The advanced counseling practicum at the University of Portland is ideal for doctoral trainees that are preparing for internship. We refer to our program as “intern prep” because we work to create an experience that trainees can expect to find at a college counseling center internship. Specifically, our program offers intensive supervision geared toward the unique strengths and interests of each trainee (2 hours per week, individual & group), opportunities to begin developing a specialty area in college mental health, and a diverse range of clinical experiences including individual counseling, skills groups, outreach, and cognitive testing and report writing.
Our center is a fully integrated health and counseling center including wellness promotion services. This means that the practicum also provides opportunities to collaborate with medical providers, a registered dietician, and a variety of other staff to best meet the needs of our clients. We also provide support for internship applications and interviews, and have a very strong track record of students being placed in college counseling center internships.
At the present time we have capacity to work with three trainees each year, from the beginning of the fall semester (August) through the end of the spring semester (May). We primarily work with students from the Pacific University clinical psychology doctoral program, but have occasionally worked with trainees from other universities. Requirements for practicum are enrollment in an APA-approved doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology, at least one full year of clinical experience (two or more is preferred), and ability to be on-site at least two full days per week. There is an optional extra half day to focus on specialty development.
As internship and full staff positions in college counseling centers become more competitive, it is important for professionals entering the field to have skills that can set them apart. One major way of doing this is to develop a specialty area. Our program works to help our trainees begin (or continue) this process by providing opportunities to create outreach programs geared toward their interests and campus needs, as well as develop relationships with departments or offices on campus for collaborative efforts.
Trainees are encouraged to bring ideas related to their own interests for this process, and our staff is open to facilitating an experience during the practicum year. Some examples of specialty areas are substance use assessment and prevention, career counseling, violence and sexual assault prevention and treatment, men's issues, eating disorders, suicide prevention, depression, mindfulness, ADHD testing and treatment, students with disabilities, spirituality, and student athlete issues among many other possibilities. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide any specific specialty development, so please let us know what your ideas are as early in the process as possible.
Our selection process has several steps and typically takes place in March of each year for the following fall placement. First, students should submit a CV, cover letter, and any supplemental material via email to Will Meek, assistant director of counseling & training, at firstname.lastname@example.org. All staff members will review the applications, and a licensed staff member will follow up with some additional questions via phone. We then collectively decide who to bring to campus for an interview, and will notify candidates by email if they are selected.
The interview will last two hours and include a 45 minute group interview and one-on-one meetings with all potential supervisors. During the group interview, candidates should prepare a 15 minute case presentation that demonstrates their style of work. We make decisions on selection for a placement as we go, and will notify trainees via phone, email, or in person of an offer to join our staff for the following year.
If you are interested in our program, or have any questions, please contact Will Meek at email@example.com.