psychotherapy?

This unique program enables qualified students throughout the world to obtain a group psychotherapy doctorate (Psy.D.) through an innovative and highly personalized system of online study, supplemented by face to face meetings and group interactions.

Who is behind the program?

The program is run by the Professional School of Psychology, a graduate school based in Sacramento, California, USA. The director of the program is Haim Weinberg, Ph.D.,internationally renowned group therapist and educator (instructed at Tel Aviv University, Israel; The Wright Institute, Berkley, CA, USA; and Alliant International University, Sacramento, CA, USA). Experts in group psychotherapy and related subjects from around the world are also involved in the delivery of our program. In addition, we employ highly qualified, experienced local staff for training, workshops and supervision in our students’ locations.

Who should take the program?

The program is suitable for mental health practitioners: psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, art therapists, psychodramatists, counselors and professionals in related fields. If you are already leading groups or are interested in developing expertise in this fascinating field, this may be the program for you.

Why is group psychotherapy important?

People working therapeutically with groups not only provide a highly effective and cost-efficient treatment; they can apply their skills to many other group and leadership situations.

How is the program run?

Our program uses an innovative tutorial system, tailored to individual students according to their level of experience, special needs, location and available time.

Components of the program include:

  1. distance learning: internet-based lectures and assignments which the student takes in his/her available time.
  2. online meetings with the tutor of the course and the student’s TA to report and discuss the development, reading and experience of the student around the program
  3. ongoing email communication between the student and the personal tutor in which the student is assigned tasks, reports progress, sends homework and receives comments, asks questions and gets help in overcoming obstacles, etc
  4. participation in an Internet forum with other program students in which they exchange ideas, support each other’s progress, ask questions, communicate about their difficulties and become an on-line community.
  5. face-to-face interactions including meetings with your personal tutor every half a year; meetings with your peer group of students every half a year for 2-3 days; workshops with local experts, the frequency is dependent on experts available in your area; participation in group therapy for a year in your neighborhood; leading a group in your neighborhood with supervision by a local therapist; and attend an international conference.

What is the structure of the program?

In the first 2 years of the program you study about 17 courses together with your cohort group. In the 2-3 years afterwards you work on your doctorate project (dissertation) accompanied by your dissertation committee and supported by your cohort members.

Where is the program held?

Most of the program can be completed in your own home, or wherever you are in the world, providing that you have a reliable internet connection. Once or twice a year the students meet for face-to-face classes. Currently, we have programs running in the USA (meeting in Sacramento once a year for two weeks f2f classes), for Israelis (in Hebrew, meeting in Israel twice a year for f2f classes) and in South East Asia (meeting in Singapore for f2f classes)

How long does the program take and how much time does it require?

We expect that most students will complete the program in 4-5 years of part-time study (approximately 8-15 hours per week). However, students can determine the pace at which they take the different components of the course.

What will I acquire from the program?

The group psychotherapy program builds on four components: theory, skills, experience and supervision. Since this is a Psy.D. program (in contrast to a PhD), you will develop practical expertise in addition to learning abstract theories. As part of the program you will participate in a group, lead a group under supervision, and be encouraged to participate and present in group therapy conferences.

How is the program assessed? Is there a final examination or dissertation?

Assessment is ongoing and is based on the quality of the student’s work in all components of the course. Students must pass all courses, and complete their field experience and portfolio. Students may choose to do a hands-on, scholarly “doctoral project” in lieu of an empirical dissertation.

What makes this program unique?

Four distinctive features place this program at the cutting edge of graduate education and uniquely prepares students for the new directions that society and its major institutions will be required to create. We offer firm interdisciplinary grounding, small classes, close student/faculty relationships, alternative opportunities for dissertation work and alternative modes of program planning.

What qualification will I receive if I complete the program? Will I become a qualified group psychotherapist?

Upon graduating, students obtain a PsyD. degree (Doctorate in Psychology) approved by the State of California, USA. This is not a qualification to practice group therapy. Students need to check carefully to see whether the program will be recognized in their own location for, or towards, academic qualifications and professional advancement. We would like to stress that, to reduce the costs of the program to our students, the courses of the Professional School of Psychology are approved by the State of California, but not regionally accredited by the APA. For further details about the background and implications of this distinction, which may affect how the course is treated by other bodies.The Professional School of Psychology is now in the process of applying for a regional accreditation by the WASC.

Are there already students taking the program?

Yes! We already have 8 Israeli cohorts studying the program (60 Israelis from all over the world),  two cohorts in South East Asia (13 students in Singapore and Indonesia), and we are going to open an American cohort in July 2016. Our first group of Hebrew-speaking students started the program in the Fall of 2008. All the first cohort (8 students) and most of the second cohort (6 students) have graduated from the program and granted a doctorate degree.

What qualifications do I need to take the program?

Requirements include a Master’s degree in psychology or a closely related field, such as social work, counseling, public administration or business. Also required are a commitment to the field of leadership studies through evidence of significant applied experience and/or outstanding performance in previous graduate work, as well as evidence of possessing the requisite maturity and sensitivity to perform well in the role of human service provider. Potential students should have an interest, preferably backed by experience, in working with groups in clinical or other settings.

Do you award credit for prior study and/or professional experience?

In cases where students have already obtained mastery of the material covered by a particular course, the student may be exempt from part, or all, of that course. However, such exemptions will normally not exceed a small percentage of the coursework, and we are unable to offer any adjustment on the program fee in such cases.

Is this a degree mill? If I pay the program fee and give you evidence of my life experience, can I buy a degree from you?

No! As you will see from the information on this site and the credentials of our staff, this is a very challenging and rigorous academic program. Unlike most traditional doctoral programs, we do not insist on full time physical attendance at our location, as we firmly believe that this is neither necessary nor feasible for many of our students to obtain a doctoral-level mastery of the group psychotherapy field. But you will still have to work hard for a few years to obtain to obtain your degree.

Can I take the program in my native language?

If we can find a local tutor who speaks your language, you may be able to take a certain number of courses, and possibly workshops and supervision, in your own language. For example, our Israeli students take most of the courses in Hebrew. They are also able to write most of their assignments and papers in Hebrew, and even their dissertation (doctorate project) in Hebrew. However, some courses of the Professional School of Psychology must be taken in English, and you will also need a good level of English to keep up with the course material.

What technical equipment and skills do I need to take the course?

Students must be able to connect to the Internet on a regular basis, to send and receive emails and access the web. They must also be able to call internationally by Skype and/or phone. We will be happy to assist with advice in this area. As the program progresses, students who wish to explore and use other internet tools in their work will be encouraged and assisted to do so.

What other facilities will I need?

We would recommend that students have access to a local library and/or a subscription to online libraries of professional resources, so that they can access the relevant professional literature. We will be happy to advise about this.

When can I start the program?

Because online and face to face work as part of a group form an integral part of the program, a cohort can only be started when there a minimum of six students who are able to  attend meetings in the same geographical area as the student. We open a new cohort for Israelis in November every year, and in Singapore in September. We also open an American cohort in July annually, starting at 2016.

Will there be interactions between students in different study groups?

Yes! International networking is an important component of the course. Israeli and Singaporean cohorts already collaborate both in joint Skype conference calls, and also through combined assignments. We hope that the professional and personal ties that develop will continue well after the end of the program.

Can I take just selected courses from the program and/or just the online courses?

No, students must commit to taking the entire program for the time being. We plan to develop continuing education programs later.

How much does the program cost and what payment plans are available?

The tuition payment for the entire program for 2016 (typically taking 4 years) is $43,500. Scholarships for Israeli and South East Asia students reduce the tuition fee for them to $39,500. This can be paid through 48 monthly payments (about $700 monthly), after a down payment of about $3000 ($2500,  for Israelis and SE Asian students) and the rest after 4 years.

In addition, the student should take into consideration possible expenses for participating in a therapy group for one year, supervision for leading a group for half a year, expenses to attend meetings with tutors and other students, and fees for attending an international conference. Another expense is subscribing to an data source for articles. Our aim is that when students graduate from the Professional School of Psychology they will be as close to debt-free as possible.

Is financial assistance available?

The Professional School of Psychology offers all students a guaranteed tuition/installment payment program. We currently do not yet have scholarship funds available, but are actively seeking sponsorship for our students, and will be happy to support the applications of prospective students who wish to seek funds from external sources.

I’m interested... What is the next step?

Before making a formal application to the program, you are welcome to schedule an informal discussion with the program director, Dr. Haim Weinberg. You can contact Dr. Weinberg through email at haim@psychology.edu, and he will also be happy to put you in direct contact with students who are currently taking the course.