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Practicum Training at CMHC

Business Hours:
Monday thru Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm
Appointment-Scheduling hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-4:00pm
Phone: (512) 471-3515 - Student Services Building 5th Floor
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The Practicum Training Program at the Counseling and Mental Health Center at UT-Austin is designed to provide students in the Counseling and Clinical Psychology doctoral programs and in the Counselor Education master's program with a focused and intensive experience in various clinical modalities, including providing individual counseling, group counseling, and behavioral health interventions to university students. The Practicum Training Program consists of the Counseling Practicum (located on the 5th floor of the SSB), the Counselors in Academic Residence (CARE) Practicum, and the Integrated Health (IH) Practicum.

COUNSELING PRACTICUM

The CMHC Counseling Practicum is a 2-semester, advanced practicum experience that is located on the main floor of the CMHC (SSB 5th floor). This practicum allows students the opportunity to practice within a large and fast-paced university counseling center that provides a wide variety of comprehensive mental health services to the diverse UT student population while working with a multidisciplinary professional staff. The goal of this practicum is to provide training and supervision in the following areas:

  • Clinical skills and competency in providing individual and group counseling
  • Understanding of and competence in the process level dimension of counseling as well as use of the therapist's self and the therapeutic relationship as agents of change
  • Working competently and compassionately with clients from diverse life backgrounds and with wide-ranging presenting concerns
  • Developing skills for working with a multidisciplinary professional staff in a large university counseling center
  • Understanding and working with the "Use of Self" model of training at CMHC

All practicum students at CMHC participate in individual counseling training and may have the option of receiving group interventions training.

Structure of the Counseling Practicum

The counseling practicum at CMHC consists of a combination of time dedicated to direct clinical services, individual and group supervision, participation in a weekly seminar, and additional hours for documentation and other administrative tasks. The designated block of direct clinical service time is a minimum of 8 hours per week. Students may choose to emphasize individual counseling and thus dedicate all of their clinical hours to this activity, or they may schedule a lower number of individual counseling hours in order to gain experience in co-leading a group. Students may also increase the number of hours (beyond the 8 hour minimum) in order to incorporate more individual clinical time, or to add a group experience, with the approval of the Practicum Coordinator and the student’s supervisor. Including direct clinical services, supervision, seminar, and administrative time, the total minimum commitment to the practicum is 13 hours per week. (Please note that the specific structure of the practicum is subject to change)

Individual Counseling Experience

Each trainee is expected to provide a minimum of six hours per week for individual counseling sessions. Given the variability in attendance rates and the fact that some clients may be seen less frequently than every week, the size of trainees' caseloads varies. Practicum students at CMHC have the opportunity to gain experiences working with clients in designated single-session appointments and in brief (2-6 session) counseling.

Individual Supervision

Each practicum student will receive 1.5 hours per week of one-to-one individual supervision focused on their individual counseling cases. Supervision consists of various elements, including case review and consultation, joint observation of video recorded clinical sessions, exploration of practicum therapists' reactions to clinical relationships, and issues related to professional development. Supervision is tailored to each student's needs.

Supervisory assignments are made at the beginning of each semester by the Practicum Training Coordinator in consultation with CMHC staff members and other mental health professionals, and with trainee input, to help maximize learning and growth and to minimize the impact of dual-role issues. In the Fall semester, each practicum student is supervised by a clinical member (either a licensed psychologist, psychology fellow, licensed professional counselor, or licensed clinical social worker) of the CMHC staff. During the Spring semester, most practicum students are supervised directly by psychology interns.

Group Intervention Experience and Supervision

During each semester, trainees may participate as co-leaders of a group experience offered at the CMHC. Interested trainees will be matched with a CMHC staff member, who will serve as the trainee's group supervisor and co-leader. Throughout the practicum, trainees who choose this option will gain experience as a co-leader and will receive one hour of supervision weekly, in addition to the direct supervision provided during group sessions. The group intervention portion of the practicum is optional, and availability to participate may vary, depending on the number of groups offered each semester.

Practicum Seminar / Group Supervision

Each practicum trainee is expected to attend the seminar every week for the duration of the practicum. The seminar is typically scheduled during Monday mornings. Practicum students are asked to arrange their course schedule in order to include the seminar. Practicum trainees are able to adjust almost every other aspect of this training experience to fit their academic schedule.

The two-semester seminar provides an opportunity for practicum students to be guided by a senior staff psychologist as they process with, learn from, share with, and teach each other. We will cover a range of clinical and diversity topics, utilize case presentations and consultations, and have guest speakers to introduce and discuss several critical concepts in therapeutic practice. Various collaborative learning methods may be used in the seminar to foster cohesiveness, mutual learning, and respect for diverse theoretical and worldviews.


Time Allocation for the Counseling Practicum at CMHC

Activity Time Allotted
Minimum Maximum
Direct clinical services (individual and group counseling) 8 hrs. Open
Individual Counseling Supervision 1.5 hrs. 2 hrs.
roup Counseling Supervision 0 hrs. 1 hrs.
Practicum Seminar 1.5 hrs. 1.5 hrs.
Administrative Tasks 2 hrs. Open
Totals 13 hrs. Open


INTEGRATED HEALTH (IH) PRACTICUM

Structure of the Integrated Health Practicum

The IH Practicum is a 2-semester, advanced practicum experience that is available through a collaboration between the Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services. This practicum allows students the opportunity to practice as part of the Integrated Health Team in University Health Services and to gain clinical experience in the delivery of health psychology-focused interventions to the diverse UT student population while working with a multidisciplinary professional staff. The practicum requires a 14 hour per week commitment which includes individual counseling, individual supervision with a licensed Integrated Health clinician, participation in the CMHC Practicum Seminar, and collaboration and consultation with UHS medical professionals. Group intervention experience may also be available.


Time Allocation for the Integrated Health Practicum at CMHC

Activity Time Allotted
Minimum Maximum
Direct clinical services (individual and group therapy) 8 hrs. Open
Individual Counseling Supervision 1.5 hrs. 2 hrs.
Group Counseling Supervision 0 hr. 1 hr.
Integrated Health Team Consultation Group 1.5 hrs 1.5 hrs
Practicum Seminar 1.5 hrs. 1.5 hrs.
Administrative Tasks 1.5 hrs. Open
Medical Staff Meeting (optional) 0 hrs. 1 hr.
Totals 14 hrs. Open


COUNSELORS IN ACADEMIC RESIDENCE (CARE) PRACTICUM

CARE practicum students will be working in a non-mental health setting. Successful practicum students in this placement will be flexible and skilled at problem-solving. The goal of this practicum is to provide students in the master’s program in Counselor Education, and the Counseling and Clinical Psychology doctoral programs at UT with a focused and intensive experience in providing individual counseling to university students and to provide training and supervision in the following areas:

  • Clinical skills and competency in providing individual counseling
  • Understanding of the “Use of Self” model (i.e., attending to the process- level dimensions of psychotherapy; appropriately using the therapist's reactions and the therapeutic relationship as agents of change)
  • Working competently and compassionately with clients from diverse life backgrounds and with wide-ranging presenting concerns
  • Developing skills for working collaboratively with a variety of mental health and higher education professionals, and engaging in consultations with these professionals

Structure of the CARE Practicum

The CARE Practicum consists of a combination of time dedicated to direct clinical services, individual supervision, participation in a weekly seminar, and additional hours for outreach and consultation, and administrative tasks. The designated block of direct clinical service time is a minimum of 8 hours per week. Including direct clinical services, supervision, seminar, consultations, and administrative time, the total minimum commitment to the practicum is 14 hours per week. (Please note that the specific structure of the practicum is subject to change)

Individual Counseling Experience

Each trainee is expected to provide a minimum of eight hours per week for individual counseling sessions. Given the variability in attendance rates and the fact that clients may be seen less frequently than every week, the size of trainees' caseloads will vary. Practicum students working with CARE have the opportunity to gain experiences working with clients in brief (up to six sessions) counseling. This practicum allows students the opportunity to receive referrals from academic staff, such as academic advisors, career counselors, deans, and faculty.

Outreach Experience

Trainees will have the opportunity to develop and present workshops focused on addressing mental health concerns that impact academic performance. Examples include Reducing Test Anxiety and Stress Management.


Time Allocation for the CARE Practicum at CMHC

Activity Time Allotted
Minimum Maximum
Direct clinical services (individual and group counseling, case management and consultation) 8 hrs. Open
Individual Counseling Supervision 1.5 hrs. 2 hrs.
Group Counseling Supervision 0 hrs. 1 hrs.
Practicum Seminar 1.5 hrs. 1.5 hrs.
Consultation/Outreach 1 hr. 2 hrs.
Administrative Tasks 2 hrs. Open
Totals 14 hrs. Open


ELEMENTS SHARED BY ALL CMHC PRACTICUM EXPERIENCES

The Use of Self Model

Regardless of the specific work activity, a primary "thread" running through all our training activities is the skill of "Use of Self" and its variants. For us, this means assisting the trainee in exploring and understanding the qualities and dynamics that he or she brings to each interpersonal encounter and how these facilitate or hinder effective interactions. It also means that the trainee is encouraged to become more attuned to his or her own thoughts and feelings in working with clients, and recognize how this increased self-awareness can be used to better understand client dynamics and develop effective treatment strategies. Because we believe in the working alliance as an indispensable ingredient in any helping relationship, we encourage trainees to recognize, improve, and employ those personal qualities that will assist in forming effective working relationships with clients, peers, center staff, and other members of the university community.

Because our training programs are based largely on a relational, use-of-self training model, and because we believe that optimal professional development occurs within the context of self-reflection and personal exploration, our various training activities will, at times, ask trainees to disclose personal information. Our training staff takes very seriously its responsibility to foster and maintain a safe, trusting, and supportive environment that will allow such disclosures to occur in accordance with the goals and objectives of our training model.

Diversity

The CMHC staff is strongly committed to addressing the needs of a diverse student population, and our training programs strive to incorporate and highlight issues of difference as a fundamental part of the training experience. Statement on Diversity

Orientation

Prior to the beginning of the Fall semester, all incoming practicum students take part in a two-day orientation session designed to familiarize students with various aspects of the practicum. The orientation session is held within one week of the beginning of the Fall semester classes. For students who are selected for the IH track, an additional orientation to University Health Services is required, and students selected for the CARE track will receive training specific to the CARE program.

Professional Expectations of Trainees

Trainees are expected to commit to and demonstrate ethical behavior as defined in the APA Code of Ethics and to become familiar with and observe all CMHC policies and procedures. Trainees are viewed as emerging professionals and are respected for the services and skills that they provide. Accordingly, it is expected that they will conduct themselves in a professional manner.

All practicum students will also be expected to:

  • Provide six to eight hours each week to be used for scheduling individual counseling clients. During these hours, it is expected that practicum students will be present at the CMHC, UHS or CARE offices even when no clients are scheduled, due to the fact that clients may be scheduled close to the beginning of clinical appointment times. It is expected that practicum students will use unscheduled time to focus on assigned readings, prepare for supervision, review client records, or to perform case management activities (e.g., making referrals, writing progress notes).
  • Video / audio record every client session. Supervisors often view sessions privately and ask the trainee to show an individual counseling session (or specific part of a session) to aid supervision. Digitally recorded material related to clinical work is treated as confidential and trainees are instructed in how to ensure that this material is secured at all times.
  • Be punctual, consistently attend, and actively participate in the practicum seminar. Practicum students are expected to read and be prepared to discuss assigned readings, to be actively involved in group discussions, and to openly discuss and enlist support and assistance with their clinical caseload.
  • Be punctual, consistently attend, and actively participate in supervision. Students are expected to prepare for supervision on a weekly basis and to initiate and actively engage in discussions which will lead to their professional growth and to receiving the feedback necessary to provide high-quality services to their clients. Trainees are expected to utilize the CMHC resources available to them if their clients experience clinical crises. These resources include individual supervisors, the Practicum Training Coordinator, the daily crisis counseling teams, and the Associate Director for Clinical Services.
  • Be familiar with, commit to, and follow the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct • along with the APA practice guidelines for multicultural populations, women and girls, LGB individuals, transgender and gender nonconforming people, and older adults.
  • APA Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct.
    APA Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists
    APA Guidelines for Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients.
    APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Girls and Women.
    APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Older Adults.
    APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People (PDF).
    APA Guidelines for Assessment of and Interventions with Persons with Disabilities.

  • Maintain timely and accurate client records, including written and electronic documentation, according to established CMHC policies and procedures.
  • Protect and safeguard ALL CONFIDENTIAL client material Specific procedures for protecting client information will be explained during orientation. Absolutely no records or recordings are allowed to be removed from CMHC premises, under any circumstances.
  • Dress in a professional manner, consistent with agency norms for clinical staff members and interns.

Evaluation and Feedback

Evaluation and feedback is an ongoing process that occurs verbally throughout each semester. At the start of the semester, supervisors and trainees, in consultation with the Practicum Training Coordinator, will identify supervisory and clinical goals. At mid-semester, the Practicum Training Coordinator will meet with the student's supervisor(s) and then individually with the practicum student to discuss the student's progress on goals and to highlight any areas of concern or growth so that trainees can focus their training efforts on these issues. As indicated, feedback is provided to department faculty who coordinate the practicum placements.

A written evaluation process takes place at the end of each academic semester. Supervisors provide a written summary of each student's competencies and progress, while the student completes a written evaluation of their experiences with their supervisors. Each practicum student meets with their supervisor at the end of the semester to review and discuss these evaluations.

Copies of written departmental evaluations will be provided to the appropriate Directors of Training at the student's academic department.

Eligibility

Please see the Practicum Application Packet links below for specific information about eligibility requirements.

Application and Selection Process

Applicants must submit a current resume/vita and a completed practicum application form, which includes the names and contact information of at least two clinical supervisors or faculty members as references. If possible, please submit the application and vita via e-mail to the practicum training coordinator. After the deadline, all applications will be reviewed, and selected students will be contacted to schedule an interview to discuss applicants' interest and to evaluate their suitability for the practicum. References and/or departmental representatives may be contacted in order to gather pertinent information.


For the 2019-2020 training year, the application deadline is Monday, February 4th.

Practicum Application Packet (.doc)

More Information

If you have more questions about our program or the application process, please feel free to contact the Practicum Training Coordinator, Dr. Joey Hannah, at (512) 475-8165 or via email at: djhannah@austin.utexas.edu.



We're here for you.    We recognize that many UT students are being impacted by historical and recent events. The CMHC holds firm to the university’s values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Our staff are here to help students navigate through these times. Click here to learn about our resources.



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