The University of Idaho Counseling & Testing Centers offers several practicum options for advanced students in clinical or counselling psychology doctoral training programs.
The Advanced Practicum in Psychotherapy offers experience providing personal counseling with college students. While clients will be screened, they have a wide variety of presenting concerns. The time commitment is 16 hours per week, with approximately 10 hours per week of direct client contact.
The Advanced Practicum in Assessment offers experience in conducting psychological assessment with college students. Referral questions are typically related to ADHD and Learning Disability. There will be 4-5 Saturdays dedicated to assessment in which the bulk of testing for one referral will be completed. In addition to Saturday testing, students will be expected to schedule 8 hours per week in the office for training, supervision and report writing.
The Combined Advanced Practicum offers experiences in both counseling and assessment, with a time commitment of 20 hours per week.
For additional information, contact:
Brian Hopper – Psychotherapy Practicum
Steve Saladin – Assessment Practicum
Previous counseling experience or related experience is strongly preferred. Prerequisites include the following UI courses or the equivalent at another institution:
Theories and Applications of Counseling I
Theories and Applications of Counseling II
Career Counseling & Development
Case Conceptualization & Diagnosis (Psychopathology)
The program objective is to train ethical and competent mental health counselors in the practice and application of effective therapy.
It 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 individual needs.
The 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 Student Health Clinic 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 a group counseling course and approval from the student’s individual supervisor, group facilitator and practicum training coordinator.
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 are committed to facilitating the development of personal growth and the 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 transition into the practicum. During this time, students will 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 caseloads. Clients assigned to counselors have been screened to facilitate a therapeutic match appropriate to the student’s level of development.
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.
Individual needs may vary. The following are estimates per week.
- Individual supervision | 1-1.5 hours
- Training seminar and group supervision | 2 hours
- Notes & case reports | 2-5 hours
- Counseling sessions | 5-7 hours
Total: 10-16 hours
Students should register for 2 or 3 credits of internship or practicum in their program. Advanced students may request approval to add additional credit hours.
- Students enrolled in the UI CASP master's program in counseling must complete 50 clock hours for each credit they are registered — 150 total clock hours for 3 credits — of which 40-50 percent 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 percent of the total clock hours must consist of direct clinical-contact hours.
Grading — Practicum is pass/fail only.
Grades are based on satisfactory completion of program requirements and midterm and end-of-semester evaluations from the supervisor.
Supervisors will provide written evaluation of student progress and identify concerns. Evaluations are based on:
- Individual and group supervision
- Attendance and participation in the group training seminar
- Video or audiotapes of counseling sessions
- Case presentations
- Case notes
- Written reports
- Client feedback
All assignments, including case notes and reports, must be turned in before a grade will be given.
The heart of the practicum experience is the supervisory relationship. Students will work with an individual supervisor each term to facilitate varied experience of supervision, maximum growth and development.
Students 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.
These conferences provide both supervisor and student with an opportunity to evaluate progress, exchange feedback, identify strengths as well as problems and formulate goals for supervision. During the grading process, the supervisor will provide a written evaluation of student progress and identify concerns about the student’s progress. Each intern has the opportunity to complete an evaluation of their supervisor, the training received and the supervision process.
Interns meet with the supervisor for a minimum of 1 hour per week. Consistent and timely attendance at the weekly supervision meeting is essential.
The Counseling & Testing Center is invested in assuring that practicum students are assigned clients who are not too difficult or dangerous to work with. The center also wants to give students an interesting experience with as many clients as possible.
The following criteria are designed to assist practicum counselors and supervisors in determining, before or after intake, whether a client is appropriate to work with. The primary issues to consider are the intensity and severity of a 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 traumatized
- Eating disorders beyond mild body image and emotional eating
- Active substance abuse particularly as the primary issue
- Partner and/or family physical abuse or 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 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 deemed OK; Consider whether an implement is used and the likelihood of unintentional severe harm
- LGBTQA 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 supervisor approval