The Counseling Program requires practicum and internship experiences. The purpose of these experiences is to achieve integration of theory into practice, solidify clinical skills, and incorporate students into the profession of counseling.
While both the practicum and internship involve actual onsite counseling experience, each differs in its scope and purpose. The practicum is designed to give the student a limited experience in a specialized area of counseling and is supervised by both a designated onsite supervisor and a faculty supervisor.
The internship is arranged to provide the student not only with counseling experience but also with experience in all aspects of professional functioning, (e.g., referral, assessment, staff presentations, and use of community resources). In addition, the student receives supervision primarily by the designated onsite supervisor. Both practicum and internship students are required to attend group supervision and other seminars.
The practicum experience is a minimum commitment of 10 hours per week of onsite time for one full semester. The internship experience is a minimum of 20 hours per week commitment of onsite time for two semesters. (This can be modified as needed. For example, a full-time school counselor may be able to complete an internship in one semester of working 40 hours per week. Or it might take longer than two semesters if 20 hours a week is not possible.) To be successful, one will be required to find effective, responsible, and ethical ways to fulfill the practicum and internship experiences and maintain one's employment.
Timeline of Clinical Practice Experiences
Prior to enrollment in practicum, students must have completed the required courses.
Complete the orientation to Practicum and Internship Meeting.
Complete the application to Practicum or Internship: Three months prior to the expected start date for practicum, students must submit an Application for Clinical Practice and Criminal Background Report (if required) to the Clinical Director.
Practicum is the first of the Clinical Practice courses that provides counseling students with direct opportunities to enhance their counseling skills within a structured, supportive environment. Students will be expected to demonstrate the intentional use of counseling skills with clients in an ethical and culturally responsive manner.
Students will complete supervised counseling practicum experiences that total a minimum of 100 clock hours over a full semester.
Practicum students will complete at least 40 clock hours of direct service with actual clients that contributes to the development of counseling skills.
Practicum students will have weekly interaction with supervisors that averages one hour per week of individual and/or triadic supervision throughout the practicum by a counselor education program faculty member, as well as one-hour weekly supervision by an outside site supervisor as applicable.
Practicum students will participate in an average of 1½ hours per week of group supervision on campus on a regular schedule throughout the practicum.
Building on the competencies developed in practicum, internship students will be expected to increasingly demonstrate the full range of competencies expected by a professional school or clinical counselor.
After successful completion of the practicum, students will complete 600 clock hours of supervised counseling internship in roles and settings with clients relevant to their specialty area.
Internship students complete at least 240 clock hours of direct service.
Internship students have weekly interaction with site supervisors that averages one hour per week of individual and/or triadic supervision throughout the internship.
Internship students participate in an average of 1½ hours per week of group supervision on campus on a regular schedule throughout the internship provided by a counselor education program faculty member. (Internship is typically done over at least 2 semesters.)
Expectations of Students
Follow an agreed-upon schedule with the site supervisor.
Dress appropriately for the clinical sites.
Demonstrate professional behavior during individual and group supervision.
Maintain professional correspondence in emails, text, online and verbal conversations with colleagues.
Comply with all agency or school rules and expectations.
Comply with all University policies.
Comply with ACA/ASCA Code of Ethics.
Ensure that supervision is being provided.
Apply information and experiences gained in supervision to the counseling process.
Continuously and actively grow and develop into an effective counselor.
Communicate any and all concerns with the faculty instructor and/or advisor.
Maintain liability insurance.
Qualifications and Expectations of Supervisors.
Fully licensed mental health professional or school counselor with a minimum of two years relevant experience.
Complete Rocky Mountain University training for supervisors.
Be on-site whenever practicum/internship student is providing services.
Maintain communication with Clinical Director and the faculty member.
Provide weekly (one hour) supervision including case conceptualization, tape review, professional identity development, and counseling skills and theory application.
Site supervisors will directly collaborate with university supervisors and/or the Clinical Director to promote counselor-in-training development and ensure client welfare.
Provide open, honest, and timely feedback of counselor-in-trainings’ counseling skills and theoretical application.
Work to create opportunities for learning that allow students to develop professional competencies.
Allow counselors-in-training the opportunity to become familiar with a variety of professional activities and resources, including technological resources, staff meetings, and additional trainings, during their practicum and internship.
Evaluate students using appropriate forms.
PLEASE NOTE: All supervisors will be asked to complete the RMU Clinical Supervision Training that is available online. A certificate of completion for these three hours of professional development will be provided. Also, RMU will provide additional professional development workshops and supervision consultation throughout the year.