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Program History and Accreditation

Ph.D. Program History and Accreditation

The Ph.D. program was founded in 1968 and was first accredited by the American Psychological Association in 1974. It continues to be fully accredited by the American Psychological Association. Founded and Directed by John E. Exner, Jr., author of the Rorschach Comprehensive System, from 1968 until 1978, the Long Island University Program has remained the institutional home of the Rorschach Comprehensive System since then. Lawrence O. Brown, Ph.D. served as Director of the program from 1978 until 1984 when the program leadership was assumed by Nicholas Papouchis, Ph.D., ABPP. Professor Papouchis has directed the program for the past 26 years. This continuity of leadership has allowed the program to engage in a process of evolution, integrating new developments in the field without changing its core mission to train students whose doctoral training gives rise to theoretical and clinically oriented questions that can become the basis for scholarly work and enables them to become excellent clinicians.

APA and New York State Reviews of the Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. Program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association. Its most recent accreditation came after the December 2007 site visit. During the last several decades the Program has received glowing reports from both the APA and the New York State Department of Education. In the report following its site visit in May of 1987, the A.P.A. Site Visit team commented:

The clinical training provided by this program continues to be regarded as excellent. Early exposure to practicum experiences is highly valued by students and faculty alike. The variety and high quality of clinical settings available to students are important factors in the high quality of training afforded by the program....Students from this program are recognized for their clinical preparation by routinely receiving acceptances to the finest A.P.A.-approved internship sites in the New York area in spite of intense competition... As for the faculty, we were very impressed with their exceptional quality, cohesiveness, professionalism, high morale, respect for each other, and their unusually high commitment to the Program and students.

Five years later in May of 1992 the A.P.A. conducted its next site visit. That site visit report noted:

“...The 1987 report indicated a considerable strengthening of the research component and that trend appears to have accelerated since the last site visit. Both research and professional training appears to be approached more pragmatically...In fact, the research training program is as strong as many programs who describe themselves as within the ‘Scientist-Practitioner’ model...This emphasis has shortened the time for completion of the program with most students now completing the degree within six years.”

The New York State Education Department’s evaluation of our program was conducted in March of 1994. The report stated:

Faculty members serve as excellent models of the scholar-practitioner the program intends to produce....The program has developed not only a strong research training base but a student attitude that science and practice represent an interactive approach to being a clinical is clear that the atmosphere of the department is such that the integration of research and clinical activities has been successfully melded... The students rotate to an extensive and rich array of clinical practica with very strong psychologist supervision...(They) are gifted and all are making reasonable progress to complete their degrees.”

As the New York State site visit report highlighted, “the program can be considered as having the type of esprit one hopes to see in graduate education.”

At the next A.P.A. site visit in May of 1997, the site visit team consistently ranked the Ph.D. program in the “exemplary” range on most of the categories evaluated for purposes of accreditation. That report noted:

“The clinical training is excellent in both coursework and in practical training experiences provided to the students....Students were quite satisfied with their education, this was particularly true with respect to their clinical training and increasingly true with respect to their research training....Students receive rich clinical supervision and diversity in modeled case conceptualizations....They (internship and externship supervisors) described the LIU students as being clinically the best trained in the City, as being broadly-based clinicians clearly ahead of their peers in clinical skills and testing capabilities, and as having the highest ethical standards....Overall, the faculty members and students both report a high level of mutual respect and courtesy. The Program is genuinely committed to excellence in training.

The A.P.A. site visit in November 2000, resulted in the Ph.D. program’s continued accreditation for a full seven years. The site visitors again commented on the level of excellence of the clinical and research training.

The program labels itself as a “scholar-practitioner model, which is a modest self description considering the degree of focus on research that occurs within the program. For instance, students conduct a second year research project which they are encouraged to present at a professional conference; dissertations are empirical; the new hires in the department are strong research faculty; the program has just begun a large scale research program focusing on the effectiveness of the in-house clinic; and outside supervisors comment on how well prepared the students are in research...Practicum training is well thought out in this program. As noted, first-year placements are carefully chosen….In the second year, students are exposed to two faculty supervisors, as well as a case conference in which (at least) three faculty discuss their different orientations to cases...Externship supervisors were very positive about their experiences with LIU clinical students. All six supervisors indicated that they had worked with students from several doctoral programs and rated LIU students as the top students. They stated that the LIU students had the most preparation in clinical theory and were best prepared to work with difficult clients. They also commented on how well versed the students were on issues of diversity and cultural differences….Students are amply trained for their internship experience. They have had no difficulties in receiving internships at excellent sites.”

The APA Site Visit in December of 2007 again resulted in Full Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for a full seven years. The Site Visit Team again commented on the excellence of the Ph.D. Program’s clinical and research training. The team noted:

...Understanding and competence in psychodynamic theory and practice is achieved through required courses, practicum experience at the Psychological Services Clinic, externships, and research opportunities.....The New York Metropolitan Area offers an array of practicum opportunities for LIU students…The program’s long history, location in metropolitan New York City, and well managed practicum arrangements have led to rich set of potential practicum placements for students in all phases of their training....The site visit team met with representatives from Beth Israel Hospital, Jewish Family Services, Maimonides Hospital, Kings County Hospital and Bellevue Hospital who described LIU students as “well trained” with a solid foundation in assessment, “conversant with cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic theories”, culturally sensitive, well versed in empirical literature and open to learning various treatment modalities....Two aspects of practicum training are particularly noteworthy. First, the program has done an excellent job of structuring the required practicum experience to be cumulative, sequential and graded in complexity....Second the program has established a unique collaboration with Beth Israel Hospital… where students are accepted for the entire three year sequence…The LIU Psychological Services Clinic has on ongoing program of psychotherapy process and outcome research under the direction of Drs. Samstag and Penn which is a clear program strength and closely ties intervention efficacy to students’ practicum experiences…LIU has a strong core faculty with a strong leader in the Director of Training, Nick Papouchis…The core faculty, along with several adjuncts is sufficient in number to cover required and elective courses in the program curriculum as well as provide supervision to students....Both new faculty and new students reported that a draw of the program for them was the strong qualifications of the doctoral students and the program’s reputation for producing well trained psychologists.... Cultural and individual diversity is highly respected at LIU, as it forms part of a core value of the training and mission of the program. The cultural and individual diversity of the students is sought after, appreciated, and encouraged as students find their own way as psychologists-in- training...The program has made systematic efforts to attract, recruit ethnically and racially diverse students and has been successful in doing so.…The Program also addresses issues of diversity throughout the training curriculum....A significant strength of the Program is its continued and increased engagement in research with diverse populations...The focus on informed practice, scientific inquiry, and direct service to under-served communities is an exemplary quality of the Clinical Program and highlights the Program’s commitment to train scientifically informed practitioners.” ....(Finally),the site visit team found abundant evidence supporting the notion that faculty are highly accessible to doctoral students for guidance and supervision…In meetings with the site visit team, students reported that core clinical faculty (as well as practicum/externship supervisors) are excellent role models.

As the APA and New York State Education Department site visits have consistently indicated, the program is noted as one of the finest in the New York area and it continues to grow in quality and stature. The following highlights summarize the major comments made during the five APA visits over the past 20 years:

  • Clinical training is excellent, well thought out, graded in complexity and available in a rich array of practicum sites throughout the New York City metropolitan area including the Brooklyn Campus Psychological Services Center.
  • Ph.D. clinical students are exceptionally well thought of throughout the area and considered among the best in the city by externship and internship supervisors.
  • Research training continues to demonstrate the quality of the Program’s research emphasis and especially in the areas of psychotherapy research and research with multicultural populations is exemplary.
  • Cultural diversity and individual diversity are a core value of the Program and are evident throughout the curriculum and in both clinical practice and research.
  • Doctoral faculty are a cohesive and high functioning group and highly accessible to students for guidance and clinical and research supervision. There is a great deal of mutual respect between faculty and students. The core clinical faculty serve as excellent role models of the “scholar-practitioner” training model of the Ph.D. Program.

These highlights and the excerpts from the APA and New York State reports cited above underscore the consistent quality of excellence that has characterized the training that LIU Ph.D. students receive. This reputation is widely known throughout the greater New York- New Jersey metropolitan area and has resulted in an increasing number of doctoral applicants eager to accept our offer of admission to the Ph.D. Program. The Program receives approximately 250 applicants each year, of which 38% are interviewed. A small number of those interviewed are offered acceptance into the Program. In 2009, 65% of those accepted into our Program, accepted the offer of admission while in 2010 86% of those offered admission into the Program decided to enroll.

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