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 sessions and individual sessions as scheduled with an assigned
faculty member. These sessions provide opportunities for students to share
experiences, discuss ethical concerns, and obtain feedback on counseling and
consultation interventions. Presentations of cases and assigned readings are
also required by faculty supervisors, along with videos of an advocacy
presentation and counseling sessions.
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. As
such, the course is one of the last semesters of our educational program. Our
students practice in sites that provide the necessary clinical experiences in
the areas of both clinical rehabilitation counseling and clinical mental health
Consent is received when the program faculty members ascertain that the student has (1) completed or is on track to complete 80% of the didactic coursework with at least a 3.0 GPA; (2) has achieved or is on track to achieve a grade of “B” in REHB 672 Counseling Practicum; and (3) has been reviewed favorable as part of the professional fitness analysis by faculty.
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 Clinical Practice, an intern is required to provide
direct services to clients for 240 hours of the required total of 600, or a
minimum of three hours each work day. 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 by the site and/or faculty supervisors. Students are also required
to facilitate or co-facilitate group work in the last half of the semester.
Each week of the 16-week semester, it is mandatory that a
student be engaged in the following supervision activities: weekly group and/or
individual supervision and professional development session with an assigned
faculty member; and an hour of weekly supervision by the on-site supervisor.
The program hosts a Clinical and Counseling Practice Seminar in Morgantown during March of each year. Every student is mandated to attend the seminar as part of either their counseling practicum or clinical practice experience. They also participate in the associated clinical practice group supervision held with their instructor on campus. These are held on Thursday and Friday of the immersion on-campus week associated with COUN 609 Group Counseling.
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.