The counseling practicum experience consists of a placement for one semester, for the entire 16 weeks of the semester, at an approved agency, service, or institutional setting that provides counseling services. A minimum of 150 contact hours is required. Forty of these must be hours of direct service with actual clients that contributes to the development of counseling skills.
Some students may opt to maximize their practicum experience by scheduling additional hours at their sites. These students may be more competitive as they interview for internships and, ultimately, full-time employment. The site may also require a minimum time period to be present on site.
Students are required to participate in weekly group supervision session with an assigned faculty member and individual sessions as scheduled. These sessions provide opportunities for students to share experiences, discuss ethical concerns, and counseling and consultation interventions. Presentations of cases and assigned readings may also be required by faculty supervisors.
Weekly individual supervision by the on-site supervisor is also required. On-site supervisors are encouraged to include the following activities in their supervision:
- Case/client discussion and feedback
- Review of audio and or video-tapes
- Observation of the student’s sessions
- Co-counseling opportunities with the site supervisor or other counselors at the
- Review of session notes
- Ongoing performance feedback
- Discussions regarding linking theory to practice
Internship Experience Requirement
Internship is the culmination of the academic preparation to become a professional counselor in the areas of both clinical rehabilitation counseling and clinical mental health counseling. The Clinical Practice course is offered in the spring semester and is scheduled for student participation in the last semester of their educational program.
Consent is received when the program faculty members ascertain that the student has (1) completed or is on track to complete the courses listed in the counseling practicum section with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. COUN 609 Group Counseling Theories and Techniques may be taken during the internship semester; and (2) has achieved or is on track to achieve a grade of “Satisfactory” in REHB 672 Counseling Practicum.
This experience enables students to focus intensely on a broader range of competencies and skills. In evaluating possible sites, students should carefully consider their professional goals, previous/related experiences, learning needs, interests, and expectations for fieldwork.
Optimally, students will find a site that represents a “good fit” with their experience, learning needs, career goals, values, interests, and licensure requirements. They must also choose site(s) that provide a 50/50 balance of experiences in the two specializations that comprise the graduate degree of Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at West Virginia University. This translates to 300 hours in the training areas outlined as clinical rehabilitation counseling and 300 in training areas outlined as clinical mental health counseling skills.
During internship, a minimum of three hours each day should be spent providing direct services to clients. At least two of these hours should be scheduled with clients whose presenting problems are of sufficient depth as to lend themselves to a critical review of the student's skills. A minimum of 240 hours of direct service hours is required for internship. Students are also required to facilitate or co-facilitate group work in the last half of the semester.
A weekly group or individual supervision session with an assigned faculty member is required and provides opportunities for students to share experiences and discuss cases, intervention strategies, and ethical concerns. Group supervision will be operated in a similar fashion to the one required for practicum. Weekly individual supervision by the on-site supervisor is also required.
An internship seminar is held on campus in March of each year. Every student is mandated to attend the seminar as part of the clinical practice experience. They must also participate in the associated clinical practice group supervision held with their instructor on campus. These are held on Thursday and Friday of the intensive on campus week.
We work with students to develop their practicum and internship sites in accordance with our policies. If you are interested in learning more about the types of sites we use, check out our clinical site list. This is not an all-inclusive list as we have students living in states across the country. The Clinical Coordinator will work with students to develop sites.