Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) with Psychological Services for Spanish Speaking Populations Certificate (PSSSP)

Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus


The PsyD program at Our Lady of the Lake has from its inception focused on training practitioners who demonstrate a high level of competence in providing psychological services to diverse client populations. The Psychological Services for Spanish Speaking Populations (PSSSP) was implemented in 1997 as an optional specialization for students in the MS in Psychology and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) programs or as a postgraduate certificate program. Courses added to the curriculum for the PSSSP program included a technical Spanish course taught by a faculty member from the Spanish Department (PSYC 6370 Professional/Technical Spanish), a course focused on service delivery in Spanish (PSYC 8331 Language and Psychosocial Variables in Interviews and Assessments with Latina/os) and a course on Latina/o Psychology, PSYC 9356. Students could take a culture and language immersion course (PSYC 8330 Sociocultural Foundations of Counseling Latina/os) that takes place in a Latin American country or a course on Counseling Spanish Speaking Immigrants and Refugees (PSYC 8327). These courses are also required for M.S. and postgraduate students enrolled in the PSSSP certificate program. In addition, students must spend a minimum of six semesters of practicum at a bilingual practicum site, including one semester of supervised supervision of Spanish language service (PsyD students only). Optional practica in Mexico or other Spanish-speaking countries are available.

Program Description

The goal of the PSSSP program is to train mental health professionals who are equally competent to provide services in Spanish and English.


Prior to the development of the PSSSP, 18% of students admitted to our Psy.D. program self-identified their origins as Latina/o. Since offering the program 42% of students admitted have identified as Latina/o. (Latina/o comprised only 6% of incoming doctoral students in Psychology in 2002-03.) The implementation of the PSSSP program has focused faculty and student research and scholarship on topics related to Spanish language services and training bilingual students. Faculty and students have published two articles in refereed journals, have two additional manuscripts submitted for publications, and presented 13 papers or workshops at professional meetings regarding our training model. The program has also generated 13 doctoral dissertations.