Practicum Counselor Agreement
We’re delighted to have you join us as a Practicum Counselor for the coming academic year. We hope that your affiliation with us will provide positive experiences treating young adults, with the benefit of focused supervision. We know that your work at CHWS will be very meaningful for the students you are helping. Your work as a Practicum Counselor counts towards the internship hours needed to fulfill your program requirements.
Practicum Counselors see 2-4 clients each week at CHWS and receive one hour per week of individual, clinical supervision with a Doctoral Psychology Intern. Your clinical supervisor will be supervised by a CHWS Licensed Psychologist.
We hope also to expose Practicum Counselors to the workings of a university counseling center. Practicum Counselors are invited to join us for staff meetings and outreach presentations (depending on request for services).
Please read the agreement below and sign at bottom.
The Practicum Counselor's Responsibilities Will Be:
- Practicum Counselor commitment is seeing 2 - 4 clients per week, for nine months. The time committment is about 8-10 hours per week. Due to space limitations, we can not accomodate placements above 10 hours/week.
Please refer to the Position Description page for a list of potential activities.
We anticipate Practicum Counselors will be a part of our staff for a full academic year, from late-August to late-May.
As a Practicum Counselor, you will be invited for a two-session orientation to the program. The first meeting will take place in mid to late August and will include an informal introduction to your Practicum Counselor colleague (it’s a class of two), the Doctoral Interns who will be your Clinical Supervisors, and the three CHWS Staff Psychologists. The second meeting, in late August, will be a more formal orientation to CHWS, including clinic procedures, documentation, etc. You will also schedule the hours you will be at CHWS, as well as arranging a regular supervision time. You’ll begin supervision with your supervisor from that point forward.
- Practicum Counselors provide their supervisor available client slots, and are responsible for keeping those times open for client assignment, to the best of their ability, until filled. Please keep in mind that the more options you provide us, the sooner we’ll have referrals for you. For example, if you’d like to see two clients, but provide us only two slots to work with, our intake counselors are faced with finding students who (a) have followed-through with an intake appointment, (b) want ongoing therapy, (c) would be appropriate for a trainee, (d) have not requested someone else on staff, (e) have agreed to recording sessions, and (f) are available at one of the two hours you’ve provided. Finally, the room Practicum Counselors use for therapy sessions must be available at that hour; our psychiatrist, a part-time counselor and therapy groups use this room, too. Whew! Making that kind of match may take some time, so please provide us as many degrees of freedom as you can, given the demands of your own busy schedule.
You’re welcome to see your clients any time Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., except Wednesdays 9 - 10 a.m. (when we’re in a staff meeting). We want to assure that there is a receptionist to greet your client and a clinician available for your consultation if needed, whenever you see a client.
When you’ve identified all your potential client hours, your supervisor will e-mail the CHWS staff to let them know that you are open to referrals from the students we see at intake. They will list all the times you have provided, so intake counselors may have as many opportunities as possible to make a schedule match. The intake counselor will let you (and the rest of the staff) know when one of those times has been filled. Your supervisor will alert staff when you have decided together that you are “full.”
Please provide your clinical supervisor with appropriate contact information for yourself, so (s)he will have the best possible chance of quickly getting in touch with you on your days away from CHWS, if necessary.
- Practicum Counselors record all of their clinical sessions. Your clients will have already consented to recording before being assigned to you. A webcam will be provided for you in order to record sessions. There is an "audio only" recording function should your client request to not be video-recorded.
We know it’s anxiety-provoking to watch/hear yourself on tape, but experience tells us that it’s an invaluable learning tool. Your supervisor will be listening for what you’re doing well as much as (s)he is listening for what you can better develop.
It’s much better to review to an “old” therapy session than to nothing at all. Really. Be armed with something recorded for every supervision session, even if you’ve had no-shows, cancellations or technical difficulties that week. Being able to observe specific details of sessions always yields more personalized feedback than a general description of “what happened in session” does. In fact, supervision is about figuring out what happened in session!
- Practicum Counselors consent to their clinical supervisor recording supervision sessions. The Practicum Counselor isn’t responsible for the mechanics of recording his or her supervision hour; they simply consent to one of the CHWS Psychologists reviewing recordings of supervision sessions. Please alert your clinical supervisor if there is a potential dual role of having any of the Psychologists review your sessions.
- Practicum Counselors are responsible for documenting their clinical work by writing professional session notes. You’ll discuss with your supervisor the format that is customary for our setting. Either progress notes or SOAP notes are acceptable. Your supervisors will teach you documentation skills if this is new to you, and will not expect you to already know how to describe session content, diagnostic information, treatment plan, phone contacts and so on. This learning process is considered part of the supervisory experience, since it’s key to counselor professional development.
Session notes, client files, and recordings of sessions do not leave CHWS.
- Practicum Counselors are responsible for consulting, as appropriate. Asking for help and understanding how to proceed with a case is part of our ethical guidelines and our professional identity! You can always ask your supervisor for help with tough judgment calls; this needn’t be only during your supervision hour. If your supervisor is unavailable, you’re welcome to consult with any of the other Psychology Staff.
- Supervision is at a reliable time each week. Both Supervisor and Practicum Counselor protect their chosen supervision time, do not double-book this hour, and re-schedule as needed. Both show up to supervision on-time. The supervisory relationship is an important one. It’s not only about reviewing therapy sessions together and providing helpful feedback, but also about your personal and professional development as a therapist. Frankly, it’s your “payment” for serving our clients, and we take your training seriously. Supervision is a time to ask about how to treat people presenting with particular diagnoses, explore your theoretical orientation, experiment with different interventions, and to better understand how clients and their issues affect you as a counselor. It's recommended that you spend a little time each week reflecting on what you’d like to discuss in supervision.
Because the supervisory relationship is not solely about treatment planning, it occurs every week, regardless of whether you have a current client assigned or have had clients cancel that week. There are always issues to explore and skills to practice in supervision that will relate to how effective we are as therapists.
Practicum Counselors will evaluate the supervision they receive at CHWS and will receive written feedback of their progress as well. Each semester we will ask you to complete a written evaluation of the supervision you’re receiving. You will review this with your clinical supervisor, just as you will review the evaluation your supervisor completes of you. Your feedback will be very helpful to your supervisor, as they work to facilitate the most supportive and challenging relationship possible. Your supervisor will also complete whatever paperwork your academic department asks of us.
The Clinical Supervisor’s Responsibilities Will Be:
- Alerting Psychology Staff to Practicum Counselor availability.
- Copying Practicum Counselors on CHWS e-mail communications as appropriate; attending in general to their being informed and feeling included.
- Reserving the Multipurpose Room for therapy sessions (on computerized Point and Click).
- Orienting Practicum Counselors to the evaluation forms they will complete together at mid-semester and end of semester.
- Providing copies of completed student evaluations to academic faculty of the home program, the supervising CHWS Psychologist, and the CHWS Training Director (Dr. Boulter).
- Regular review of supervisee's recordings of therapy sessions
- Providing the supervisee appropriate contact information and making him or herself available for crisis consultation and other brief consults.
- Documenting supervision sessions and bringing high-risk issues to his or her Supervisor-of-Supervision.
- Openness to learning from the supervisee’s perspectives and experiences.
The Intake Counselor’s Responsibilities Will Be:
- Explain the intake process to clients, so they understand they will be matched with a Practicum Counselor at a time that fits their schedule.
- Assure that clients referred to Practicum Counselors have consented to recording sessions.
- Alert the Practicum Counselor by e-mail to the day/time of a new client assignment (will not include client name or any confidential information). That message should be copied to counseling staff, so that slot is removed from list of counselor’s openings.
- Write the intake note at earliest convenience, so the Practicum Counselor may read client file well in advance and prepare for first session.
The Training Director’s Responsibilities Will Be:
- To administer the Practicum Counselor Program in consultation with CHWS colleagues and in accordance with the academic structure of local programs.
- To solicit informal feedback on the program annually from all those involved.
- To implement suggested changes as is feasible, in consultation with CHWS colleagues.
I have read and understand the description of Practicum Counselor activities and responsibilities above, and commit to this agreement.
Charee Boulter, Ph.D., CHWS Training Director