Date of Graduation

Spring 5-10-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)


School of Nursing and Health Professions




Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Brent Ferm

Second Advisor

Richard Selph

Third Advisor

Albert Meza


The passage of Proposition 57 in California creates a path to parole for individuals who experienced long-term continuous incarceration. For the first time, men who experienced long-term incarceration are joining reentry populations in California, establishing an emerging subpopulation of men on parole who were incarcerated for life sentences or experienced long-term continuous incarceration. In the San Francisco Bay Area, most of these men will receive mental health services provided by Community Mental Health agencies or California Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (CDRC). Research suggests that men who experience continuous long-term incarceration may have symptoms of Post-Incarceration Syndrome (PICS).

However, few studies have investigated mental health professionals’ experiences of working with individuals who have been released after experiencing long-term continuous incarceration. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was utilized by the researcher because of the strong need to explore and better understand what providers with clinical expertise are currently experiencing while working with this population. The researcher interviewed four licensed mental health professionals who provide psychological services to this population. Qualitative analysis produced novel findings on 1) how providers understand this unique population, 2) the clinical presentation of PICS, 3) building therapeutic alliances with men who have experienced long-term incarceration, 4) current treatment interventions, and 5) the importance for more clinical training to support the needs of this emerging population. This study also provided insight into treatment implications and the need for further research that supports clinical best practices.