Practicum and internship are required of all students in the Counseling Psychology Program and further extend their training in the scientific, methodological, and theoretical foundations, as well as applied activities of psychological practice. The goals of practicum training are to produce professionals who are competent to practice independently and ethically, sensitive to individual differences and diversity, and committed to personal growth and exploration. Practica and internship experiences range from skill building in basic psychological assessment and counseling; to actual work with clients; to a year-long, full-time internship in an applied service setting.
All students see clients in the department’s Counseling Clinic starting the second semester of the first year and continuing through the second year. The Counseling Clinic is embedded within the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences building and serves an adult community population. The facility has four interview rooms with digital recording as well as one-way mirror capability. An observation area runs behind the interview rooms and allows for live observation, recording of interviews, confidential file storage, and recording review. The clinic’s reception area is physically separate from the interview rooms.
Students obtain additional applied experience via external practicum positions for a minimum of two years of their program. Practicum sites vary in their requirements, but wherever taken, they include a mix of client contact hours, individual supervision, and professional development opportunities. In addition to required practica, students may also engage in optional supplemental practica to obtain additional experience in community settings of interest. The program has a designated Practicum Coordinator, a list of approved practicum sites, and formal procedures for obtaining required or supplemental practicum placements. Students work at a variety of sites in the Cleveland-Akron-Canton area. Some of the potential practicum sites include:
- The University of Akron Counseling & Testing Center
- Baldwin Wallace Counseling Center
- Cleveland State University Counseling Center
- Oberlin College Counseling Center
- Coleman Professional Services (community mental health)
- Portage Path Behavioral Health (community mental health)
- Ohio Guidestone (community mental health – assessment focus)
- Neurology and Neuroscience Associates, Inc. (neurological disorders)
- Summit Center for Behavioral Sciences (neurological disorders – assessment focus)
- MetroHealth Medical System (medical setting)
- Cleveland Clinic Akron General Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sci (medical setting)
- Louis Stokes VAMC – Rehabilitation (veterans affairs medical center)
- Summa Health System Traumatic Stress Center (trauma)
- Summa Health System Bariatric Care Center (weight management – assessment focus)
- Premier Behavioral Health Services (mental health and addiction recovery)
- Psycho-Diagnostic Clinic (forensic)
As is typical of applied psychology programs, internships take place at member agencies of the Association of Psychology Pre-doctoral Internship Centers (APPIC). APPIC sites that are approved by the American Psychological Association are highly recommended, and in nearly all cases are successfully obtained by our students. These sites are located across the United States and in Canada, and include settings such as university counseling centers, veterans affairs medical centers, and community mental health centers. We are fortunate to have several APA-approved APPIC internship sites in our metropolitan area, and although many of our students have been placed at these sites, these and all APPIC site placements occur via APPIC's national competition and matching system. Thus, students are encouraged to apply to sites of interest in as broad a geographic area as is possible for them.
Consistent with the recommendations of the Council of Chairs of Training Councils for communication among doctoral training programs and the applied training entities serving their doctoral students, the CPP views doctoral training as involving “…collaboration and partnerships with multiple training sites, including practicum placements, doctoral internship training programs, and others, such as research labs and other academic departments. Communication between doctoral training programs and these training partners is of critical importance to the overall development of competent new psychologists. Therefore, it is the position of our training program that regular communication about students’ performance and progress must occur between the program faculty and other training partners, and that the content from this communication will contribute to regular evaluation of the student’s progress.” (CCTC, 2007)