The Counseling and Clinical Health Psychology practicum is a nine-month, 700-hour fieldwork experience usually completed in the second year of the program. The student performs assessments, psychotherapy, counseling, consultation, and other professional work in the role of a counseling psychology trainee for approximately 18 hours per week (700 hours total) at a site approved by the Clinical Training Committee and the student's faculty advisor.
The sites chosen for the practicum must be committed to training professionals and must permit the student to be part of the clinical team. They offer a wide range of training and educational experiences, including the use of empirically supported interventions, brief treatment models, and treatment of a range of psychological and/or medical problems. Qualified on-site clinicians (licensed mental health providers) provide a minimum of one hour of individual, face-to-face clinical supervision per week for the practicum student. Practicum students typically spend about two-thirds of their on-site time performing assessments, psychotherapy, consultation and other interventions, with the remainder of time spent in scheduled learning activities and indirect service.
The practicum experience also includes a weekly practicum seminar taught by a PCOM Department of Psychology faculty member. The seminar provides a time and place for students to discuss their practicum experiences, and helps them to integrate the learning from their courses with the clinical work and on-site training.
Students begin their nine-month practicum in the fall semester (around mid-August) of the second year and continue until the end of the academic term (end of May). The practicum experience provides students with the opportunity to integrate knowledge and skills learned thus far through coursework into clinical practice. The following are a few general requirements of the practicum experience:
- For students in the general track, the practicum must be conducted in a clinical setting.
- Students in the Addictions and Offenders track must find specialized practicum sites that incorporate substance abuse and forensic training.
- Students must be supervised by an onsite, licensed professional.
- Students complete a minimum of 18 practicum hours per week, for a total of 700 hours.