Practicum Program Overview

The doctoral practicum training program at the Student Counseling Service is provided for graduate students who are pursuing doctoral degrees in psychology. Students are expected to have completed a minimum of one year supervised experience counseling clients before applying to our program.  Students from university-based counseling and clinical psychology programs are invited to apply.

The Student Counseling Service training model places a strong emphasis on developing the personal attributes required of psychologists.  As a result, those admitted for our doctoral practicum program are expected to demonstrate a willingness to engage in appropriate self-examination and reflection.  Further, in keeping with our training philosophy, the foundation of our approach to training is a practitioner model. The emphasis is upon learning through the practical application of evidence-based practice in psychology. "Evidence-based practice in psychology is the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences." (American Psychologist, May-June 2006).

Professional skills training will vary in complexity from basic engagement skills to more complex multi-level interventions depending on the individual practicum counselor.  The training model is based on growth and adaptation through progressive increases in challenge and demand throughout the semester(s).

The following are the expectations of students in our program:

  1. A breakdown of the 16 hour per week* time commitment is as follows:

Duties

 

Hours

   

Direct Client Contact

8

Individual Supervision

2

Supervision Preparation

2

Seminar

2

Group Case Supervision

 

2

 

*Practicum counselors are expected to be at the Student Counseling Service 16 hours each week.  This means that if a client does not show for an appointment, you are still expected to be at the Student Counseling Service.  That time may be used to watch tape, read, complete case notes or for other professional development activities.  It is expected that all your time be accounted for in our scheduling system and that you are onsite in accordance with that schedule.

Direct Client Contact

Clients are seen for an average of 6 sessions. The Student Counseling Service provides the greatest benefit to the most students in the shortest amount of time. Staff conceptualize clients from a variety of theoretical perspectives.

Individual Supervision

Quality supervision is seen as the cornerstone of our training program and is highly valued by the entire staff. For the doctoral-level practicum, senior staff or pre-doctoral interns may serve as the primary supervisors. Supervisor assignments are based on a combination of what the trainee is seeking from supervision and goodness of fit with the supervisor.  Primary supervisors meet weekly with the training committee for supervision of supervision and to consult with each other regarding training issues and work on enhancing the supervisory process. Additionally, practicum counselors may expect to receive “live supervision” on occasion. 

Supervision Preparation

Doctoral-level practicum counselors are expected to spend at least two hours per week preparing for supervision. It is expected that the practicum counselor use part of this time to review an entire taped session of their work with a client.  Other activities during this time may include completing case notes, reviewing training tapes, or readings.  Use of this additional time is determined between the practicum counselor and her/his supervisor.

Seminar

This weekly seminar is designed to be a combination of didactic and experiential activities to further skill and case conceptualization development in the art and science of psychotherapy.  In conjunction with topics/activities the training committee brings to these seminars, this is a time for practicum counselors to identify specific areas of training and development in therapy that they wish to address.

Group Case Supervision

During this time, doctoral-level practicum counselors and masters-level interns will meet as a group with two senior staff facilitators.  Trainees will have the opportunity to bring in tapes of their work and receive feedback from the group about their work with a particular client.  This time is specifically designed to address case conceptualization skills and to identify specific interventions that trainees may utilize with their clients.

 

  1. Exclusive commitment: Students will not be admitted if they are concurrently participating in another practicum/internship that is similar to the one at the Student Counseling Service.
     
  2. Each doctoral-level practicum counselor is required to give a formal case presentation at the conclusion of each semester.  Presenting a client case provides an opportunity for interns to articulate to the SCS staff their theoretical orientation and to demonstrate their case conceptualization skills. This type of experience should also help prepare the practicum counselor to discuss his or her therapeutic style and will likely be useful preparation for the pre-doctoral internship match.
  1. Required attendance: doctoral-level practicum counselors will be expected to attend all scheduled meetings, including orientation, meetings with supervisors, group case supervision and practicum seminar.  Students who do not meet all program requirements will not receive required evaluations for the internship experience or may have their performance evaluation affected.
  1. Professional attire: Appropriate attire at the Student Counseling Service is business casual.  Trainees will be expected to maintain this standard while conducting official business at the Student Counseling Service.
  1. Caseload management: doctoral practicum students will be responsible for schedule management of clients assigned to them during the semester.  In the event of a planned absence, the trainee will notify clients and reschedule appointments as appropriate.  In the event of accident, illness, or other unforseen absence, the practicum counselor will notify Student Counseling Service staff as soon as possible and ask that clients be contacted and rescheduled.  Client case notes are to be completed on the day of service before leaving the building.  All recorded materials are to be stored in the file room when not being used to tape sessions or review sessions.  Client information is never to be kept in intern offices while inters are not using those offices.
  1. Evaluation of doctoral-level practicum counselors:  At the end of the semester, supervisors will provide written feedback to doctoral-level practicum counselors regarding their performance throughout the semester and they will recommend a grade for the practicum to the appropriate academic program. Supervisors and supervisees are encouraged to discuss progress throughout the semester but in particular at an informal evaluation meeting at mid-semester. In addition, practicum trainees will evaluate their individual supervisors and the practicum program as a whole.
     

While the work culture at the Student Counseling Service is supportive and collegial, adherence to the above requirements will allow each doctoral-level practicum counselor to have a productive experience as part of our staff.

The practicum coordinator and training director will maintain ongoing communication with your training program as it relates to your progress in the practicum program.

Finally, there are occasions when former clients of the Student Counseling Service are interested in a practicum/internship at the Student Counseling Service.  If there are any concerns about how being a former client impacts opportunities as a trainee at the SCS, please refer to Student Counseling Service Guidelines Regarding Multiple Relationships document.