Practicum

Practicum Training in University Mental Health

General Program Information

The practicum training program at Counseling, Alcohol and other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services provides experience with the range of psychological services offered in a large, diverse university counseling center.  Our current practicum training program is limited to doctoral students from the Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology due to office space limitations.

Our training philosophy emphasizes the development and refinement of sound clinical skills, with an individualized approach to meeting the unique training needs of each student. In addition, practicum students have the opportunity to participate in a community-oriented consultation and education program, and possibly other more specialized experiences.

The counseling center staff is comprised of 14 doctoral-level psychologists, 3 licensed clinical social workers, 4 drug and alcohol counselors and 5 psychiatrists who serve the students of Rutgers University in the New Brunswick and Piscataway area. The students are a diverse multicultural group with an equally wide range of presenting problems.

First Year Practicum Program

First-year practicum students from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology will spend a total of 10 hours a week at the Counseling Center in New Brunswick. Their time will involve providing direct service, maintaining clinical records, receiving both individual and group supervision, and attending one didactic seminar.

Clinical Time – 6 Hours

First-year practicum students will each see clients two evenings a week at the Senior Street CAPS site in New Brunswick. They will essentially see clients between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. there will always be at least one licensed psychologist on the premises those evenings for ad hoc or crisis consultations.  They will be responsible for completing all their clinical notes for the evening before they leave.

·       Initially clients will be assigned to the trainees from senior staff that have completed first appointments and screened them for training appropriateness. When possible, practicum trainees will sit in and observe senior staff as they do intakes. After they have completed their training seminars on intake and initial assessment, they will begin to do individual intakes (of clients who have received a triage screening by the senior staff) for their own caseloads.

Training and Supervision Time – 4 hours

·       First-year practicum students will receive an hour of individual supervision from one of our psychology interns or postdoctoral trainees.

·       First year practicum students will also receive an hour and a half of group supervision on Thursday afternoons. Groups will be small, comprising of four students, to facilitate more intensive scrutiny of this early work.

·        All practicum students will attend the didactic seminar taught by Dr. Brian Shannon on Thursday mornings from 10:30 a.m. until noon. This seminar will cover topics related to: intake and mental status assessments, initial treatment planning, and models of brief psychotherapy.

Advanced practicum program

Advanced practicum students are both social work and psychology trainees who are in at least their second year of training. They will spend between 15 and 20 hours a week at the Counseling Center in New Brunswick. Their time will involve providing direct service, maintaining clinical records, receiving both individual and group supervision, and attending one didactic seminar. They will be expected to provide more varied direct services than the first-year practicum students,   for example, co-facilitating a therapy group or visiting a Rutgers student in a local hospital for case management with a social work supervisor. They will also be expected to provide some community psychology interventions or outreach programs.

Clinical Time – 11 to 16 Hours

·        Advanced practicum students will each see clients at times to be arranged at the Senior Street CAPS site in New Brunswick. They will be supervised by social workers or psychologists matching their discipline. They will be responsible to complete all their clinical notes for the each day before they leave. They will see between 5 and 10 clients on a weekly basis for regular treatment.

·        When logistically possible, advanced practicum trainees will be able to co-facilitate therapy groups with senior staff.

Initially clients will be assigned to the trainees from senior staff that have completed first appointments and screened them for trainee appropriateness. When possible, practicum trainees will sit in and observe senior staff as they do intakes, picking up the appropriate clients from these sessions. After they have completed their training seminars on intake and initial assessment, they will begin to do individual intakes for their own caseloads of clients who have completed triage screening with senior staff. They will do this specifically when they have openings for new clients to facilitate direct case assignments.

·       Advanced practicum students will be able to see more complex cases than the first-year trainees. They will be expected to do more case management when required for clients.

Outreach and Consultation Time – Time to be determined

·       Practicum trainees will have some limited opportunities to provide outreach and consultation work within the community. This will be done either by accompanying senior staff at our reach and prevention activities, or by developing a program of their own. Students who have special interests in particular populations of problems can work with her supervisor to develop a suitable community psychology intervention or activity. This may involve some evening time a few times each semester. They may work with the new outreach coordinator, or with other professional staff.

Training and Supervision Time – 4 hours

·       Advanced practicum students will receive an hour of individual supervision from one psychologists or social workers.

·       Advanced practicum students will also receive an hour and a half of group supervision on Thursday mornings. The groups will be small, comprising of three or four students, to facilitate deeper exploration of their clinical work.

·       All practicum students will attend the didactic seminar taught by Dr. Brian Shannon on Thursday mornings from 10:30 a.m. until noon. This seminar will cover topics related to: intake and mental status assessments, initial treatment planning, and models of brief psychotherapy.

General

·         All trainees will receive group MediCAPS training on the first Thursday they come in, with follow up help as needed.

·         All trainees will receive written evaluations by their individual supervisor at the end of the fall and spring semesters.

·         Attendance at the supervision groups and training seminar on Thursday is mandatory for all trainees.

·         Individual supervision will most likely take place during the day at a time to be arranged between individual supervisor and the trainee. 

To apply for a practicum:                                                                                                
A selection (approximately 10 students) of first year students from the Rutgers GSAPP clinical doctoral program will be "assigned" by their department to the first year practicum at RHS-CAPS.
For the advanced practicum at CAPS, students should contact CAPS directly for opportunities as available.

For further information, please contact:
Mark J. Forest, Ph.D. 
Associate Director for Clinical Training
Counseling, ADAP & Psychiatric Services 
17 Senior Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1004
(732) 932-7884