Integration of Our Christian Faith in the PsyD Program

George Fox University provides a Christian context for PsyD training, rooted in and influenced by the Friends (Quaker) tradition. While aspects of faith and spirituality are part of most courses as the context is appropriate, eight specific courses define a formal faith integration component in the curriculum.

Three of the required courses are team-taught along with a theologian or biblical scholar who is a faculty member in the College of Christian Studies. The role of the psychologist in those classes is to help apply and integrate the theological/biblical concepts with psychology.

The Spiritual Formation series is designed to be experiential and applied. Students are challenged to think about individual and community formation. Each student meets individually with a trained Spiritual Director during the second and third year in the program. This relationship is designed to facilitate spiritual formation while honoring individual differences between students. 

Two additional integration courses bookend the curriculum, with the first-year students taking an introduction to integration and fourth-year students taking a capstone course highlighting religious and spiritual issues in the work of professional psychologists.

Statement of Community Understanding

The Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology (GDCP) is a Christian PsyD program within George Fox University, a Christian institution of higher education that provides liberal arts, pre-professional and professional training. The GDCP aspires to be a Christian community, housed within a larger Christian university, where we aspire to demonstrate the “fruit of the Spirit,” including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23).

Christians posit an intrinsic and vital connection between belief and behavior. Throughout history Christians have disciplined themselves to grow deep in faith as they strive to live according to Christian scriptures and church traditions. The aspiration toward consistency in belief and behavior in living out God’s call on our lives has helped shape and maintain Christian communities.

The George Fox University Statement of Faith provides an overview of the beliefs we share as a community, and the Community Lifestyle Statement is the translation of these beliefs into the lifestyle and behavioral convictions we aspire to maintain. Students applying for admission to the GDCP should be able and willing to endorse both of these statements.

In order to foster a community of responsible freedom and mutual respect, the GDCP faculty chooses not to be highly prescriptive or investigatory regarding student faith values or lifestyle choices unless behaviors cause concern about the student’s suitability to be a professional psychologist. Still, faculty and students aspire to encourage one another toward spiritual transformation, personal awareness, and authentic relationships. All members of the George Fox community are encouraged to consider the following questions as a means of self-examination, in the tradition of the historic Friends (Quakers).

  • Am I actively pursuing the highest call of God on my life even if that means giving up a personal "freedom" for the sake of others within the community?
  • As a member of the George Fox community, do I recognize my duty and responsibility to others within our Christ-centered community?
  • Am I a faithful steward of the resources that God has entrusted to me?

The GDCP strives to be a community of mutual care and support, where faith is affirmed and put into practice, discrimination is opposed and diversity is valued, all within the context of a Christian worldview. Faculty make themselves available for professional and spiritual mentoring as needs arise, attempting to affirm and model Christian conviction, respect, accountability, and grace.