Practica, Internship and Field Experience Information
COUN 591 is to be taken in the last semester of the program. Special cases require written approval of the Graduate Counseling Services faculty.
The field experience is to be for a minimum of 2 consecutive semesters. The field experience should be obtained at least 6 months prior to the semester when planning to take the practicum. Exceptions are made only with written permission by a Program Advisor. The practicum course (COUN 580, 581, 585, or 586) is to precede and be completed prior to the internship courses. Each practicum student will be supervised individually one hour each week by the practicum instructor and will also receive one-and-one-half hours of group supervision each week. Internship I and Internship II may be taken concurrently.
Students taking Counseling Services field courses must obtain a professional insurance policy.
Students planning to start their field experience during a fall semester are to have an accepted agreement with both the site supervisor and faculty supervisor by May 15 of the previous spring semester. For those starting during a spring semester, the accepted agreement is to be completed by November 15 of the previous fall semester. For those starting in summer session, agreements are to be completed by April 15 of the previous spring semester. Exceptions must be approved by the Program Advisor. Students planning to start their field work should contact Suzanna McGee (firstname.lastname@example.org), Clinical Coordinator, at least one year in advance of their field placement. Currently enrolled students may also access forms and information about field placement through Blackboard.
The field experience is a planned placement in which the intern is expected to fully participate in the activities which are an integral part of the counseling agency or school counseling services. An appropriate agency or school setting for the intern is one which provides a program of services designed to help individual's function to their optimal capacity. Such programs exist in a wide variety of settings, such as: mental health clinics, correctional facilities, hospital settings, family service centers, comprehensive rehabilitation centers, social service organizations, vocational counseling programs, private counseling programs, substance abuse treatment programs, EAP services, college counseling centers, school counseling centers, and other appropriate sites.
In each setting, the intern must be supervised by an employee of the agency or institution who has a minimum of a Master’s degree in counseling or a related profession with equivalent qualifications, including appropriate certifications and/or licenses, and a minimum of 2 years of experience. The field supervisor oversees the total learning process of the intern in the field placement setting.
The faculty supervisor is responsible for all campus individual and group supervision. The intern will have weekly group supervision seminars throughout the semester. The faculty supervisor will be available for individual supervision and/or consultation with the intern or field supervisor in order to facilitate an optimum field experience.
Field Experience Course Requirements
A minimum of nine credit hours of practicum and internship placement is required of all M.A. in Counseling Services students at Rider University. For all practicum courses (COUN 580, 581, 585, and 586), the minimum requirements are:
- 100 on-site hours
- 40 direct contact hours
- 5 audio and/or video tapes of counseling sessions
- 5 case notes with a sign-off by both field and faculty supervisors
- a weekly supervision session with field supervisor
- 10 supervision sessions with faculty supervisor
- 10 group/class seminars
For the COUN 590 and COUN 591 internship courses, the minimum requirements are:
- 600 on-site hours
- 240 direct contact hours
- audio and/or video tapes may be required
- case notes may be required
- a weekly supervision session with field supervisor
- supervision sessions with faculty supervisor as required
- 10 group/class seminars
Field Experience Goals
The general goal of the field placement experience is the development of the intern being capable of assuming a professional role in counseling. Specific goals of the field placement experience include the following:
- To continue to gain self-knowledge and insight as it relates to clients and the process of counseling
- To continue to develop and utilize the variety of skills and techniques available to counselors in assisting the clients
- To demonstrate in individual and group settings the necessary professional behaviors appropriate to the particular agency/school setting and its client population
- To gain knowledge of the administration and internal procedures of the agency or school
- To gain a working knowledge of community resources available for the coordination of services to clients as well as for the referral of clients to services
- To continue to gain a knowledge of the legal and ethical issues required of the professional counselor
- To continue to develop a knowledge and skills of case presentations and discussions
- To continue to develop a knowledge and skills in case diagnosis and treatment planning
- To continue to develop an understanding of diversity concerns in the counseling process
Responsbilities of the Field Supervisor
- Orient the intern to the agency/school. Orientation should include identification of various components of the program, agency/school policies, department organization, expected intern responsibilities and limitations, etc.
- Meet with the intern at the beginning of the practicum/internship to provide assistance in the development of the internship experience, to provide and discuss the agency/school handbook, and to provide an overview of the working relationships in the agency/school.
- Encourage the intern to seek information by asking questions of the field supervisor and other staff members of the staff, to schedule time for meeting with administrative staff, and for counseling supervision.
- Provide adequate opportunity for the intern to engage in structured observation of counseling activities of the field supervisor and other counselors in the agency.
- Explain how counseling activities are developed and how they relate to the counseling program and the agency.
- Participate in the development and refinement of the intern's experience for the semester.
- Arrange regular times to meet with the intern to provide supervision, to answer questions, to make suggestions, and to facilitate the productive execution of the intern's plan.
- Communicate with faculty supervisor concerns about the intern's development and evaluation of the intern's performance.
- Be a resource for the intern's continuing development of theory, techniques, and materials
- Provide opportunities for the intern to engage in individual and group counseling and in consultation activities.
- Provide opportunities for the intern to tape record counseling and consultation activities.
- Provide the intern with regular feedback regarding implementation of counseling and consultation.
- Conduct at least two (mid-term and end-of-term) written appraisals of the intern's performance; evaluation forms will be provided.
- Maintain contact with the faculty supervisor to discuss the intern's performance and progress. Contact to be determined by the faculty or the stie supervisor.
Responsibilities of the Intern
- The intern is responsible for meeting deadlines necessary to ensure appropriate placement. The deadline for registration for practicum and internship placement courses for the Summer and Fall semesters is April and for the Spring semester is November. The deadline for practicum and internship placements for the Summer semester is April, for the Fall semester is June, and for the Spring semester is December. Exceptions to this require approval by the program advisor.
- Prior to beginning the internship, the intern should become familiar with the agency/school handbook and other relevant agency/school materials.
- The intern should become familiar with the procedures, expectations, guidelines, and evaluation required for the internship placement.
- Use the field experience to enhance skills in individual and group counseling.
- Organize the necessary materials for counseling services.
- Consult with the field supervisor on a regular basis to discuss planned activities and to receive feedback on completed work.
- Use the internship experience to enhance counselor consultation and collaboration skills.
Instruction and Methodology
- Devote time at the beginning of the internship observing other counselors in the agency/school.
- Attend orientations, seminars, and course meetings related to the internship.
- Submit to the faculty supervisor a log of field experience activities at the midpoint and end of the internship experience.
- The intern is expected to perform duties in the same manner as a professional counselor under contract.
- The intern is expected to follow the agency/school calendar rather than the University calendar when completing field experience requirement.
- The intern will discharge all responsibilities at the cooperating agency/school in a professional manner and in accord with ACA Ethical Standards. The intern must adhere to all conduct rules applicable to the agency's/school's employees.
- Inform the field supervisor if you will be absent from your field experience placement for any reason.
Responsibilities of the Faculty Advisor
- The faculty supervisor will coordinate and approve field experience placement with the agency/school setting.
- The faculty advisor will be available for additional contact with the field supervisor.
- The faculty supervisor will endorse the accepted intern plan for the field experience.
- The faculty supervisor will conduct the class meetings and individual and group supervision sessions for the interns.
- The faculty supervisor will assign course grades after consultation with the field supervisor.
Detailed evalutation of the field experience is an important part of the intern's learning experience. The general criteria for evaluation are:
- Quality of on-the-job performance, including evidence of need for less supervision as the field experience progresses
- Estimate the ability to exhibit increasingly complex responsibilities
- Demonstrated awareness by intern of his/her effect on others scope and depth of professional insights gained through the field experience
In accordance with the standards of the Council for the accreditation of Counseling and Educational Related Programs (CACREP) and the Rider University Counseling Services Program, the internship placement school/agency agrees to:
- Provide a minimum of 1 hours of supervision per week
- Monitor and sign off on weekly internship logs, which describe the intern's activities and hours
- Orient the intern to the policies, procedures, and scope of practice of the school/agency
- Provide the intern with the opportunity to acquire a minimum of 40 direct contact horus with counselees during the 100 hour practicum or 120 direct contact hours during the 300 hour internship
- Provide the intern with opportunities to audio and/or video tape direct counseling activities (e.g., individual counseling, group counseling, consulation, psychoeducational presentations, and/or developmental guidance lessons). Minimum requirements for tapes will be established by the Rider University faculty supervisor to meet the individual needs of the intern.
- Complete 2 performance evaluation forms for the intern: one at the mid-point and one at the end of the required hours
- Review, give feedback, and sign a minimum of 5 case notes for a student enrolled in practicum
Supervisors in community agency settings or school settings will possess a minimum of a Master’s degree in counseling or a related profession with equivalent qualifications, including appropriate certifications and/or licenses, and will have a minimum of 2 years ofP experience.
If the intern is an employee of the community agency/school, a written statement is required from the site supervisor delineating how the internship experience differs from the intern's job description, and how the supervisory relationship will not lead to conflicts of interest.
Rider University maintains appropriate liability insurance coverage for all interns accepted by schools and/or community agencies. Students must maintain student professional liability insurance.