Articles & Resources

Society for Health Psychology

Clinical Health Psychology Taxonomy for Education and Training

Education & Training

This taxonomy was developed to provide a consistent set of terms and definitions related to education and training in health service psychology specialties recognized by the American Psychological Association. You can download a PDF of the taxonomy here.


  1. Clinical Health Psychology (CHP) and Health Psychology (HP) Courses and Training: Must have content congruent with Clinical Health Psychology Education and Training and Guidelines and Post-doc excerpts-CRSPP 2011 (available on Council of Specialities in Professional Psychology website: Doctoral programs may be on quarter or semester academic calendars and a course in either system is considered equivalent. 2 semesters/3 quarters constitute one academic year.
  2. Clinical Health Psychology Practicum (CHP): one academic year (approx. 9 months) of supervised training, at least 8 hours per week, or its equivalent (e.g., total clock hours 240 hours) with at least 50% of clinical service delivery with health-related issues of patient, family members, and/or interprofessional care teams.
  3. Clinical Health Psychology dissertation or research project: empirical research, extended case studies, literature critiques and analyses, or capstone projects.
  4. Clinical Health supervised practice: must include >50% of clinical service delivery to clinical health psychology patients, family members, and/or interprofessional care teams (e.g., assessment, treatment, consultation). The remainder of supervised experience can include seminar attendance, readings, research, provision of clinical supervision, teaching, program development and evaluation, and administration.
  5. (Not applicable): By definition, postdoctoral education and training in clinical health psychology is a major area of study requiring 80% or more of time spent in this specialty area, but does allow for an exposure to other specialty areas.
  6. The term “focus” should be used to describe opportunities in non-specialty areas of training. Training programs should strive to provide explicit explanations of the type of training provided in these non-specialty areas.
  7. Supervised practice is expected with either the CE or CHP course(s) and defined as >50% of clinical service delivery to clinical health psychology patients, family members, and/or interprofessional care teams (e.g., assessment, treatment, consultation)

*CE course = must be organized CE program APA sponsor of psychology continuing education.

Examples to illustrate use of taxonomy in program description:

Doctoral program

In our APA accredited doctoral program at Our University we offer a Major Area of Study in Clinical Health Psychology with at least two didactic courses and two supervised clinical practica in that Major Area of Study which includes a dissertation or research project within Clinical Health Psychology. We offer students an Exposure to Clinical Neuropsychology with one course in that area and an Experience in Clinical Child Psychology with two courses and two semesters of supervised practicum in that area. We offer a Focus in cardiac psychology as part of our advanced practicum wherein an advanced assessment course and two additional practica semesters are available on the cardiac care unit.

Internship program

Our internship program is accredited in professional psychology by the APA-Commission on Accreditation and offers a Major Area of Study in Clinical Health Psychology at Our Health Science Center. At least 50% of trainee time will be devoted to training in our our health psychology programs with direct patient assessment and treatment activities and consultation services. There is an optional Experience in Clinical Neuropsychology at our Clinic. This Experience would involve up to 25% of supervised time working with neurology patients. Our internship also offers a focus on psychooncology service provision and an Experience in family oriented treatment of medically ill patients and their families.

Postdoctoral program

The Clinical Health Psychology Postdoctoral Program at Our Health Science Center is accredited by APA-Commission on Accreditation. At least 80% of the postdoctoral residents time will be clinical health psychology supervised practice . Residents will have >50% of clinical service delivery time devoted to clinical health psychology patients, family members, and/or interprofessional care teams (e.g., assessment, treatment, consultation). Our program provides depth and focus with major rotations focusing in integrated primary care, psychoocology, or obesity. Minor rotations include the clinical health psychology consultation/liaison service and the pain rehabilitation service. Our program requires research and 2 research products (i.e., peer-reviewed publication and paper/poster presentation at national/international meeting) by the completion of the two-year postdoctoral program. Residents have opportunity for optional Exposure in Clinical Neuropsychology with up to 10% of time of supervised practic in the Neuropsychology Clinic.

Post Licensure Program

Our Health Service Psychology Training Institute is an APA approved sponsor of psychology continuing education. Our course, Clinical Health Psychology in Primary and Tertiary Health Care, provides 50 hours of CE and 480 hours of supervised practice following the course. Supervision is provided on a monthly basis via Skype with an experienced clinical health psychologist mentor. This program is consistent with Emphasis level training in clinical health psychology as described in the Clinical Health Psychology Specialty Taxonomy.