Guided by practitioner-faculty with years of experience in the field of psychophysiology, students will participate in two five-day long Saybrook Residential Conferences per year and attend the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) annual meeting every year they are in the program. In addition, students pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychophysiology may choose between two doctoral level specializations designed to prepare graduates for careers in a professional practice informed by a scientific understanding of mind and body.
Psychophysiology provides useful concepts and skills—biofeedback, relaxation training, hypnosis, neurofeedback, stress management—and is applicable throughout an extensive range of industries.
Graduates with a psychophysiology degree will use their knowledge to further their careers in sports medicine, education, business, the military, and clinical environments. Focused on a whole-person approach toward stress-related diseases, chronic health conditions, and optimal performance, this applied psychophysiology degree prepares graduates to positively affect people’s lives through a comprehensive understanding of the interconnectedness between psychology and biology.
Ph.D. in Applied Psychophysiology Sample Courses
Psychophysiological Recording, Assessment, and Interventions
This course provides a basic understanding of the physiology and methodology underlying common psychophysiological recording techniques used in behavioral medicine including surface electromyography, electroencephalography, respiration, blood pressure, pulse rate, skin temperature, and electrodermal responses. Sufficient knowledge about how common psychophysiological recording and biofeedback instruments function and are used is provided so students can incorporate psychophysiological aspects of assessment into their normal practices.
This course also teaches the principles and applications of general biofeedback as used in educational and clinical settings. The strengths and weaknesses of evidence supporting the use of biofeedback for a variety of clinical disorders are reviewed and the techniques for actually doing biofeedback are detailed. Techniques for using biofeedback as a tool for shaping and conditioning responses to stress are emphasized.
The laboratory portion of the courses provides sufficient hands-on exposure to typical, clinical grade psychophysiological recording and biofeedback equipment and techniques that students will be able to recognize adequate and inadequate signals and be able to attach sensors to their patients appropriately so that good signals can be recorded.
EEG Biofeedback: Assessment and Intervention
This course teaches the principles of recording the brain’s electrical activities through EEG, as well as other imaging techniques, that pertain to applied to psychophysiological assessments and interventions. The basic psychophysiology of the EEG signal is reviewed in relationship to educational applications and disorders (such as epilepsy and ADHD) treated with EEG biofeedback. The strengths and weaknesses of evidence supporting the use of EEG biofeedback for a variety of clinical disorders are reviewed and the techniques for actually doing EEG biofeedback are detailed.
Optimal Functioning: Psychophysiological Applications in the Community, School, Sports, and Workplace
Effectively working within large organizations to increase work efficiency, decrease accidents, and increase morale while decreasing stress-related absences, disorders, and conflicts is a complex task being requested by more and more employers as the impact of stress on the workforce become better recognized. Optimal performance in these environments is difficult but achievable with appropriate training. The research supporting the efficacy of such efforts is reviewed and the typical techniques for interventions with diverse groups are illustrated.
A wide variety of behavioral interventions have been effective in enhancing and optimizing performance in many settings. Effects include increased endurance and accuracy under many circumstances–especially within sports and the military. The evidence supporting this assertion is reviewed and examples are provided of specific interventions shown to be effective in specific circumstances.
Effective presentation of behavioral medicine concepts to diverse groups is a daunting task which requires considerable training and experience. Practices are frequently augmented through communicating with peers, other health care professionals and administrators, the public, and potential patients. Effective methods for presenting to each type of group are very different but have been well worked out. Typical presentation methods for workshops, lectures, and public appearances are presented which are likely to optimize understanding of behavioral medicine techniques.
Basic Training and Education in Hypnosis
This course provides students with a basic skill-set to conduct simple hypnotic interventions, along with knowledge about hypnotic concepts and approaches, and a familiarity with research-based applications of hypnosis to common medical and behavioral disorders. Additionally, it provides students with an introductory level of understanding helpful for engaging in hypnosis-based clinical practice and hypnosis- oriented research in integrative health.
This course introduces simple trance induction protocols, trance deepening techniques, the use of post-hypnotic suggestion, and techniques to re-alert the subject and close the trance phase. In addition, the course overviews current scientific approaches to explaining hypnotic phenomena, introduces the measurement and significance of hypnotic susceptibility, and presents several of the widely used and effective approaches for utilizing hypnosis in psychotherapy and personal transformation.
Students completing this basic training sequence are equipped to begin the intermediate level training. The course is designed to follow the Standards of Training in Clinical Hypnosis as presented by D. Corydon Hammond and Gary R. Elkins for the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis – Education and Research Foundation (2005).
*Our Ph.D. in Psychophysiology program is intended for professionals who wish to pursue non-clinical careers or expand on their existing licenses. This program is not designed to prepare graduates to qualify for clinical licensure or certification.