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Practicum Clinical Experience

The HDC Program perceives the practicum and internship experience to be on a continuum similar to the model described by Boylan, Malloy, and Scott (1988).

At the pre-practicum end of the continuum, the student should appropriately expect more instructional and active participation with the professor. Basic skill development, and role-playing, peer interaction, and observation activities in a counseling lab setting will be emphasized. In the practicum component, the student will function in a field site with supervision and supportive instructional functions being provided by both university faculty and field site supervisor(s). Observation of functioning professionals at the field site, co-leading counseling activities, and contact with a limited range of clients are likely activities in the initial stages of practicum. These activities are gradually expanded to include counseling/therapy with a broader range of clients and increased opportunities to expand and develop the full range of professional behaviors. At the internship end of the continuum the student is expected to be able to participate in the full range of professional activities within the field site under supervision primarily directed by approved field site personnel.

Practicum requirements are a minimum of 100 hours on-site, with a minimum of 40 hours direct service work. Direct service work must include a minimum of 15 hours of group facilitation or co-facilitation. Internship requirements are a minimum of 600 hours on site, with a minimum of 240 hours direct service work.

“Direct Service Work” is defined by CACREP standards as: “face to face interaction with clients which includes the application of counseling, consultation, or human development skills. In general, the term is used in these Standards to refer to time spent by practicum or internship students in working with clients.”

Direct service work can include telephone contacts with clients for therapeutic purposes. Also included are workshop presentations to groups who are serviced by the agency.

Boylan, J. G., Malley, P. B., & Scott, J. (1988). Practicum and internship. Muncie, IN: Accelerated Development.

Goals of Practicum

Demonstrating microcounseling skills with clients in a real setting, e.g., paraphrasing, open and closed questions, reflection of feeling.

Demonstrating counseling process skills:

  • Clarifying counseling/client expectations.
  • Facilitating the development and incorporation of client insights and awareness.
  • Managing the interview to facilitate client growth.
  • Promoting client integration of cognitive, affective and behavioral domains.
  • Formulating plausible hypotheses about the client’s situation.
  • Facilitating the resolution of client concerns.
  • Ending interview effectively.
  • Conducting case conferences.
  • Terminating counseling relationship effectively.
  • Demonstrating group counseling skills.
  • Demonstrating professional identity development.
  • Meeting supervisors’ requirements.
  • Understanding and complying with operational/agency policies and procedures.

Mandated Reporting

The Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (Ill rev.stat.ch.23) requires that all mandated reporters who have reasonable cause to believe a child known to them in their professional or official capacity may be an abused or neglected child must immediately make a report to DCFS. The DCFS 24-hour child abuse hotline number is 1-800-25ABUSE (1-800-252-2873).

Effective January 1, 2000, if you have reason to believe that an adult 60 years of age or older residing in a domestic living situation who, because of dysfunction, is unable to seek assistance for himself or herself has, within the previous 12 months, been subject to abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation, the mandated reporter shall, within 24 hours after developing such belief, report this suspicion to the Department on Aging at 1-800-252-8966 (Public Act 91-0244).