Psychology Practicum

About Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS)

Placement within Student Affairs

CMHS is a department within University of Connecticut Student Health Services (SHS). SHS is a member of the Division of Student Affairs and is accredited by Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). SHS offers several services in addition to counseling and psychological services including specializations in allergy, immunization, radiology, physical therapy, audiology, sports medicine, women’s health services, health promotion, and labs.

CMHS Mission Statement

The mission of CMHS is to provide the highest quality clinical services to promote the emotional, relational and academic potential of all students. We are committed to the core values of respect, responsiveness, innovation and quality to enhance the unique experience of each individual at the University of Connecticut.

CMHS Diversity Statement

Counseling & Mental Health Services is committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for the UConn community.  We celebrate and honor the uniqueness and diversity of all individuals. We promote social justice and inclusivity throughout UConn and the broader global community through our clinical, outreach, and training services.

Facilities

CMHS is located in the Arjona Building, 337 Mansfield Road, Unit 1255 on the Storrs campus. Clinical psychology trainees are active service providers at CMHS. CMHS staff is composed of 9 Ph.D. and Psy.D. Psychologists, 4 Licensed Clinical Social Workers, 2 M.D. Psychiatrists, 2 Psychiatric Advanced Nurse Practitioners, 1 Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist/Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor, and 3 Support Staff. Approximately 8-10% of the student body receives direct clinical services from CMHS each year while nearly 20% of the student body is serviced through CMHS outreach and psycho-educational programming.

Clinical psychology trainees share furnished offices as well as office equipment. Trainees also have access to personal computers, university mainframe, internet, and the World Wide Web. CMHS maintains a library of relevant and up to date mental health books and journals.

Training Model

A Practitioner Model Informed by Theory and Research guides the CMHS Training Program. Clinical psychology trainees are trained to ground their practice of psychology in theory and research. This model is principally accomplished in an intensive, supervised university counseling center experience working with a multicultural group of interdisciplinary professionals. Imbued in this model are service provision, didactic and experiential instruction, and the use of psychological theory/research.

CMHS provides a setting in which clinical psychology trainees increase and strengthen their abilities to practice psychology throughout their year with the agency. Training involves developing both core skills and positive professional identity essential for the work of an entry-level psychologist providing services in:

  • Brief model counseling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Diagnostic Assessment

CMHS recruits students from scientist-practitioner and scholar-practitioner departments so that they come with a foundation of theoretical and research-based knowledge, with the capacity to engage in theoretical and research-based inquiry, and with a readiness for intensive training in practice. CMHS continues training in integrating practice and theory and research as these provide the underpinnings of the practice of psychology. A part of competent practice also includes being informed about the seminal and current theoretical and research-bases of psychology and social work. CMHS accomplishes integration through:

  • Developing critical thinking to guide the use of research to inform clinical practice
  • Generating clinical hypotheses to explore in supervision
  • Learning the empirical bases that guide the use of comprehensive assessment
  • Participating in seminar training programs on best current practices in clinical practice (e.g., counseling, crisis response, clinical ethics, and so on).

The work environment in which this model of training occurs is designed to provide a collaborative milieu for training. To accomplish this, CMHS provides a Mentor/Apprenticeship Environment. This is operationalized in a variety of ways including:

  • Staff provide clinical and professional identity role modeling.
  • Staff collaborate with trainees.
  • Staff create a milieu respectful of trainees: honoring their cultural identities, valuing their positive self-growth, and establishing a strong work ethic.

This is the basic model and setting for the CMHS Training Program. This model and setting are further guided by seven philosophical tenets which describe in more detail the basic values of the CMHS Training Program.

Training Philosophy

Trainees Are Primarily In Training.
The primary purpose of the clinical psychology practicum is to train students to practice psychology. Intensive supervision and didactic instruction are the primary vehicles for training and evaluating clinical psychology trainees.

Mentorship Is The Cornerstone Of Professional Development.
Clinical psychology trainees are always under the direct supervision and guidance of several staff members. CMHS Training Program is founded on the belief that individuals grow primarily as the product of significant relationships. The Trainee-Supervisor relationship provides the foundation for growth in core skill areas and in professional identity development.

Clinical Psychology Trainees Are in Training to Develop Professional Identities.
CMHS staff provides opportunities for clinical psychology trainees to work with culturally diverse professionals from various disciplines (e.g., clinical and counseling psychology, social work, student services, psychiatry, assessment, medicine, and nursing). Trainees are provided time to process and reflect on their experiences in order to promote growth and integration of their professional confidence.

The Growth Of A Professional Identity Occurs Developmentally.
CMHS Training Program provides higher levels of direction and structure initially, with movement towards greater autonomy and responsibility. High levels of structure assist transition into a new system by providing guidance and direction. Trainees have multiple opportunities to be increasingly autonomous in all aspects of their functioning at CMHS.

Training Needs Are Met Through the Expertise of CMHS Staff and Other Campus Professionals.
CMHS provides exposure to a broad range of experiences and theoretical perspectives during the year, both internally and externally. This allows interns to seek their own areas of interest within different venues such as clinical intervention, programming, consultation, psychopharmacology, alcohol and other drug usage, assessment, multiculturalism, didactics, case presentation, and scholarly inquiry.

Individuals Learn In Individual Ways.
CMHS Training Program uses various learning methods including practical experiences, modeling, process-based activities, group, didactic, experiential, and self-guided learning. CMHS provides an environment that is supportive and challenging and based in part on interns’ self-assessments. Time is spent initially working with trainees to assist them in defining their goals and desires for training.

Psychologists Are Informed Through the Integration of Science And Practice.
Theory, research, and practice mutually inform each other. Trainees are guided and encouraged in their pursuit of observing, inferring, formulating, and evaluating clinical hypotheses. Trainees generate clinical hypotheses based on theory and research.

Training Goals

Clinical psychology trainees are expected to achieve the follow goals over the course of their clerkship experience at CMHS:

  • Clinical psychology trainees will grow in their competency as general clinical practitioners.
  • Clinical psychology trainees will increase their awareness and education about a variety of clinical issues.
  • Clinical psychology trainees will increase their awareness of aspects of diversity.
  • Clinical psychology trainees will develop increased ability to assess and case conceptualize

Additionally:

  • Clinical psychology trainees may have experience in group therapy.
  • Clinical psychology trainees may have experience in crisis evaluation.

Internship Activities

Direct Services

Individual Counseling: Clinical psychology trainees engage in individual counseling seeing students in brief model therapy. Individual counseling involves assessing and conceptualizing from a theoretical frame-of-reference, presenting problems, providing disposition on cases, and formalized treatment planning and implementation.

Group Counseling: Clinical psychology trainees are often involved with co-leading one of the various types of groups that are facilitated through CMHS. Most groups are co-ed general therapy groups but there may be opportunities to participate in thematic groups if resources are available. Group therapy opportunities are contingent on schedules of both the trainee and available co-facilitator.

Crisis Evaluation and Intervention: Clinical psychology trainees may participate with increasing responsibility and autonomy over time in the day on-call rotations at CHMS providing emergency assessments to clients who present to CMHS on a walk-in basis or after-hours. Trainees will have an opportunity to shadow senior staff as they conduct crisis assessments and may later take on more responsibility conducting crisis assessments either as co-clinicians or independently with supervision.

Training Activities

Individual and Group Supervision: Supervision of clinical psychology trainees is conducted on a regularly scheduled, individual basis by licensed professional staff and doctoral psychology interns. Trainees have two individual supervisors during the time they are with CMHS as well as on e group supervisor if co-leading a group. Trainees are expected to be prepared each week for supervision. Preparation can involve reviewing audio and video tapes, organizing cases, preparing questions, and reviewing set goals for supervision to set directions for each session of supervision.

Seminars: Clinical psychology trainees will participate in educational seminars designed to complement the experiential learning during the internship year. These may be on a variety of relevant clinical issues.

Case Conference: Clinical psychology trainees will participate in case conference activities with other social work and psychology trainees as a form of group supervision as well as to provide an opportunity to develop and hone clinical presentation skills.

Administrative activities

Case management: Clinical psychology trainees are responsible for managing their own case loads so that they have continually and consistently have enough clients, but do not have too many. In addition to this, administrative time is provided each week so that trainees can also write up client reports/case notes/process recordings, write business / professional letters and e-mails, return telephone calls, consult with supervisors and other staff, and do general planning.

Typical Schedule

Placement begins in August the week prior to classes beginning at the UConn-Storrs campus with a full week (approx. 40 hours) orientation and continuing at 20 hours a week through the end of the academic year (typically the full week after final exams, usually mid-May). Students do not typically work during the winter academic term break.

Academic year: 20 hours per week*

10-12 hours clinical work (approximately)

  • Individual therapy (8-12 hours)
  • Group therapy (1.5 hours)
  • On-call (variable)
2.5-3 hours individual and group supervision
1-2 hours didactic training/seminars and case conference
3 hour paperwork
20 hours total

*20 hours a week is an average. At points in the semester you may find that you work more than this if you need further time to complete paperwork or other administrative tasks required in this position beyond what is allotted.

Evaluation Process

Evaluation Procedures: Each semester CMHS Staff who are serving in the capacity of supervisor are responsible for evaluating their supervisees. Evaluations are completed by supervisors and reviewed with supervisees who are given opportunity to formally respond to each evaluation. In addition, supervisees complete an evaluation for their supervisors. The Coordinator of Training collects evaluations after they have been reviewed. Supervisor evaluations by supervisees are given to the Coordinator of Training for filing. Supervisee evaluations are filed in their training files.

Evaluation occurs three times during the course of the training year, once during:

  • October to set baseline for each supervisee’s skill level and to decide goals for the first half of the year. This occurs with all of a supervisee’s supervisors.
  • December at the mid-way point of the year. This is a group evaluation with all of the supervisee’s supervisors. The supervisee receives feedback, reviews Fall goals and sets/reaffirms final Spring goals, and is assisted in generating methods by which to meet the training goals.
  • May to assess at the end of the regular academic year to address progress. This is a group evaluation with all of the supervisee’s supervisors. The supervisee receives feedback and reviews regular academic year goals for progress for the year and unfinished goals for continued training after CMHS.

Policy on Digital Recordings

Trainees are required to audio or video record all sessions for the purposes of supervision and training at CMHS. However, no recordings or clinical materials are allowed to leave the agency. It is the student’s responsibility to discuss CMHS’ requirements with their academic programs and discuss with the Coordinator of Training ways in which CMHS can support any academic department requirements.

Eligibility

Applications In order to be eligible for a placement at CMHS, students must:

  • Be enrolled in a doctoral level program of clinical or counseling psychology. (At this time we do not accept applicants currently enrolled in master’s degree programs.)
  • Have completed at least one practicum placement prior to CMHS. Preference is given to applicants who have had 2 or more practicum placements with relevant experience conducting individual therapy.

Application

Applications for practicum for the next academic year are accepted beginning in December and are accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.  Once we have begun interviewing, we may continue to accept applications but may wait to offer an interview to applications that continue to arrive after that point. WE ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS AT THIS TIME for the 2017-2018 academic year .

To apply:

Submit via email or paper copy:

  • A cover letter stating your interest in the position and how a placement at CMHS may best meet your training goals for the coming year.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • Statement of Eligibility from your Director of Clinical Training stating: “I certify that ______ is considered to be eligible and ready for a practicum placement at CMHS for the upcoming academic year. I am aware that this placement requires semi-autonomy, case management skills, ethical practice, a minimum of intermediate-beginner therapy skills, multicultural awareness and sensitivity, and a tolerance for and interest in intensive supervision, and I believe this applicant possesses these minimum qualifications.” (This statement may be copied from the website and pasted into an email from your Director of Clinical Training or to a Word document and signed if submitting a paper application.)

To:

Jennifer Petro, Psy.D.
Coordinator of Training

337 Mansfield Rd, Unit 1255
Storrs, CT 06269

jennifer.petro@uconn.edu