All master’s students are required to complete an academic year-long applied experience as a professional counselor-in-training. The internship experience, including both site placement and associated supervision, is designed to integrate and to expand upon the foundation of knowledge acquired in the core curriculum. Internship students will have an opportunity to assume responsibilities of professional counselors and to practice counseling techniques under the close supervision of both on-site professionals and department faculty.
The master’s degree stipulates that students must satisfy a three-semester internship requirement, including Counseling Psychology 806 (a pre-internship course taken year one) and two semesters of Counseling Psychology 808 (a field internship taken in year two). The 808 internship course takes place primarily in sites selected by students to match career interests and consists of two semesters of internship at a single site. Community agencies and college counseling settings provide services to targeted populations through one-on-one and group counseling, outreach programs, case management, crisis intervention, and/or in-home intervention programs.
The internship requires 600 hours of counseling tasks (on-site and at the university) under the supervision of an experienced professional counselor and the university supervisor. Internship students are required to spend 20 hours per week engaging in internship-related activities, including 16 hours “on-site” and four hours “within-department” (described below). These hours add up to 300 internship hours per semester. Ideal internship placements provide opportunities for on-going individual and group counseling, consultation, appraisal/assessment, program development, and career counseling. Internship students meet individually with on-site supervisors one hour per week for advice, consultation, processing of activities, and feedback. On-site supervisors have a master’s degree in counseling, a doctorate in counseling psychology, or an MS/PhD in a related field such as social work, and they have relevant licensure as required by law. Internship students also meet individually with a departmental supervisor with a primary focus on professional identity and development. Departmental supervisors (the 808 course instructors) have contact with your site supervisors during the year (phone consults and site visits).
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Internship students will adhere to all rules and regulations of the agency in which they are completing their internship, including adherence to the organization’s calendar. That is, regardless of the university’s academic calendar and holidays breaks, internship students are expected to work in their assigned internship settings from the beginning to the end of the agency’s program year. For example, internship placements occurring in public or private schools will terminate at the completion of the school’s academic year.
Students are required to follow the ethical standards for community counselors and/or college student personnel.
Internship students are jointly supervised by the on-site supervisor and the university supervisor, and are responsible for maintaining ongoing communication with both. Supervisors will work closely with internship students to develop a regular schedule of meetings and be available for on-going consultation and support.
Internship students are required to attend supervision sessions at the university. These supervision sessions will typically be held for either two or three hours. During this time students will:
- Share their counseling experiences
- Demonstrate their current skills and limitations in counseling interventions, and
- Select goals for development of skills, knowledge, or self-awareness to address school or community/college counseling or professional development related matters in subsequent work.
The on-site supervisor is the key person in the internship. The supervisor directs the internship student in all activities related to the internship experience. An internship, by definition, should allow an internship student to receive the benefits of close and intense experiences with students or agency clients, the on-site supervisor, and on occasion other agency personnel. Continuing encouragement and supervision is a vital factor in helping an internship student develop into a professional counselor. It is expected that the on-site supervisor will assign the counselor-in-training experiences in all parts of their program so that there will be opportunities to fully experience and learn about the counselor’s many roles.
It is the responsibility of the on-site supervisor to provide constructive on-going evaluations of the internship student’s performance of assigned duties. The on-site supervisor will complete a written summary evaluation of the internship counselor at midterm and at the end of the student’s experience. This form will be provided to the on-site supervisor by the university supervisor.
The on-site supervisor should feel free to consult with the university supervisor at any time during the internship experience to discuss any concerns regarding the progress and performance of the internship student.
The university supervisor is responsible for communication between the Department of Counseling Psychology program faculty, on-site supervisor, and the internship student.
It is the responsibility of the university supervisor to visit the internship site on at least two occasions during the internship to observe the student counselor performing the roles of a counselor (i.e., individual counseling, pair counseling, facilitating small groups, and large group guidance). The supervisor will provide the student verbal feedback following the observation visit and will then review the student’s summary of developmental strengths and areas of growth for the remainder of the semester and help them develop skills in these areas. The university supervisor also will make contact with the on-site counselor during the visit.
The university supervisor is responsible for facilitating the group supervision sessions.
The university supervisor is responsible to assign a final grade to the internship student. The general evaluation criteria include:
- Evaluations by on-site and university supervisors
- Documented completion of 600 hours of experience
- Demonstrated growth throughout the experience (e.g., through written work, verbal contributions and discussions in supervision, case presentations, contributions to peers’ and colleagues’ development, and documentation in portfolio)
- Completion of appropriate internship forms at mid-year and at the end of the year.
The university supervisor will work with the student and/or on-site supervisor to resolve and work productively through any problems relating to the experience.