University Counseling Services (UCS) provides practicum training for doctoral-level students in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. The UCS training model is developmental in nature, and the Practicum Seminar coordinates the practical learning experience for Counseling Psychology graduate students. Trainees are assisted in learning, applying, and refining their basic counseling skills, theoretical orientation, and conceptualization of clients through collaborative instruction, group supervision, case consultation, and peer feedback. Formal and informal feedback about the practicum experience and the individual trainee's development is solicited and exchanged throughout the year, and evaluative information is communicated to the Psychology Department.
Practicum students make a commitment for two consecutive semesters at UCS, which includes participation in UCS Training Orientation, weekly Practicum Seminar meetings, weekly Clinical Consultation meetings, and Outreach activities. Practicum students also have the option to attend weekly Clinical Disposition Team meetings to learn more about the client assignment process and identify clients of clinical interest. The hours indicated below do not include additional training activities.
Average Activity Per Week
- Individual therapy: 5 hours
- RAM (initial contact) appointments: 2 hours
- Outreach & Prevention programming: variable (participation in 5+ outreach activities over the course of the practicum experience)
- Individual supervision: 1-1.5 hours
- Practicum Seminar: 2 hours
- Friday Clinical Consult Team meetings: 1 hour
- Clinical paperwork: 1-2 hours
- Preparation for case presentations: 1-2 hours
- Practicum Seminar readings: 1-2 hours
- Clinical Disposition Team meetings (optional): .5 hour
It should be noted that these numbers represent weekly averages. Actual time spent in many activities varies with the ebb and flow of clinical demands during the academic year.
UCS does not permit practicum students to provide couples therapy or co-lead group therapy (see Advanced Practicum).
Evaluation of practicum students involves completion of the UCS evaluation forms by individual supervisors and practicum seminar leaders. Practicum students will be provided verbal feedback about their progress at mid-semester and written feedback at the end of each semester. A copy of the written evaluations will be provided to the department. All evaluation forms will be placed in the practicum student's file.
To avoid ethical issues stemming from dual relationships, we do not accept students into our practicum training program who have received clinical services at UCS from a senior clinical staff member.