Practicum Guidelines

Placement

As part of a regional state university, the faculty of the Department of Psychology and Counseling have as their primary aim service of the constituents of the region in the public sector. Thus, it is desired that students complete the practicum requirement in a state-run or non-profit setting offering appropriate psychological services as would befit the objectives for the student’s practicum experience as indicated below.

Supervisor Qualifications

Appropriate, competent supervision is required not only for reasons of legal liability, but also for the protection of the consumers of the services provided by students on practicum. Given the range of activities typically required of students on practicum (see objectives, below), it is preferable and in most cases necessary for the supervisor to hold a doctoral degree in applied psychology (such as Clinical, Counseling, or School Psychology) as well as a license as a psychologist in the state wherein the student’s practicum activities are being conducted. Given the legal requirements of the administration of certain test instruments, this is a minimum standard for supervision of assessment activities. Supervision of therapy activities requires an appropriate degree for the provision of such services (including MSW, MS in clinical/counseling psychology, etc.) and at least three years post-degree experience. Supervision must be available on-site with meetings held regularly (at least twice weekly is desirable), and supervisors are required to review all products of student work, such as reports and progress notes, with appropriate signatures where needed.

Process

Students are responsible for setting up their own practicum experiences. The program faculty will assist in informing students of sites that have been recently approved by the department’s Practicum Committee, but students should be contacting appropriate agencies and supervisors during the term prior to the practicum semester. A practicum application must be completed and turned in prior to the end of the term before practicum; if a site requires review by the Practicum Committee prior to approval, it is recommended that the student submit the application early to facilitate a review (including a site visit and meeting with the potential supervisor) in a timely manner. As part of the application, students must show evidence of liability insurance, which can be acquired if desired through PAGE (applications available in the office of the Dean of the College of Education).

Student Objectives

Our students are placed in a variety of human service settings which serve a heterogeneous population.  It is difficult to state objectives for students and their field supervisors which can be realized in most settings.  With that limitation, the following goals may provide some clarification and, at least, offer a basis for further specification.  It is intended that the student

1.     Receive a general orientation to the range of services, kinds of clients, types of professionals and philosophical outlook of the organization;

2.     become acquainted with and participate in the daily provision of services to clients through observation and then apprenticeship;

3.     experience a rotation through representative service functions to acquire a balanced orientation to clinical services;

4.     provide supervised counseling on (a)n individual and, if available, (b) group basis:

a. individual counseling may include vocational, marital, or

   personal-adjustment matters suitable in scope to be adequately

   addressed during the span of the practicum experience. Students    

   are expected to exhibit counseling methods representative of

   several approaches including those of a cognitive, behavioral

   and person-centered nature;

b. group counseling may consist of the student serving as a co-

   therapist after acclimation to the group.  Such groups may be           

   open or closed and may be a problem-centered or diffuse as the

   need of the unit dictates;

5. administer, interpret and report on psychological tests which typically would consist of as a battery selected on the basis of the presenting problem.  Five reports are recommended, although the scope and nature of the assessment battery would likely influence the number of reports that would be written.  The following instruments are appropriate to the student’s level of training:

a. Intelligence- the Wechsler Scales, PPVT-R, TONI-R, DAP or other

   nonverbal measure;

b. Personality- MMPI, HTP, 16PF, Sentence Completion, CPI;

c. Visual-Motor- Beery VMI, Bender Gestalt, Memory for Designs;

d. Achievement- WRAT-R, PIAT-R, or other standardized measure;

e. Vocational- Self-Directed Search, SVIB or Kuder;

f. Adaptive Behavior - ABI (short form), Vineland or ABS;

6. maintain a log of professional activities which reflects time spent both in ad out of the facility devoted to practicum-related activities which may include attending workshops, meetings with supervisors, staffings, or reading assigned articles/chapters, writing reports or conducting research.  It is suggested that the student devise a code representing the various activities to expedite the process.  The on-site supervisor reviews and initials the log periodically;

7. meet all scheduled obligations on a consistent weekly basis and not attempt to accumulate aggregates of hours in an effort to compensate for lost-time;

8. develop and exhibit professional attitude, manner, commitment and

   attire; adopt the view that one is a guest in the facility;

9. manifest care and sensitivity to the client’s and unit’s needs;

10.maintain all ethical standards and seek assistance as needed.