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Practicum Placement

Practicum Description

A practicum at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is designed to give doctoral students the opportunity to further enhance their counseling skills and develop their own natural counseling style that is consistent with their theoretical orientation, values, and beliefs. A secondary and equally important goal of the practicum is the development of professionalism.

This practicum provides doctoral students with supervised experiences in short-term individual therapy, intake assessment, case disposition, and management. Additional opportunities may be available in group therapy and outreach. Opportunities are not available in assessment and couples counseling. Availability of additional clinical opportunities will be based on a student’s level of doctoral training and clinical experience and interests as well as on CAPS system needs. As a part of our training program, we value a focus on self-examination. Practicum students are invited and expected to share personal reactions and to engage in a process of self-examination in supervision.

Students benefit most from a practicum at CAPS that spans the duration of the academic year. Semester-long practicum placements may be considered on a case by case basis, but are generally not preferred.

Practicum Objectives

  1. Perform counseling center duties including short-term individual therapy, as well as any additional clinical duties negotiated as part of the practicum placement (e.g. group therapy, outreach).
  2. Develop skills to accept feedback from supervisors, including a focus on self-examination.
  3. Effectively collaborate with a multidisciplinary staff, including psychiatric providers and case managers.
  4. Integrate science and practice to impact treatment with clients.
  5. Demonstrate an awareness of and sensitivity to multicultural issues relevant to both professional development and specific cases. This includes a willingness to explore issues related to race, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, spirituality/religion, socioeconomic status, and ability/disability.
  6. Demonstrate an awareness of and sensitivity to ethical issues relevant to specific cases and act in accordance with the Ethical Code of the American Psychological Association.

Minimum Practicum Requirements

  1. Provide individual psychotherapy to 5 clients weekly. (5 hours)
  2. Actively participate in 1-1.5 hours of individual supervision weekly in the fall semester with a licensed psychologist. In the spring 2019 semester, students who are carrying 5 short-term therapy hours will participate in 1.5 hours of individual supervision weekly provided by a doctoral intern or post-doc. If a student is co-leading a therapy group at CAPS as part of their practicum placement, they will only carry 3 short-term client hours. In these instances, in the spring semester, the student will have one hour of individual supervision with a doctoral intern or post-doc for these 3 client hours.
  3. Depending on the size of the practicum class, students may also participate in a one-hour weekly seminar. In the seminar, students will engage in group supervision and are invited and expected to share personal reactions, to engage in a process of self-examination, and provide interpersonal feedback to one another. Time in seminar will also be spent discussing topics such as current caseloads, crisis situations, general therapy information, assigned readings, etc. (1 hour)
  4. Complete paperwork in a timely manner. (1 hour notes time)
  5. Be aware and compliant with CAPS policies and procedures and be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with each of the following: APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state and federal levels; and relevant professional standards and guidelines.
  6. Seek consultation as needed outside of the scheduled supervision.

Note: This practicum totals 9 hours minimum. The total includes the possible one-hour seminar. With a one-hour lunch break, this practicum placement can be completed in one work day. Practicum students could begin the work day at 8 or 9 a.m. and end at 6 p.m., with notes time at the end of the day. If practicum students would prefer to spread their hours out over two days, potentially spending one evening per week in State College, this could be arranged as well. Students will be responsible for any housing and food costs, should they decide to stay overnight in State College.

Application Process

Doctoral students interested in the practicum placement at CAPS should contact the Assistant Director, Training, Shannan Smith-Janik, Ph.D. to request the application materials. These materials can be sent to the student via email. Practicum applications are due by February 23, 2018. Students may submit applications earlier. Interviews will be scheduled as applications arrive, with interviews continuing through March 2. Final decisions will be made by March 6 with a total of 5-6 practicum placements available.

Note: This practicum placement is an unpaid position.

Penn State Student Affairs
Counseling & Psychological Services
Main Location

501 Student Health Center
University Park, PA 16802

Additional Locations

3rd Floor Bank of America Career Services Building
University Park, PA 16802

Allenway Building (Downtown)
315 S Allen Street
State College, PA 16801