Counseling Psychology students are required to complete a minimum of 400 hours of practicum (many students elect to take significantly more), of which 150 are direct client contact and 75 are supervision; the remaining hours are devoted to such activities as writing case notes, processing tapes, preparing for sessions, and attending case conferences and practicum seminar meetings.

It is typical that students take 4 or 5 semesters of Advanced Practicum in order to further enhance their readiness for internship. Students typically log approximately 150 hours of practicum activity over the course of a semester, of which about 40 are direct client contact and about 20 are individual supervision.

For all students, the first practicum is a training clinic at Iowa's University Counseling Service (an APA-approved internship site). Subsequently, students and faculty work jointly to select advanced practicum sites. The variety of sites ensures that students will receive a broad training in different treatment modalities and with a diverse clientele. Additional information and a description of practicum opportunities are available on the UCS website.

Regularly available at the sites are experiences in individual, conjoint, and group counseling/psychotherapy; assessment; and outreach and prevention. Depending on the site, students may gain experience in working with persons who are experiencing substance abuse, marital and family problems, rehabilitation and health concerns, developmental problems, neuropsychological assessment, and severe psychopathology. Furthermore, the clientele across sites present a diversity in age, ethnicity, affectional/sexual orientation, and educational level. Our program is committed to training psychologists to be competent in their work with these diverse populations.

During any practicum, students receive supervision from a licensed psychologist or supervision that is supervised by a licensed psychologist. Faculty members who serve as coordinators of practica and internships conduct ongoing evaluation of all practicum sites.

Students typically complete their first practicum at the University Counseling Service (UCS), under course number 07P:434. Beginning practicum placements are arranged by counseling psychology faculty. Subsequent practica (called "advanced") may be completed at a variety of approved sites, under course number 07P:453. Students are responsible for applying for advanced practicum placements.

Practicum sites must be approved by the counseling psychology faculty. Students interested in an unapproved site may ask the counseling psychology faculty to consider the site for approval, but may not use the site until it has been approved. Sites may be approved for one individual placement, rather than as a regular approved site for the program. The process for obtaining faculty approval for such "specialized" placements is outlined in the student handbook, which is available online.

Sites beyond a reasonable driving distance from Iowa City may be used only by students who have completed three practica, and then only if the site is approved. Since students at such sites cannot typically attend the practicum seminar, they must (when seeking site approval) show that they will have an experience equivalent to the seminar. This could take the form of participation in staff development sessions, supervised independent readings, or some other experience. Sites are required to provide appropriate supervision, and to require no more than 12 hours per week on-site from each student.

The University provides liability insurance for all students in practicum. Registration is required for liability coverage to be in effect. Thus, students with multi-semester placements who plan to work during semester breaks must be given an incomplete until the beginning of the next term. Arrangements for the incomplete should be made with the practicum instructor early in the semester. The University requires that all students completing practicum off campus (meaning the site has no affiliation with the University or University Hospitals and Clinics) sign an "affiliation agreement," or contract, with the site. The Practicum Coordinator will initiate this process before training begins. Students completing practicum at certain selected sites will be required to have a background check conducted. The cost of the background check must be paid for by the student. The current cost as of Fall 2007 is $100.

The procedures are designed to reflect the shared responsibilities and rights of students, sites, and faculty for appropriate practicum placements. Students have choices of sites to which to apply and select. Sites have final determination in selection of students. Faculty approve both sites and specific student applications.

Application Process

1) The Practicum Coordinator posts the practicum application schedule and list of Approved Practicum Sites which indicates the number of openings for the following semester (summer and fall openings are posted jointly).

Students use the following resources in selecting sites appropriate for their goals: Practicum Site Questionnaires; site evaluations (Practicum Coordinator); discussions with advisor and other students. Special attention should be paid to the specific prerequisites of each site (e.g., previous therapy experience; familiarity with MMPI-2).

2) Students should schedule a meeting with their advisor  EARLY in spring semester and come into that meeting with their advisor with 6 prac choices.  The advisor works with the student to narrow the choices down to 3. Following this, advanced students ONLY (4th year and beyond) send the practicum coordinator their 3 choices. The practicum coordinator then provides these numbers(not names just numbers)to second and third year students, (i.e. second and third year students would know the total number of students who had preferred each site)who then submit their choices a week or two later.  This allows second and third year students some extra information re; which sites might be more sought after by  advanced students.

3) Students who wish to apply to a new, unapproved site must submit the following materials to the Practicum Coordinator in addition to the Practicum Choice Form: a) a memorandum detailing the practicum site, planned practicum activities, and means of supervision (including supervisor name and
credentials, amount of supervision each week, and supervision methods) and b) a letter addressed to the Practicum Coordinator from the on-site supervisor outlining the same points and confirming her or his intention to provide individual supervision to the student or a Practicum Site Questionnaire completed by the on-site supervisor. Note that the Practicum Choice Form should list two or three approved sites, in addition to the unapproved site.

Although applying for an unapproved site necessarily involves contacting the site before the faculty convene to approve practicum choices, students must keep in mind that no commitments are to be made before faculty approval is obtained.

4) Students who wish to apply for a previously approved but "specialized" site (i.e., previously approved by faculty for an individual student but not considered a 14 "regular" practicum placement) also must submit documentation to the Practicum Coordinator following the same procedure as outlined for unapproved sites.

5) Counseling psychology faculty meet and determine to which sites students may submit applications, based on: a) student readiness and b) site needs. Although every effort is made to honor students' requests, the faculty reserve the right to suggest and approve alternative sites.

6) Students will be notified of the sites to which they may apply.

7) Students will prepare vitae for those sites and submit to the Practicum Coordinator by the date due. An outline of content areas to be included on a vita is available; adaptations may be made so information relevant to the practicum sites is provided in sufficient detail. Students may also wish to solicit feedback from their advisors regarding vita content and style. Students applying for practicum at the University Counseling Service must also submit an application form, obtainable at the UCS.

8) Vitae will be sent to sites, and students notified of date they can contact sites for interviews. Under no circumstances should interviews be arranged, either informally or formally, prior to this date.

9) Students contact sites and interview. Students are expected to complete interviews at all sites for which they were approved. If a student decides not to interview, both the Practicum Coordinator and the site should be notified immediately.

10) Students inform the Practicum Coordinator when they have accepted a site. Written confirmation of an accepted offer should be sent to the site supervisor.

11) Students contact other site(s) at which they interviewed to inform them of choice.

Below are the forms required for documenting practicum experiences for the Counseling Psychology Department.

FileBeginning Practicum Evaluation Form
(For Beginning Practicum Students Only)

Microsoft Office document iconAdvanced Practicum Evaluation Form

Microsoft Office document iconPracticum Site Evaluation Form

Microsoft Office document iconPracticum Documentation Form

Sample vitas from students who have successfully applied to a variety of practicum sites.

Microsoft Office document iconSample Vita 1

Microsoft Office document iconSample Vita 2