Foci in Advanced Practicum Training
The Advanced Practicum Training at SCS is focused primarily on two overarching goals: The development of strong counseling skills and strengthening a sense of professional identity, which includes attitudes and behaviors consistent with functioning in an ethical and professional manner with clients as well as colleagues in a university counseling center.
Individual counseling at SCS employs a short-term, goal-focused model, which is standard for counseling at most university and college counseling centers. At SCS, a student may be seen up to 15 sessions in the course of a year, and a maximum of 25 sessions across the time she/he spends at the University. Learning how to work within this type of counseling model, which includes negotiating a client‘s (and one‘s own) goals and expectations, is an important part of the training experience.
There is no one prevailing theoretical orientation at SCS. While supervisors represent a range of theoretical approaches, the staff is broadly relational in their approach to clinical work. Across the different theoretical approaches, we focus more on the relationship factors, including empirically-supported relationship factors, that lead to effective counseling and good outcomes, as opposed to teaching specific techniques. Consequently, much of our counseling, assessment, and training revolves around the development and use of self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-assessment.
We also promote a scholarly approach to clinical work that includes consultation and utilization of relevant research and other professional literature, as well as the use of the scientific method in our clinical work to make hypotheses, test them out, and evaluate the effectiveness of our counseling. We strive to help the Advanced Practicum trainees articulate their own understanding of how change occurs, so they can clarify and identify their own theoretical orientation to clinical work. And cutting across all our clinical work, we integrate our understanding of the multicultural and diversity issues that help us to understand and engage more fully with our student clients.
Building strong counseling skills and further developing professional identity are the foundation of our training, but each trainee‘s particular goals will vary. Trainees reach those goals through focusing on APA Competency Domains relevant to, and adapted for, our particular setting. The APA Competency Domains and subcomponents addressed in the Advanced Practicum are as follows:
- Professional Values and Attitudes
- Individual and Cultural Diversity
- Ethical Legal Standards and Policy
- Reflective Practice/Self-Assessment/Self-Care
- With Clients
- With Supervisor
- With Other SCS Professionals and Trainees
- With Support Staff
- Scientific Knowledge and Methods
The following Learning Objectives serve as a developmental guide for setting individual goals or for clarifying expectations for advanced practicum performance. The SCS Learning Objectives are separated into four areas:
- Counselor attitudes
- Basic counseling skills
- The counseling process