Beginning Practicum

CSU Health Network Counseling Services

The CSU Health Network practicum is offered to a limited number of qualified second‑year students in the CSU Counseling Psychology doctoral program. The goal is to provide supervised experience in individual counseling and psychotherapy with a college student population, as well as provide training in conducting initial consultations. Please note that this training experience is focused on working with individual clients. No training in group or couples therapy will be provided, regardless of previous experience. PSY610 & PSY 611, or equivalent masters-level coursework from another institution are prerequisites.

Description of the Site

The Colorado State University Health Network is an integrated mental health and medical service serving both undergraduate and graduate students within a large land-grant university. It is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) for the doctoral internship in Professional Psychology and by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). The training of clinically-competent, ethical, self-aware, and culturally sensitive psychologists is central to our mission. Presenting issues range from the expected developmental concerns of college students to severe mental health diagnoses, including psychoses and personality disorders. The most common presenting concerns are: stress & anxiety, mood disorders, relationship issues, eating disorders, sexual concerns, substance abuse, and identity development. CSU has a student population of over 31,000 students from every state and 90 foreign countries. General Services includes individual and couples psychotherapy, a vibrant group therapy program, and crisis intervention services. Specialty programs include the DAY Program (substance abuse & other addictions), Primary Care Behavioral Health, and the iTEAM (intensive outpatient program providing integrated care to clients experiencing an acute mental health crisis). CSUHN has a strong commitment to multiculturalism and has solid working relationships with the various Cultural and Resource Centers on campus.

 

The training of clinically-competent, ethical, self-aware, and culturally sensitive mental health professionals is central to our mission. We provide training to as many as thirty graduate students from diverse disciplines each year. Our Doctoral Internship in Psychology has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1973 and was one of the first university counseling services to earn this recognition. Our Master’s Internship in Social Work and Counseling is offered to students from CSU and other regional institutions. Advanced Practicum placements are open to third, fourth, and fifth year psychology graduate students from CSU and nearby universities. The second year Psychology Practicum program is offered in conjunction with CSU’s doctoral program in Counseling Psychology and is only open to their students. Graduate Student Assistantships are typically awarded to CSU Counseling Psychology doctoral students with advanced standing or students with special expertise in substance abuse or outreach. Students from the University’s Student Affairs in Higher Education program also sometimes work with the Drugs, Alcohol and You (DAY) Programs. We also offer Post-Doctoral and Post-Masters Fellowships. These fellowships provide opportunities to continue to build skills as a generalist clinician while also developing specialized skills working with one or more of our specialty programs (DAY Program, Primary Care Behavioral Health, or iTEAM).

Training Philosophy

Six core principles reflect our training philosophy and serve as a foundation for the model of training at the CSUHN. The following statements address our beliefs about the nature of training and our expectations for the treatment of others.

Broad-based training is essential for developing professionals.
We value the contributions of our own and other professional disciplines to the training program, recognizing that a diverse set of knowledge and skills are essential for effective practice.

Psychological theory and research are the foundation for competent practice. 
The training staff believes that psychological theory and scientific research provide a foundation for conceptualization and intervention. The practice of mental health professionals should be grounded in theories relevant to their discipline and the supporting scientific literature.

An optimal learning environment is supportive and challenging.
We believe that learning is facilitated by an environment in which challenge is balanced with support. We value an open environment in which ideas can be explored and it is safe to make mistakes. We encourage trainees to honestly assess their professional strengths and limitations so that we may collaboratively establish training goals.

A commitment to self-awareness and a willingness to monitor the impact of personal needs on professional behavior are expected of all members of the staff.
Effectiveness as a mental health professional is not simply the result of skills acquisition, but rather the successful synthesis of competence and personal maturity that results in self-regulated, ethical behavior. Self-knowledge, self-care, and the ability to balance one’s personal and professional lives are essential to being an effective role model and instrument of change.

Each trainee and staff member has the right to be treated with respect.
Respect, honest communication, cooperation in meeting goals, and the support of one’s colleagues are central to a productive work environment. Evidence of bias, stereotyped thinking, and prejudicial beliefs and attitudes will not go unchallenged, even when such behavior is rationalized as a being a function of ignorance, joking, or cultural differences.

Respect for human diversity is a fundamental component of all activities.

The CSU Health Network bases all its programs and services, including training, on a philosophy that affirms the dignity of all people. We expect staff and trainees to be committed to the social values of respect for diversity, inclusion and equity. Both trainers and trainees should demonstrate a willingness to examine their own assumptions, behaviors, and values so that they may work effectively (as clinicians, teachers, mentors, and advocates) with “cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status” (APA Ethics Code, 2002, Principle E).

Model of Training

Our training program is based on the values inherent in the Practitioner-Scholar model. As practitioners, we value the learning that comes through direct experience with others and thoughtful self-reflection. As scholars, we recognize the importance of theory, research and critical thinking. We believe that both practice and scholarship are essential in preparing new mental health professionals to work effectively with diverse individuals and groups in a rapidly-changing world. We value a lifelong commitment to the integration of self-reflective practice and scholarly examination.

We believe that becoming a competent psychologist, social worker or counselor is a developmental processrequiring graduated experiences and training. Consequently, the CSUHN offers training experiences from beginning practica through postdoctoral fellowships. The didactic instruction and supervised practice opportunities vary according to the level of training and the readiness of the individual student. As trainees gain experience, expectations for more advanced professional skills, greater self-awareness and autonomous functioning increase.

We place a high value on the integration of one’s personal and professional identities. We strive to tailor each student’s experience to their individual needs within the structured activities of our training program. Ongoing self-assessment of one’s strengths and limitations is encouraged. When coupled with the supervisory feedback of multiple staff members who are committed to training new professionals, there is great opportunity for personal and professional development.

Practicum Program Description

Service Delivery Experiences

Fall Semester

In the fall semester it is expected that each student will have a minimum of 50 hours of client contact. These hours will be broken down as follows:

  • 40 hours conducting/observing counseling sessions
    • Minimum of 30 therapy sessions with own caseload
    • Maximum of 10 hours observing others’ therapy sessions
  • 10 hours of Initial Consultations (ICs)
    • Phase I: Observe two ICs
    • Phase II: Co-conduct ICs (minimum of 3)
    • Phase III: Independently conduct remainder of ICs

 

Spring Semester

In the spring semester it is expected that each student will have a minimum of 50 hours of client contacts. These hours will be broken down as follows:

  • 40 hours conducting therapy sessions
  • 10 hours of ICs

In summary, all practicum students will have a minimum of 100 hours of direct client contact throughout the academic year in order to satisfactorily complete the practicum. It should be noted that the 50 hours of client contact per semester are a minimum requirement. Therefore, students are not permitted to “cram” their hours into the early part of the semester. If a student completes the 50-hour commitment early in either semester, she/he must continue to fulfill their contract with the CSU Health Network until that semester ends. This is done by designating four hours each week as therapy hours or ICs and attending weekly supervision and the practicum seminar. Learning how to be a more effective therapist is a developmental task that cannot be completed in the same manner that some other graduate practica or classes may be. Therefore, the expectation is that all students will maintain an ongoing caseload throughout the academic year. This means that students will be required to maintain a minimum of four client hours each week during the semester.

Evaluation Procedures

Evaluation of Practicum Student Performance:

At the beginning of each semester, the practicum student and their supervisor will prioritize goals for the semester. The goals will be based upon the requisite clinical competencies, professional standards and behaviors, and personal functioning that are expected of students during their practicum. Evaluation criteria are detailed in the Supervisor’s Evaluation of UCC Practicum Student.

It is the philosophy of the agency and the Psychology Department that the CSU Health Network Practicum Program is a joint training responsibility. Feedback, both to and from the trainee, will be an ongoing process. Practicum students should receive regular feedback about their performance during weekly supervision sessions. In addition, there will be four times each year when formal evaluations will take place. At mid-semester and at the end of each semester, practicum supervisors will communicate their evaluations to their trainee and elicit feedback about the supervisory process. Feedback will be both verbal and written. The trainee will then meet with his/her supervisor, the practicum course instructors, and the Training Director. The practicum student should invite his/her academic advisor to this meeting. The Supervision of Supervision Seminar leader and other representatives of the Psychology Department faculty may also attend. Although the practicum student will already have heard the feedback from their individual supervisor, this evaluation meeting is held to make sure that everyone involved is aware of the student’s progress and training goals. Competencies identified on the evaluation form will be marked as “Pass,” “Needs Improvement,” or “Needs Individualized Treatment Plan (ITP).” As noted above, expectations for performance are greater as the year progresses. What was deemed passing in October may be viewed as needing improvement in March.

When a student receives a “Needs Improvement” mark, the expectation is that they will receive specific feedback from their supervisor or seminar leaders about the changes they should make in this/these area(s). The purpose is to highlight the student’s growth edges. This does not indicate that the student is in danger of not passing the practicum experience, rather, it indicates areas where they should focus effort as they continue their training experience.

When a student receives a “Needs Individualized Training Plan” mark, an Individualized Training Plan (ITP) will be developed in conjunction with the supervisor, Practicum Seminar leaders, and the Training Director. The Counseling Psychology Program Training Director will also receive a copy of the written plan. Typically a period of time (e.g., one month) is established for additional training and skill evaluation by the supervisor and other members of the senior staff. At the conclusion of the training period, a review meeting is scheduled for all those participating in the plan. An additional training period may be specified if the goals of the plan have not been attained. A follow-up letter is forwarded to the Counseling Psychology Program Training Director at this time. (See section on Remediation Stages and Procedures for more information.)

Except in unusual circumstances, such as when a problematic behavior occurs late in the semester, concerns should be formally addressed and an ITP initiated by the time of the mid-semester evaluation. If the ITP is not completed before the end of the semester, the student will receive an incomplete. The grade will be changed upon successful completion of the plan.

Although we recognize that an ITP can be stressful for the student, the goal is educational. The practicum program is designed to be competency-based. That means that we generally work with a student until they successfully complete the practicum and are ready to move to the next practicum experience. Since the evaluation of therapy skills can be subjective, involving multiple staff members in the ITP protects the student from the possibility of a negative evaluation by only one person. (See section on Remediation Procedures at the beginning of this Training Manual.)

 

Evaluation of Supervisors and Training Staff

During supervision it is typical for a supervisor to elicit feedback from the practicum student about the supervision experience. Whenever a practicum student has concerns about a supervisor or other staff member, it is best to first discuss those concerns with the person directly. In most cases, open and honest dialogue will resolve the conflict and can even lead to better working relationships. Students should always feel free to ask for advice and support from any staff member with whom they are comfortable. If the problem is too large or continues after attempts at remediation by the practicum student, the practicum course instructor(s) and the Training Director should be notified. The Training Director and practicum course instructor(s), unless they are involved in the situation, will meet with the supervisor and supervisee and mediate the problem. Should this fail, the larger training staff will be notified and plans will be set in motion to ameliorate the problem (see section on Grievance Procedures).

Students are asked for their perceptions about their supervisory experience and given the opportunity to make suggestions for ways to improve their training. At both mid-semester and at the conclusion of the semester, each practicum student will evaluate her/his supervisor by completing the Trainee’s Evaluation of Supervisor Form, which will be shared in the final supervision session. All evaluation forms will be returned to the Training Director at semester’s end and kept in a permanent file. A copy of the evaluation of the supervisee may also be made and sent to the Psychology Department’s Training Director at the end of each semester to aid in goal‑setting for the 3rd year practicum.

The Application Process

How to Apply:

All prospective Beginning Prac students should submit their CVs electronically to Becca Romine (Becca.Romine@colostate.eduby March 31, 2017.

30-minute IN PERSON interviews will be scheduled for the last 2 weeks of April. If the prospective Beginning Prac student will be a first year student next year and is not yet in Fort Collins, we can do a phone interview instead. Students who did not complete practicum training in 610/611 should also provide the names and phone numbers of a previous clinical supervisor.

Training Staff

2015/2016 Training Staff

Mark Benn, PsyD 
Licensed Psychologist
University of Northern Colorado – 1986

Helen Bowden, PhD 
Licensed Psychologist
University of Florida – 2005

Ellen Cooney, EdD 
Licensed Psychologist
Harvard University – 1978

Michele Faris, PsyD 
Licensed Psychologist
University of Northern Colorado – 1988

Carrie Haynes, MEd, LPC 
Licensed Professional Counselor
Colorado State University – 2006

Lisa Heifner, MS, LPC 
Licensed Professional Counselor
Montana State University – 2003

Aki Hosoi, PhD
Licensed Psychologist
Colorado State University – 2010

Christopher Leck, LCSW 
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Colorado State University – 2006

Susan MacQuiddy, PhD 
Licensed Psychologist
Colorado State University – 1985

Pam McCracken, LCSW 
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

University of Kansas – 1993

Lisa Miller, PhD 
Colorado State University – 2009

Stephanie Mora DeRosby, MA, LPC, LAC
Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed Addictions Counselor
University of Northern Colorado – 2001

Jeff Nepute, Ph.D.

Colorado State University — 2014

Stephen Okiyama, PhD
Licensed Psychologist
Fuller Graduate School of Psychology – 1989

Nara Samuels, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Colorado State University – 2010

Adam Sargent, PhD
Colorado State University — 2015

Jimmy Stewart, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

University of New Orleans -1999

Cindy Swindell, PhD 
Licensed Psychologist
University of Texas at Austin – 1988

Reid Trotter, PhD
Licensed Psychologist
University of Missouri – 2011

Jim Weber, LCSW 
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Colorado State University – 1995

Renee Wieszcholek, MSW, LSW

University of Minnesota — 2013

Colorado State University

Situated in Fort Collins, the 833-acre main campus of Colorado State University is virtually a city within itself, with a student population of over 27,000. Included among its nearly 100 buildings are administrative offices and facilities, classroom buildings, laboratories, residence halls, library, student activity and recreational facilities, bookstore, and performing arts venues.

Colorado State University is one of our nation’s leading research universities with world-class research in infectious disease, atmospheric science, clean energy technologies, and environmental science. It was founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College, six years before the Colorado Territory became a state. Last year, CSU awarded degrees to 5,800 graduates, and this year, it attracted more than $300 million in research funding. Colorado State is a land-grant institution and a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University-Extensive.

Colorado State University is a “university of choice” for Colorado residents – 30% of all of Colorado’s science, math, engineering and technology majors pursue degrees at CSU. In addition to its excellent programs in those areas, CSU offers among the very best professional programs in the United States in veterinary medicineoccupational therapy, journalism, agriculture and construction management. Colorado State faculty are researching and tackling critical global issues, such as the reemergence of tuberculosis, air pollution in Asian cities, severe weather forecasting, nutrition and wellness, and bioterrorism. CSU’s faculty provides an enriched student learning experience by offering laboratory and field experiences from a major research university. This approach – combining the intellectual experience of the classroom with the practical experience of the field and laboratory – is based on the land-grant philosophy.

Colorado State’s Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement office hosts some of the strongest community-service programs in the country, allowing more than 6,000 students to participate in the university’s proud tradition of public outreach. CSU faculty played a significant role in the founding of the Peace Corps, and CSU remains one of the primary sources of Peace Corps volunteers today.

Colorado State is ranked in the top tier of universities in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of “America’s Best Colleges and Universities,” while Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine named CSU one of the top public universities in the United States in terms of educational quality and affordability.

For more information on Colorado State University, please visit http://www.colostate.edu.

To take a virtual tour of the CSU campus, visit http://www.tour.colostate.edu.