You have many resources to help you resolve problems, questions, concerns, or complaints that may arise during your time in the JDP. We urge you to avail yourself of any and all resources that you feel will be most helpful to you in resolving challenges.


First, each student should know that the faculty in the JDP are all expected to know about and understand the concept of confidentiality. Should you have a need to speak with anyone about a problem or issue (either personal or related to your success in the program), you can ask that the person to whom you are speaking keep it confidential, and that will be done.  However, as in clinical situations, there are some instances in which confidentiality cannot be maintained, all having to do with your own protection; i.e., if the information that you have presented suggests that you are or may be (1) in physical danger; or (2) having a problem that may adversely affect your treatment of a patient or research subject; or (3) having a problem that may seriously interrupt your ability to complete the Program; or (4) in cases where institutional policy mandates reporting (e.g., certain cases of harassment allegations).

Again, as in clinical situations, should you be talking to any of the people below, and should the person feel the need to disclose what you are saying for any of the reasons above, that person will tell you before the disclosure is made.  Unlike clinical situations, there is less likelihood of legally mandated time constraints on these disclosures, and so more often than not the person you talk to will give you the opportunity to go to the person who can actually help you first before breaking confidentiality.

This is consistent with the APA Ethical Code (

7.04 Student Disclosure of Personal Information
Psychologists do not require students or supervisees to disclose personal information in course- or program-related activities, either orally or in writing, regarding sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment and relationships with parents, peers and spouses or significant others except if (1) the program or training facility has clearly identified this requirement in its admissions and program materials or (2) the information is necessary to evaluate or obtain assistance for students whose personal problems could reasonably be judged to be preventing them from performing their training- or professionally related activities in a competent manner or posing a threat to the students or others.

Faculty Relationships

Some students may feel that, just because faculty seem to be friendly with each other, they are unable to view situations or individuals objectively or fairly (i.e., they agree with someone just because they like that person). Please understand that we view it as our responsibility to not let any personal friendships with fellow faculty interfere with our responsibilities to fairly and constructively address any problems you may have with other faculty. While it is important that faculty get along for a number of reasons, that does not mean they have a herd mentality.  Each faculty member will make his/her own decision about individuals and situations based on the faculty member’s best judgment, not based on who their friends might be.

To Whom Can You Talk?

Either or both of the Co-Directors (Vanessa Malcarne at SDSU and Lauren Brookman-Frazee at UC San Diego) are available to meet with you to discuss any personal or professional issue, concern, or problem that could potentially interfere with your success in the program.  If you are uncomfortable talking to one for any reason, you can talk to the other one. You can email or call to set up a time to talk.

The Student Council is available to listen to issues and concerns, assist you in problem solving troublesome situations, and help you to figure out what the next best steps might be. The student Council has the full resources of the JDP available to it, and can call a Steering Committee meeting if deemed necessary. All incoming doctoral students are represented by the second year class representative.

Colby Chlebowski, who is the Clinic Director and Chair of the Practicum Committee, at SDSU; V. Robin Weersing, who is the Associate Director at SDSU; or Tamara Wall, who is the Associate Director at UC San Diego, are each available to talk with you should you be uncomfortable going to either Co-Director.

Should you have a complaint about either Co-Director or about a faculty member and do not feel your concerns have or will be addressed by talking to other people, you can speak to the JDP home Department Chairs at each institution. Currently these are Paul Gilbert at SDSU and Jeff Daskalakis at UC San Diego.

If there are problems with mentors or other faculty within your program area, you can talk to either or both of the major area of study co-leaders. If you feel uncomfortable talking to the person at the same institution as the person with whom you are having difficulties, you can go to the co-leader from the other institution. The major area of study co-leaders are:

Behavioral Medicine:  Kristen Wells (SDSU) and Neal Doran (UC San Diego)

Experimental Psychopathology: May Yeh (SDSU) and Charles Taylor (UC San Diego)

Neuropsychology: Sarah Mattson (SDSU) and David Moore (UC San Diego)

You can talk with your mentor (or in many cases, your co-mentor/s) about issues or concerns with courses, practica, lab assignments, research activities, or personal issues that may be affecting your progress.  If for some reason that is not possible, the other members of your guidance committee should be available to meet with you individually and discuss your concerns or issues as well.

Issues related to practicum can be discussed with (a) your current practicum supervisor/s or (b) Colby Chlebowski, Chair of the Practicum Committee, or (c) any or the other individuals mentioned above.

Issues related to your performance in any class should be discussed first with the person teaching the class.  Should that not help you to resolve the problem, you can speak to any other course instructor or any of the people listed above.

Should you have concerns about required coursework or the overall curriculum, you can talk to the Chair of the Curriculum Committee, Mark Myers.

Questions or concerns about program policies and procedures can be discussed with the Chair of the Steering Committee, Robin Weersing.

Should none of these avenues resolve your concerns, you can file a formal grievance with the JDP Grievance Committee. Procedures for doing that can be found here:

Resources outside of the program

Both universities provide resources you can use, as follows:

Each university has an Ombudsman office.

SDSU describes this office as, “The Ombudsman acts as the student liaison or mediator, and is a confidential, independent, and neutral resource for students.” (

UC San Diego describes this office as, “An alternate channel for confidential, neutral, and informal dispute resolution services for the UC San Diego Community.” (

Should you experience sexual harassment or discrimination, each university has an office that can assist you with that (see below).  You can also contact the Sexual Abuse Recovery Center for support.

At SDSU, information about how unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment is handled can be found at

At UC San Diego, information about the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination can be found at