COUNSELING INTERNSHIP & PRACTICUM HANDBOOK
The University of Idaho Counseling & Testing Center offers a graduate practicum for masters level students enrolled in a graduate program in counseling or clinical psychology. Other qualified applicants may also be considered. The objectives of the training program are to provide students with intensive supervision and training while they gain experience counseling college students in a university setting.
This practicum is designed for students who have studied basic counseling theories and techniques, and wish to gain experience providing psychotherapy to students in a college setting. Each student receives at least 1.5 hours of individual supervision and 2 hours of group training and supervision per week. Students must commit to a full academic year (both fall and spring semesters) and register for at least 2-3 credits semester in their program.
Students enrolled in the University of Idaho Counseling & School Psychology Program must complete 50 clock hours for each credit they are registered for (150 total clock hours for 3 credits), of which 40-50% must be direct client contact hours. Students enrolled in other graduate programs need to follow the practicum and internship guidelines of their particular program.
Qualifications Needed For Practicum
Previous counseling experience or related experience is strongly preferred. Prerequisites include the following UI courses or their equivalent at another institution: Required Prerequisites
Theories and Applications of Counseling I or the equivalent
Theories and Applications of Counseling II or the equivalent
Individual Appraisal/Assessment or the equivalent
Career Counseling & Development or the equivalent
Psychopharmacology or the equivalent
Case Conceptualization & Diagnosis (Psychopathology) or the equivalent Practicum/Internship Training Program and Goals
The objective is to train ethical and competent mental health counselors in the practice and application of effective therapy. The practicum program provides structured training activities that take into account the needs, interests and backgrounds of each individual intern. Students select their own goals, objectives, and areas of interest to meet their individual needs. This practicum/internship is designed for students who wish to develop counseling skills by providing a variety of services offered to college students through a university counseling center. These services include Intake and Assessment, Individual Counseling, Career Counseling and Outreach. Additional services and training opportunities, depending on availability, may include Consultation with the Health Center Psychiatrist and other staff, Biofeedback Training, and Group Counseling. Prerequisites for co-facilitating a group include completion of the first semester of practicum, completion of Group Counseling course and approval of the student’s individual supervisor, group facilitator, and practicum training coordinator.
The practicum training consists of integrating academic learning with direct clinical experience and professional development. The most important learning occurs through providing direct mental health service under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. The core of the practicum experience is intensive supervision in individual counseling. The practicum year is also a time for transitioning from beginning counselor to a skilled counselor. The faculty at the Counseling & Testing Center is committed to facilitating the development of personal growth and professional identity of each practicum student through supervision, consultation, modeling, and mentoring.
The first two weeks of the semester are designed to familiarize students with the counseling center’s policies and procedures and facilitate their transition to practicum. During this time students will learn about the centers policies and procedures, attend various training seminars, meet with counseling center faculty and potential supervisors, and visit and learn about other campus referral resources. After the orientation period, interns will gradually be assigned clients and begin to build their caseloads. Clients assigned to counselors have been screened to facilitate a therapeutic match appropriate to the student’s level of development. Training Facilities
The Counseling & Testing Center provides an office equipped with a video camera for taping counseling sessions. A separate workroom with computers and a printer is also available for preparing case notes and other reports. Files, tapes, and disks may not be removed from the office and all notes and other paperwork must be prepared at the Counseling Center. Time Requirements
An estimate of the time you will need to spend on various activities is listed below. Individual needs may vary.
Individual supervision 1-1.5 hrs
Training seminar and group supervision 2
Notes & case reports 2-5
Counseling sessions 5-7
Total 10-16 hours Credits and Grading
Students should register for 2 or 3 credits of internship or practicum in their program. Advanced students may request approval for adding additional credit hours. Students enrolled in the University of Idaho CASP master’s program in counseling must complete 50 clock hours for each credit they are registered for (150 total clock hours for 3 credits), of which 40-50% of the total clock hours must be direct client contact hours. Students enrolled in the Specialist or Doctoral degree program must complete 100 hours per credit (300 total clock hours for 3 credits), of which 40-50% of the total clock hours must consist of direct clinical work with clients.
Practicum is Pass/Fail only. The grade is based on satisfactory completion of program requirements as outlined below, and midterm and end-of-semester evaluations from the supervisor. At that time, supervisors will provide a written evaluation of the student progress and identify any concerns they may have. Evaluations are based on self-evaluations, individual and group supervision, attendance and participation in the group training seminar, video or audiotapes of counseling sessions, case presentations, case notes and written reports, and client feedback. All assignments (including case notes and reports) must be turned in before a grade will be given. Supervision
As stated previously, the heart of the practicum experience is the supervisory relationship. Students will work with one individual supervisor each term to facilitate varied experience of supervision, maximum growth and development. Students will select a supervisor at the beginning of each term. Supervisors serve as mentors and teachers to help students grow and develop as counselors. They also monitor the caseload and provide feedback and formal evaluations at mid-term and the end of the semester. The purpose of these conferences is to provide both the supervisor and the student with an opportunity to evaluate progress, exchange feedback, identify strengths, as well as problems, and formulate goals for supervision. At that time, each supervisor will provide a written evaluation of student progress and identify any concerns they may have about the student’s progress. In addition, each intern has the opportunity to complete an evaluation of their supervisor, the training and the supervision process.
Interns meet with their supervisor for a minimum of 1 hour per week. Consistent and timely attendance at the weekly supervision meeting is essential. Case Assignment and Exclusionary Criteria for Practicum Counselors
The Counseling & Testing Center is invested in assuring that Practicum Counselors are assigned clients who are not too difficult or dangerous to work with, while also wanting to give practicum counselors interesting experience with as many clients as possible. The below criteria are designed to assist practicum counselors and their supervisors in determining before or after intake whether a client is appropriate for them to work with. In determining appropriate clients for practicum counselors, the primary issues to consider are the intensity and severity of the client's symptomology.
- Client presents with moderate to significant risk of suicide.
- Significant risky behaviors that could lead to self-harm.
- Actively psychotic, or at risk for a psychotic episode.
- Disruptive, notorious (article in student paper) or otherwise politically sensitive.
- Recently sexually assaulted or otherwise recently traumatized.
- Eating Disorders (beyond mild body image and emotional eating).
- Active substance abuse, particularly as the primary issue.
- Partner and/or family physical abuse (domestic violence).
- Partner and/or family severe emotional abuse situations.
- Clients who meet the DSM criteria for PTSD and/or childhood sexual abuse.
- Ethnic minority or international students if the student has not had the multicultural counseling class, unless approved by supervisor.
- Clients requiring high frequency contacts with physicians or others outside of CTC such that the counselor’s limited availability on CTC premises would make it difficult to manage the case.
- Any chance that the client will harm someone.
- Client has ideation of harming a specific person with a weapon but has reasons to not harm and is willing to establish a safety plan. No current ideation but significant history of harming others.
- Serious active self-mutilators, (mild and infrequent cutting OK—consider whether an implement is used and likelihood of unintentional severe harm).
- GLBT coming out issues as presenting issue, unless approved by supervisor.
- Severe Anger problems
- Compulsive sexual behavior or significant paraphilia
- Serious Personality Disorders (some traits OK upon approval of the supervisor)