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Mental Health

Advanced Clinical Practicum Training


Advanced Clinical Practicum Training

The Carruth Center is an advanced practicum site for doctoral students in Counseling and Clinical Psychology. Practicum counselors gain experience, training and knowledge in the various clinical activities of a university counseling center, as well as further developing their ability to function as competent, effective and responsible therapists.

Training sessions and individual supervision are designed to be responsive to each trainee’s individual developmental needs, as well as the needs of the clients.

The Carruth Center is also committed to issues of diversity and recognizes that each practicum counselor possesses unique qualities and strengths based on sociocultural issues as well as past training and counseling experiences.

Each year, Carruth Center offers three Graduate Assistantships and three Practicum placements. These numbers may change depending on funding and applicant pool. Graduate Assistantships come with stipends and are for 20 hours per week, and are generally intended for more experienced students. Practicum placements are unpaid, for 16 hours per week.

What do practicum counselors do?

Practicum counselors at the center provide individual personal and educational counseling for the diverse student population of West Virginia University. They also may have the opportunities to train and gain experience in group therapy, career counseling, crisis management and outreach/programming activities.

How long does a practicum placement last?

Practicum placement is for the academic year, during fall and spring semesters. Practicum counselors are not expected to work during the break. However, they are expected to respond to the needs of their clients at the end of each semester in a professional manner.

What hours are practicum counselors required to keep?

Graduate Assistant (GA’s) Practicum counselors are required to spend 20 hours per week on site. These hours are divided as follows:

  • Individual/Group Counseling: 10 hours per week
  • Intake/crisis Assessment: 3 hours per week
  • Individual Supervision: two hours per week
  • Group Supervision: 1.5 hours per week
  • Administration/documentation/sup Prep: 2.5 hours per week
  • Consultation/Outreach or direct service: 1 hour

Practicum Counselors (not GA’s) are required to spend 16 hours per week on site. These hours are divided as follows:

  • Individual/Group Counseling: 7 hours per week
  • Intake/Crisis Assessment: 3 hours per week
  • Individual Supervision: two hours per week
  • Group Supervision: 1.5 hours per week
  • Administration/documentation/sup Prep:2.5 hours per week

What kind of training is provided during the practicum experience?

A week before the classes start, a mandatory orientation is scheduled to train practicum counselors in crisis management, intake assessment, career counseling, and other training related topics including policies and procedures of the center. During the course of the two semesters, didactic training sessions are provided during the group supervision by the center. Past topics for training sessions have included:

  • Substance Abuse assessment and treatment
  • Eating Disorders assessment and treatment
  • Sexual Assault assessment and treatment
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Diversity/Multicultural issues for the college student population

What about supervision?

Each practicum counselor has the opportunity to be supervised by a licensed senior staff member for at least one hour of their individual supervision during the entire course of the year. Some practicum counselors will also be supervised by a pre-doctoral intern who is being supervised regarding his/her supervision by a licensed psychologist. Supervisors are changed at the beginning of the second semester giving the practicum counselors an opportunity to work with a variety of staff during their training year. All therapy sessions are audio or video recorded to provide first-hand information to their supervisor. Informal evaluations are conducted at each semester’s midpoint, and formal written evaluations are conducted at each semester’s end. All supervisors meet at the midpoint and at the end of the semester to discuss their evaluation of their supervisees. Practicum counselors are expected to follow all policies and procedures of the counseling center and to act in accordance with the ethical standards of the profession.

How can I become a practicum counselor?

Prospective students submit application materials and are interviewed during spring semester. The application materials include an application form, a cover letter, and a current curriculum vita. Click here to access the application. The deadline to submit application materials is February 13, 2017. Please send your application materials to:

Shane Chaplin, Ph.D.
Training Director
Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services
390 Birch Street PO Box 6422
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506-6422
304-293-4431
e-mail: Shane.Chaplin@mail.wvu.edu