The internship program at the Counseling Center is composed of a number of training experiences which are designed to provide interns with exposure to different clinical professionals and different approaches to clinical and consultation work at a university counseling center. Interns are expected to participate in supervisory experiences, didactic training, case conferences and professional development activities as part of their training.
The internship year begins with a formal orientation period lasting two weeks. We assume, however, that orientation to a complex organizational system is an ongoing process; this is made explicit to the interns, and they are encouraged to consult with and raise questions with clinical professionals and support staff as concerns arise.
This formal orientation period is designed to welcome interns and begin the process of integrating them into the MU Counseling Center. With respect to orienting them to the internal functioning and structure of the agency, interns are introduced to the Counseling Center mission and vision, the multiple ways in which the Counseling Center serves the campus community, and the ways in which interns will become part of the professional staff providing those services. Specifically, interns are given an overview of the training program, introduced to staff, learn about the various focus area opportunities, and receive an overview of the clinical services including the Center’s policies, procedures and documentation requirements. In addition, seminars on clinical issues and specific treatment modalities are also provided. Interns are also allowed a fair amount of time, and some structure, to begin the process of building group cohesion with the whole staff and within their intern cohort.
In order to orient interns to the campus community and begin facilitating their awareness of themselves in the context of organizational culture, interns are also introduced to individuals and agencies outside of the Counseling Center with whom they are likely to interact in the course of their internship year. In addition, interns are taken on tours of relevant agencies on campus in order to orient them more broadly to the resources available in the larger community.
1. Individual Supervision
In keeping with an instructional philosophy that is based on experiential learning through mentoring, interns receive intensive individual supervision throughout the internship year. In this context, interns are provided with both formative and summative feedback about their clinical work. Consistent with our aim of fostering professional identity development, interns also receive feedback during supervision about their professional comportment as members of an organizational system.
Interns receive two hours per week of individual supervision from a primary supervisor. The primary supervisor is responsible for overseeing all of the intern’s caseload, including initial assessments and crisis interventions.
Interns are asked about their training needs and learning style during orientation and this information is used by the Training Director when making supervisory assignments for fall semester. Interns are given the opportunity for input into supervisory assignments for the spring/summer semesters in a similar manner. The Training Director, with input from the training committee and other senior staff, makes supervisory assignments for spring/summer assignments based on intern articulation of training needs and relevant pedagogical considerations.
2. Supervision of Group Psychotherapy
Interns are required to co-lead two groups, one of which is the multiple co-leader interpersonal process group. The multiple co-leader group oftentimes runs throughout the year with limited (2-3 weeks) breaks coinciding with the academic calendar (between semesters). Interns are supervised in this experience for one and hour per week by one or two senior staff members who also serve as co-leaders for the group. Interns also receive weekly supervision for the second group experience, which begins spring semester (and may continue over the summer). In both group experiences, interns are encouraged to discuss issues relevant to individual clients within the group, group dynamics and development, previous group interventions, focus for future sessions and co-leader dynamics.
3. Supervision of Supervision
The intern cohort meets weekly for one and a half hours for both the fall and spring semesters with the Training Director and another member of the senior staff for supervision of supervision. A consultation group format is utilized with a focus on development of interns’ supervisory skills as informed by an emerging personal theory of supervision. Interns are asked to explore, through reflection upon both didactic and experiential learning, their assumptions about clinical supervision. The focus then moves to the “nuts and bolts” of supervision at the Center and then to the primary focuses: discussion of theories of supervision, the development of each intern’s personal theory of supervision, multicultural considerations in supervision, and consultation on current supervisory experiences. At this point, the meeting time reflects a combination of “checking-in” regarding pressing/pertinent issues and a more comprehensive consultation for interns on a rotating basis. Periodically, interns are expected to prepare a written consultation that provides an overview of their work to date with their supervisee and here-and-now consultation questions. In addition, the consultation includes the presentation of a recorded segment of a recent supervision session with a supervisee. The co-leaders guide the consultation process in a manner that encourages interns to reflect upon the ways in which their supervisory practices and consultation questions both implicitly and explicitly reflect their developing personal theories of supervision.
4. Focus Area Supervision
Each intern participates in a focus area during the internship year. Interns meet for one hour per week to receive supervision to address both clinical and non-clinical issues related to their focus area (e.g., learning more about the focus area, identifying any special training needs, discussing integration of research and practice, discussing clinical treatment, etc.). Focus area supervision typically ends at the conclusion of the spring semester.
5. Group Supervision/Case Consultation
During the summer semester, interns meet for one hour per week in a group format for a group supervision/case consultation. This supervision is lead by a licensed psychologist and is designed as a supplement, not a replacement, to the interns’ primary supervision. Though facilitated by a member of the senior staff, the case consultation format is primarily peer driven and is intended to provide the interns with an approximation of a peer consultation group which is often utilized as the primary clinical support mechanism of more seasoned professionals.
Seminars provide interns with opportunities to both deepen and extend the learning that occurs in supervision, as well as to further their articulation of the integration of theory and practice. The clinical professionals, adjunct staff, and other professionals in the field facilitate seminars. The interactive seminar format allows interns to benefit from one another’s professional experiences and perspectives, thereby providing further experience in collegial interaction and consultation.
1. Multicultural Seminar
Multicultural Seminar meets weekly for one hour during the spring semester as well as for several hours over the winter intersession to launch the seminar experience. The goal of this seminar is to continue interns’ development and growth as multiculturally aware and competent practitioners. The seminar typically begins with exploration and discussion of each participant’s identities and histories, with a focus on how they influence clinical work. Using this discussion as a starting point, the primary focus of the seminar will be to help interns apply their developing expertise to their clinical and supervisory work. We utilize this format because we understand that most interns receive excellent training in multicultural theory and practice and it is in keeping with the applied focus of the internship year.
2. Professional Issues Seminar
Professional Issues Seminar, led by the Training Director with occasional guest speakers, meets bimonthly (or occasionally more frequently) for one hour throughout the internship year. This seminar is intended to facilitate interns’ professional identity development with respect to membership in (1) the immediate organizational milieu, (2) the broader institutional milieu, and (3) the discipline of psychology. Consistent with the intention of promoting reflective focus upon dimensions of the immediate organizational context, this seminar also represents an opportunity to have regular contact with the TD and to discuss issues related to the training experience. A prominent focus of the seminar is on job search strategies and preparation.
3. Topical Training Seminar
Topical Training Seminar meets bi-monthly for two hours during the fall semester, monthly for one hour during the spring semester, and for six total hours during the summer. This seminar serves as a forum for continued professional development on a variety of topics relevant to work as a practicing psychologist. Sessions are facilitated by members of the senior staff and by professionals from the larger campus or Columbia communities. Through readings, discussions, and presentations, interns are encouraged to see themselves as psychologists in the context of the agency, the institution, and the discipline. A significant focus of the Topical Training series is on evidence based practice.
4. Outreach Seminar
Outreach Seminar meets throughout the year (typically 6-8 times). A member of the MUCC Outreach Committee along with various guest speakers including the Director of the Wellness Resource Center meet with the interns to discuss a wide range of topics related to assessing the need for, planning, and executing effective campus outreach. In the fall, interns provide social media posts and a one-minute video for use on the Student Health and Well-being social media channels or website. They receive specific feedback regarding their presentation style and skill. During the spring, interns provide a self-help module on a clinical topic of choice. They have additional opportunities to meet with Outreach Committee members for consultation and mentoring during these projects.
Other Training Activities
1. General Staff Meetings
General staff meetings (GSM) occur monthly and are dedicated to discussion of administrative and programmatic issues or on staff development. Participation in staff meeting is intended to provide interns with an understanding of organizational issues within a university setting and an opportunity to move into a more collegial role with respect to the clinical professionals.
2. Diversity Book Club
Diversity Book Club occurs monthly and is an optional opportunity for staff to connect and share around topics of diversity. Diversity Committee works to provide relevant, topical brief readings to spark discussion.
3. Clinical Consultation Meetings
Each intern is assigned to a team. The morning after each team day, all team members meet for one hour to consult on difficult crises, procedural questions, and ongoing clinical issues regarding one’s caseload or therapy approaches in general. This is a great opportunity to connect with other staff and both provide and receive informal clinical support.