Experiential Training Activities
The internship at the MU Counseling Center involves interns in intensive training experiences that require them to provide psychological services through a variety of methods, levels of intervention and venues. Clinical professionals, through interactions in seminars, staff meetings and supervision, mentor interns in these activities. Training experiences and activities are consistent with the aims and competencies previously detailed.
Direct one-to-one treatment of clients has always been considered an essential component of our training program. Our basic philosophy is to provide the best possible care to the client within a brief therapy model (typically 10 sessions or less). While the majority of our individual clients are seen within this limit, interns may petition the clinical committee for extended sessions via the utilization review process as is clinically indicated. In this way, interns typically maintain a few longer-term clients. Because university students come to the Center seeking help for a broad range of presenting concerns, interns have opportunities for experience with a variety of client problems and severity. Interns are encouraged to consider a range of treatment approaches represented in the empirical literature. Primary supervisors who are licensed psychologists individually supervise interns’ counseling and psychotherapy work. A full caseload for interns is 9-11 weekly individual clinical hours depending on the semester (With the exception of a focus in Training and Supervision, Focus Area work will include additional individual client contact and is determined separately).
A unique and central component of our internship is the focus on obtaining experience co-leading groups. For the full year, interns participate as co-leaders in the multiple co-leader group. The structure of the multiple co-leader group may change during the summer to reflect the interns’ increasing autonomy. During the second semester (and possibly summer), interns also co-lead a second group either with a peer or a senior staff member. The Group Coordinator makes these assignments based on clinical and training needs. Interns meet for weekly supervision for each of these group experiences.
Supervision of Counselors-in-Training
Supervision of counselors-in-training is considered to be an important area for intern skill development, and our program has a strong reputation for providing interns with intensive experience and training in supervision. All interns are assigned one supervisee per semester. The supervisees are advanced graduate students in the University of Missouri-Columbia’s APA-Accredited academic program in Counseling Psychology. Supervision requires an hour per week of face-to-face supervision with each assigned trainee. Interns are, in turn, supervised for an hour and a half weekly in a small group format via Supervision of Supervision. Interns are expected to develop, articulate, and use a personal model of supervision that incorporates multicultural theory and both informs and is informed by their supervision practice.
Assessment is viewed as an ongoing part of the therapeutic process, and interns are encouraged to gain skills in acquiring the information necessary for a thorough clinical assessment. Such information may be gained from clinical interviews and/or from psychological testing. Interns are scheduled to conduct three initial evaluations per week. The CCAPS-62 is given to each client at the time of initial evaluation and also near the end of each semester. Interns incorporate these data into evaluation and termination reports for all clients and are also required to give the CCAPS-62 as a repeated measure (i.e., every three sessions) to two clients per semester. Additionally, interns are required to choose another client with whom to administer a different assessment tool as part of ongoing therapy (e.g., brief screener, strengths inventory, or other appropriate measures identified in conjunction with an intern’s primary supervisor). Interns receive didactic training in administering the CCAPS-62 as well as in integrative assessment strategies whereby they learn techniques to incorporate psychological testing into their day to day clinical practice.
Crisis Intervention & Consultation
Interns are expected to gain knowledge in handling client crises and assessing and managing difficult or problematic cases. All interns are assigned to a clinical team that provides clinical coverage for one full day per week; interns and clinical professionals share responsibility for responding to crisis situations on their clinical team day. In addition, the clinical professionals and interns rotate crisis coverage for Fridays and during intersession periods. In case of emergencies or problems with their own clients, interns may consult with their primary supervisor and any member of the senior staff. Interns also have opportunities to consult with university physicians (including psychiatrists) and other local health service and affiliated personnel (e.g., MUPD).
In addition to intervening with clients who present in crisis, interns are expected to consult to members of the MU community (faculty, staff, other students, and parents) who solicit help from the Counseling Center in dealing with student issues. This consultation can take place on the phone or in person and typically occurs during crisis coverage hours.
Campus Outreach and Consultation
Outreach and campus visibility are an integral part of the Counseling Center mission. As such, the Counseling Center provides numerous psychoeducational programs, outreach presentations, and consultations to the campus community each year. At the beginning of the internship year, interns explore the role of university counseling centers in outreach and consultation to the campus. They will have the opportunity to meet a wide range of campus partners and will participate actively in outreach throughout the year.
Interns are required to participate in an array of outreach events during the internship year which is modified this year due to the need for social distancing. During the fall semester, interns will work with a partner to write two social media posts relevant to topics being discussed in seminar (public health and social justice). They will also produce a one to three minute video about a mental health topic with their partner. Finally, in the spring, interns will each create one canvas module on a clinical topic of interest, likely as an extension of their focus area. Outreach presents good opportunities for interns to become more integrated into the overall functioning of the campus and to provide a lasting mark on the University of Missouri. Interns receive hands-on training in providing outreach to prepare them for these endeavors including support through Outreach seminar.
Additional clinical, supervision, research, and/or administrative experiences are provided through assignment to a focus area. Participation in a focus area affords interns valuable experience with specialized populations, settings, and/or modalities of service and allows interns to augment their generalist training with an area of emphasis. Focus areas also offer an ideal forum in which to intentionally practice from an evidence based perspective. Current focus areas include Eating Disorders Intervention, Trauma Treatment, Training & Supervision, Men’s Issues, and one of three Diversity Tracks: Working with People of Color, Working with International Students, or Working with LGBTQ Students. Interns are assigned to a focus area based on their interests, previous experience/training and the opportunities available within each area. These placements involve a four-hour per week commitment for the fall and spring semesters. Specific activities and tasks of each focus area vary depending on the particular focus area though typically entail two hours of clinical contact per week, one hour of research/reading/note writing, and one hour of clinical supervision including discussions of applying current scientific knowledge to the clinical issues at hand. Focus areas typically end at the conclusion of the spring semester unless an extension is agreed upon by the Training Director, focus area supervisor, and the intern.