Areas of Concentration

Although advanced practicum counselors are being trained as generalist counselors, some of their direct hours may be used to focus on a chosen area of concentration. These areas of areas of concentration include the following categories:

  • Student Population – International students or 1st generation students.
  • Presenting issues – Eating disorders, anger management, social anxiety, substance abuse, sexual abuse and trauma recovery, or gender issues.
  • Psychotherapeutic Approaches/Interventions – Psychodynamic therapy, mindfulness, biofeedback, crisis intervention, or outreach/consultation.

Each counselor will create an individualized contract with their supervisor and the training coordinator that will determine their weekly schedule.

Individual Counseling

Trainees typically see 4-6 clients per week with exception of some trainees from counselor education to see 10-12 clients per week. After an initial assessment of the trainees’ needs, supervisors work with each trainee to select cases that will facilitate development in particular areas. The Counseling and Wellness Center endorses a brief psychotherapy model (1-15 sessions) and incorporates a variety of theoretical orientations, such as humanistic, feminist, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral. All trainees will see a range of cases that include work with individuals who require very short term (1-6 sessions) problem-oriented interventions as well as brief psychotherapy (7-15 sessions) involving more complex therapeutic interventions.

Trainees make individual presentations of cases in a weekly group supervision meeting, and receive supervision from their individual supervisor each week. Both individual and group supervision provide ongoing monitoring of case conceptualization, treatment planning, and intervention. Trainees are asked to integrate the application of career counseling interventions in their individual therapy as needed. This may include applications of interest and career counseling inventories (such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strong Interest Inventory, and the CHOMP program).

The CWC does not diagnose clients. However, practicum and advanced practicum students are expected to be able to engage in discussions and know possibly relevant diagnoses. They receive seminars on variety of forms of conceptualizing client issues. In addition, they are encouraged to attend Continuing Education programs that provide evidence based practices relevant to treatment.

Group Counseling, Workshops, and Couples Counseling (MFT Advanced Practicum only)

There are several group therapy training opportunities each semester, including process observation, co-leadership, case consultation meetings and seminars.

Process Observation

Process observation of a process group is available to all students and is recommended for all students interested in group therapy. This is an opportunity for experiential learning without the responsibility of leadership. A process observer is often a silent member in the group who records or monitors the process and group dynamics of each group session.

Process observers agree to

  • attend every group session
  • participate in weekly group supervision with the group leader(s) to discuss their observations, reactions and feelings experienced during the session,
  • and attend the bi-monthly group therapy seminar.

Using a developmental training model, as the semester progresses the trainee and the co-leaders may decide for the process observer to have a speaking role within the group. For example, the process observer may be asked to share their process observations with the group depending on the type of the group, the composition of the group members, and the style of the group facilitator(s).

Group Therapy Co-Leadership Supervision

Advanced practicum students may participate as a co-leader in a therapy group if they have taken a graduate level group therapy course (our preference) or taken the semester long CWC group therapy seminar for process observers.

If a trainee does not meet the criteria listed above, they may still be eligible to be a co-leader, for example if they have previously co-lead a process therapy group at another training site. However, exceptions are rare given formalized, didactic training is very important in learning to be an effective group psychotherapist. This will be reviewed on a case by case basis with the practicum and group coordinators. Exceptions may include previous participation in their own therapeutic process group, or is interested in working with a unique client population. Students are eligible to co-lead a group with senior staff member during Fall semester, and with doctoral intern or senior staff member during Spring and Summer semesters. The staff member or doctoral intern will serve as the trainee’s group therapy supervisor. Trainees are encouraged to contact group leaders whom they may have an interest in co-leading with to discuss what the group and their supervisory style is like. However, this does not guarantee that the trainee will be assigned to that group or senior staff member.

The CWC requires you to attend weekly group therapy supervision for either 30 minutes (e.g. psychoeducational groups) or 60 minutes (e.g. process groups). However, if you and your group supervisor decide you would like to extend the supervision time, this is something that can be negotiated together (e.g. 60 minutes for a psychoeducational group). All trainees (especially those serving as co-leaders or process observers) are strongly encouraged to attend the group therapy case consultation meetings held every other weeks.

Trainees are assigned to co-lead based on this training hierarchy: doctoral interns, advanced practicum / group therapy only advanced practicum students, psychiatric residents and fellows. Trainees are assigned as co-leaders based on their training goals and level of group experience. Before the beginning of Fall, Spring and Summer semesters the group coordinator will e-mail the trainees a list of available groups they can co-lead. Interested trainees will rank their preferences and provide their group therapy training goals to the group coordinator. The group coordinator, practicum training coordinator and the co-leaders will work together in placing trainees with a group(s). Placement with a co-leader may include an interview between the trainee and potential co-leader to ensure a good fit.

Couples Therapy

All trainees have the opportunity to engage in couples therapy each semester if they satisfy the following training requirements:

  • Didactic training in the fall through the practicum seminars.
  • Supervision with the couples therapist after each session.
  • Advanced practicum students – They should have taken the couples course, or done the couple’s seminar before seeing a couple.

A practicum or advanced practicum student should be paired with a staff member experienced in couples or group therapy. The staff member will also serve as their group or couples supervisor.

Teaching and Outreach

There are also teaching and outreach opportunities available. Practicum and Advanced Practicum students may choose to co-present a Ready for Success workshop with a senior staff member or doctoral intern. Interested presenters are assigned at the beginning of the semester so contact the Group Coordinator if you would like to present. If a student is interested in other presentations, they are encouraged to contact the Assistant Director for Outreach, Outreach Coordinator, or specific outreach coordinators such as ASPIRE and International Initiatives at the beginning and throughout each semester.

Clinical Assessment

The first method of assessment is the triage. Clients are assessed for severity, appropriateness for Center services, recommended mode of treatment (individual, couples, group counseling, etc.), and referral options. If the client remains at the Center, a new client appointment is scheduled in which a formal clinical assessment interview takes place. The triage session helps inform and direct the nature of this assessment.

The CWC does not diagnose clients. However, trainees are expected to be able to engage in discussions and know possibly relevant diagnoses. Trainees receive seminars on variety of forms of conceptualizing client issues. In addition, they may attend Continuing Education programs that provide evidence based practices relevant to treatment

Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention strategies and techniques are presented during practicum seminar. A clinician is always available for crisis consultation. Trainees are expected to consult with any available clinician when dealing with crisis situations. They are also expected to develop referral skills as an appropriate extension of assessment and counseling techniques. During orientation, the trainees become familiar with the supportive resources available on the campus and in the community. A directory of such services is made available, and the procedure for referral is discussed. All trainee referrals are monitored by the individual supervisor.

Advanced practicum counselors may choose this as an area of concentration. Specific training and duties will be negotiated with the individual supervisor and training coordinator.

Consultation (Advanced Practicum)

Advanced practicum counselors may choose this as an area of concentration. Specific training and duties will be negotiated with the individual supervisor and training coordinator.

Outreach Workshops (Advanced Practicum)

Advanced practicum counselors may choose this as an area of concentration. Specific training and duties will be negotiated with the individual supervisor and training coordinator.



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