Practicum Training Program

Description of the Setting: The Skidmore College Counseling Center is a campus-based counseling service providing individual and group psychotherapy, consultation, psychiatric medication management, and training and outreach programming to the Skidmore community. It also serves as an advanced practicum training site for doctoral-level psychology students.

Selection of Trainees: Typically, the selection process for practicum training at the Counseling Center begins with the practicum coordinator at the student's program, who identifies individuals who are eligible, qualified, and interested in the practicum. The coordinator forwards the names of those selected students to the Counseling Center's Coordinator of Training. The students then contact the center to arrange for on-site interviews with the Coordinator of Training and other senior staff. It is expected that the selection and interview process will be completed by the end of May for practica beginning in the fall semester.

Responsibilities: The specific responsibilities of the practicum student are negotiated between the Coordinator of Training and the student. It is expected that primary duties at the Counseling Center will include:

  • conducting intakes and subsequent individual or couple therapy with student-clients of the center (with a typical caseload of 5-6 clients per week);
  • participating in weekly staff meetings with the full-time clinical staff, consulting psychiatrist, and eating disorders consultant (this will include presenting cases for medication consultation with the psychiatrist);
  • participating in Residential Life staff trainings at the beginning of each semester, and as requested during the year;
  • co-leading a psychotherapy group with one of the senior staff (either an interpersonal process group or an eating disorder treatment group);
  • acting as a consultant to faculty, staff, and parents, as needed, related to student mental health issues/concerns;
  • presenting psycho-educational programs to students, faculty, and/or staff (and potentially developing a liaison role with a specific office or department for this purpose);
  • possibility of conducting an in-house research project (related to assessment of needs, service delivery, client satisfaction, etc.).

Time Commitment: The time commitment for this practicum is approximately 1½–2 days per week for the academic year. The student and the Coordinator of Training determine the specific schedule and time commitment for each semester. The practicum typically begins during the third week of August (in order to participate in Residential Life staff training) and ends with the conclusion of senior week at Skidmore (usually the third week of May). Any practicum activity occurring between the two semesters would be determined by the student and the Coordinator of Training.

Supervision and Training: Supervision will be provided by a licensed psychologist on staff at the center and will consist of a minimum of one hour per week for the trainee's individual therapy cases. One hour of weekly supervision will also be provided over the course of the trainee's group therapy experience. In addition, the trainee will participate in case conferences with the senior staff, typically presenting one case per month for group consultation.

At the beginning of the practicum, several hours of didactic training will be provided by the Coordinator of Training, covering such issues as intake assessment, risk assessment, crisis management, confidentiality in the college setting, making appropriate group referrals, and Counseling Center paperwork and scheduling. Additional training during the center's quieter clinical periods (e.g., at the end of the fall and the start of the spring semesters) may address dual relationships and other areas of clinical interest to the trainees.

Evaluation: The individual and group supervisors will provide written evaluation of the practicum experience to the student and the Coordinator of Training no later than two weeks following the ending date of the practicum. The Coordinator of Training will provide copies of the evaluations to the student's practicum coordinator, and will maintain copies on file at the center.

Specific Arrangements: The Coordinator of Training will provide a detailed description of the specific starting and ending dates, time commitment, responsibilities, and supervisory arrangements to each trainee and his or her practicum coordinator within two weeks of the commencement of the practicum.

Contact Andrew Demaree for more information.