Practicum & Internship
The practicum is a first year clinical placement that focuses on conducting psychosocial, risk, and substance abuse assessments in acute and chronic care settings. Students in practicum training work for 16 hours per week for an academic semester. Students are in the field for over 200 hours over the course of a semester.
The practicum is an integral component of clinical training. It provides a closely supervised clinical experience in which students use the knowledge obtained in the classroom to understand their clients and to develop skills in assessment, psychotherapy and other discipline related areas. As such, the practicum serves to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of the education of the professional clinical counselor. The practicum training also allows students to become familiar with professional collaboration and consultation in a clinical setting. For many students, the practicum will be their first experience in the clinical field. Therefore, the practicum experience should be viewed as a highly individualized learning experience tied to the developmental needs of the student. The overall goals of the practicum are for students to develop their diagnostic and case conceptualization skills through practical application.
Practicum is composed of varied experiences, which are determined by the particular needs, opportunities, mission, and training goals of the practicum site.
The internship is a second year clinical placement where students focus on their particular areas of interest and specialization. Students select their internship placements based on what settings and populations they want to receive advanced training. Most students select an internship placement which most closely aligns with their career interests. The primary goal of the internship is for students to gain experience learning and practicing various psychotherapeutic techniques with individual, group, and family therapy clients. Students in internship training work a minimum of 24 hours per week for a full academic year and complete over 700 hours of training in the field.
An internship is intended to enable the student to develop more advanced assessment and counseling skills. During their internship field placement students are mentored and encouraged to develop their identity as a professional clinical counselor. As interns continue to develop their professional skills, opportunities to perform their work in a more autonomous capacity is highly encouraged. The internship year should be a time of both personal and professional development in the field of clinical mental health counseling.
During the practicum and internship field placements student receive weekly supervision at their respective training facility and at our academic institution. All students registered for field placement engage in 2 1/2 hours of weekly small group supervision at the University. Class size for group supervision is limited to 8-10 students to allow for a more intensive supervisory relationship with your instructor.
Over the course of training, students are expected to engage in various clinical and professional activities which includes most of the following experiences:
- Engagement in approximately 5-10 hours per week of direct clinical contact
- Observing assessment/counseling sessions (Initial phase of training)
- Perform clinical activities with increasing levels of autonomy
- Structured skill development exercises and experiences (i.e. role-playing, video/audio taping sessions, process recordings)
- Conduct culturally competent intakes, assessments, and therapy
- Maintain individual case load consisting of individual, family, or couples therapy clients
- Co-lead or lead group psychotherapy or psychoeducation sessions
- Intake/Assessment report writing
- Enhancing diagnostic skills including prescribing diagnosis on all five DSM-IV axis
- Develop case conceptualization skills
- Demonstrate the capacity to integrate and apply theoretically sound approaches to therapeutic interventions
- Learn how to develop and implement treatment goals
- Demonstrate the capacity to communicate effectively orally and in writing
- Give and receive feedback regarding clinical cases with supervisors
- Engage in case presentations to multidisciplinary staff in team meetings
- Attend educational didactics/seminars to supplement clinical knowledge
- Engage in research protocols where opportunities exist