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PRACTICUM & INTERNSHIPHANDBOOKMaster of ScienceMental Health Counseling ProgramThe University of Texas at El PasoLast Updated: April 2021

TABLE OF CONTENTSINTRODUCTION . 2PURPOSE . 2PRACTICUM & INTERNSHIP GOALS AND COMPETENCIES . 2PRACTICUM & INTERNSHIP TERMINOLOGY . 3I. CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS . 4II. PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE . 6III. PRACTICUM PLACEMENT PROCESS AND TIMELINE . 7IV. THE STRUCTURE OF PRACTICUM AND INTERNSHIP . 8V. SUPERVISION . 11VI. PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP SELECTION OF FIELD PLACEMENT . 12VII. PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP SITE AND SITE SUPERVISOR GUIDELINES . 12VIII. PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP PROGRAM RESPONSIBILITIES . 14IX. PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP FACULTY SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES . 14X. PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES. 15XI. PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP APPLICATION, DOCUMENTATION, ANDEVALUATION FORMS . 17Appendix A - Application for Counseling Practicum Form . 19Appendix B - Practicum/Internship Student Informed Consent Form . 20Appendix C - Practicum/Internship Student and Site Agreement Form. 21Appendix D - Practicum/Internship Student Memorandum of Agreement Form . 22Appendix E - Practicum/Internship Site Memorandum of Agreement Form . 23Appendix F - Practicum/Internship Supervisor Credential Form . 25Appendix G - Practicum/Internship Weekly Hours Log . 26Appendix H – Practicum/Internship Semester Summary Hours Log . 28Appendix I - Practicum/Internship Supervision Hours Completion Form . 29Appendix J - Student Evaluations of Site and Site Supervisor Form . 30Appendix K - Student Evaluation of Faculty Supervisor in Individual/Triadic and GroupSupervision Form . 32LPC Associate Practicum/Graduate Internship Form 341

INTRODUCTIONThe Mental Health Counseling program requires a practicum that includes a minimum of 100hours and an internship that includes a minimum of 600 hours total (internship I 300 hours;internship II 300 hours) of clinical experience. The practicum and internship should becompleted near the end of the program.PURPOSEThe practicum and internship (internship I & II) courses provide an opportunity to gain fieldcounseling experiences at sites in the community. Students/interns will apply theoretical andpractical knowledge in practice settings under the supervision of a site supervisor and a FacultySupervisor. These courses contribute primarily to meeting CACREP accreditation standardsassociated with entry- level professional practice (CACREP 3.A-E) in Practicum (CACREP 3.FI) and Internship (CACREP 3.J-M). Furthermore, the courses contribute to accreditationstandards associated with Program Objectives and Curriculum in the areas of professionalorientation (CACREP 2.F.1), social and cultural diversity (CACREP 2.F.2), human growth anddevelopment (CACREP 2.F.3), career development (CACREP 2.F.4), helping relationships(CACREP 2.F.5), group work (CACREP 2.F.6), assessment and testing (CACREP 2.F.7), andresearch and program evaluation (CACREP 2.F.8). Field counseling experiences in settings thatprovide mental health services are required for students desiring licensure as professionalcounselors.PRACTICUM & INTERNSHIP GOALS AND COMPETENCIESThe Practicum and Internship field placements have been proposed and developed toward thegoal of training and enhancing the competencies that are consistent with sound professionalgrowth and the practice of professional mental health counseling.Practicum/Internship Goal: Knowledge, Development and Demonstration of Clinical MentalHealth Counseling Skills and PracticesObjectives:a. Develop and demonstrate foundational knowledge regarding the provision of mentalhealth treatment services including treatment models, Site operations, and the principlesof clinical mental health counselingb. Develop and demonstrate skills in addressing issues of diversity and providing advocacyc. Develop and demonstrate skills in clinical assessment, evaluation, diagnosis, treatmentplanning, and interventionCompetencies Expected for these Objectives:a. Proficiency in developing counseling relationships, performing culturally competentcounseling interventions, advocating for clients, and consulting with other professionalsand systems2

b. Proficiency in performing intake interviews and mental status examinations, gatheringbiopsychosocial histories, assessing clinical information, documenting and reportingclinical informationc. Proficiency in conceptualizing cases, developing treatment plans, applying evidencedbased practices, strategies, and techniques and evaluating treatment outcomes for avariety of mental health issuesPRACTICUM & INTERNSHIP TERMINOLOGYTERMSiteFaculty SupervisorSite SupervisorIndividualSupervisionTriadic SupervisionGroup SupervisionDEFINITIONTerm used to refer to the mental health practice in which thestudent has been accepted to complete their practicum and/orinternship hours.Used interchangeably with “instructor” or “group supervisor.”Faculty Supervisor refers to the faculty member who is thecourse instructor for EDPC 5371, 5372, or 5373. The FacultySupervisor provides a minimum of 1.5 hours of weekly groupsupervision to students throughout the semester.Term used to indicate the licensed mental health counselingprofessional at the Site that provides oversight of student’s workat their Site. The Site Supervisor provides a minimum of 1-hourof weekly individual or triadic supervision to studentsthroughout entire time (during the semester and betweensemester breaks) that a student is at the Site. Students shouldhave at least one Site Supervisor for each Site in which they areaccruing hours, and may have more than one Site Supervisor atthe same site.Refers to any one-on-one supervision session the student haswith the Faculty Supervisor and/or the site supervisor. The sitesupervisor provides a minimum of 1 hour of individualsupervision to practicum and/or internship students throughoutthe semester. The Faculty Supervisor provides individualsupervision as needed.Refers to any supervision session the Site of Faculty Supervisorhas with 2 students at a time.Refers primarily to the weekly practicum/internship classstudents have on campus. May also refer to site supervisionwhere more than 2 students participate.3

I. CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKSMental health care providers are entrusted with the health, safety and welfare of patients, haveaccess to confidential and sensitive information and operate in settings that require the exerciseof good judgment and ethical behavior. Thus, an assessment of a student’s suitability to functionin a clinical setting is imperative to promote the highest standards in mental health care services.Most mental health agencies/facilities are required to conduct background checks for securitypurposes on individuals who supervise, care, render treatment, and provide services within or forthe facility. Furthermore, field based clinical training are an essential element of the MentalHealth Counseling curriculum. Students who cannot participate in clinical rotations due tocriminal or other adverse activities that are revealed in a background check are unable to fulfillthe requirements of a degree program. Therefore, it is in everyone's interest to resolve theseissues prior to a commitment of resources by the College or the student. Last, an importantrationale for extending these requirements include compliance with UTEP policy (see UTEPHandbook of Operating Procedures, Section V, Chapter 12) that requires students who are in aneducational program that requires assignment to a clinical health care facility to pass a criminalbackground check, including a sex offender registration check.PolicyEffective Spring Semester 2016, comprehensive criminal background checks are required of allstudents applying for placement/enrollment in practicum/internship courses. Students who do notpass the background check requirements may be denied approval to be placed atpracticum/internship sites and may be unable to complete Mental Health Counseling degreerequirements.Timing of the Background CheckThe UTEP required background check must be satisfactorily completed no more than 30 daysprior to the expected date of beginning a placement at a clinical training site and the first day ofclasses of the term in which enrollment in the Mental Health Counseling clinical training course(i.e., practicum/internship) ensues. An offer of placement at a site or enrollment in a clinicalcourse will not be final until the completion of the background check is deemed favorable.A "HOLD" will be placed on student enrollment in clinical training courses until the backgroundcheck clearance documentation is received or permission is granted by the Dean of the Collegeof Education in consultation with the Department Chair or an appropriate designee. Individualswho do not give permission for UTEP to review the results of the background check will not beplaced at a clinical training site and will be barred from enrollment in clinical training courses.Identification of VendorsUTEP will designate the company (or companies) approved to do the background check. Resultsfrom any company or government entity other than those designated will not be accepted.Allocation of the CostStudents are required to pay the 22 fee for the background check.Period of ValidityThe background checks will be honored for a five-year period as long as the student has not hada break in enrollment in the clinical course training sequence. A student who has a break inenrollment will be required to complete a new background check.4

Student/Applicant Access to Background Check and ReportThe background check report provided by the vendor(s) will be available to the student onlinevia a secure, individually password protected web page. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, thestudent will be informed if any adverse decision is based on the report and provided with thename and contact information of the company that issued the report.Significant Findings in Background Check ReportStudents have the right to request that the vendor who performed the check re-verify that thebackground check is correct. Upon review of the background check, a determination will bemade in consultation with a campus licensed law enforcement officer as selected by the UTEPCampus Chief of Police, whether to grant or deny the student continued enrollment or to referthe matter to a review panel appointed by the Dean in consultation with the Department Chair.The decision is based off the Texas State board professional licensing requirements which can befound here. The appointed panel will review the case and determine whether the student: 1) isprohibited from placement at a site and enrollment in the clinical training course; 2) is allowedplacement at a site and enrollment in the clinical training course; or 3) is to be interviewed todetermine appropriate action. Any student whose case is referred to the review panel may submitinformation to the panel to contest or explain the negative contents of their background check.In reviewing the background check and any supplementary information submitted, the followingfactors may be considered: the nature and seriousness of the offense or event, the circumstancessurrounding the offense or event, the relationship between the duties to be performed as part ofthe educational program and the offense committed, the age of the person when the offense orevent occurred, whether the offense or event was an isolated or repeated incident, the length oftime that has passed since the offense or event, past employment and history of academic ordisciplinary misconduct, evidence of successful rehabilitation, and the accuracy of theinformation provided by the student application materials, Disclosure Forms or other materials.If the background check uncovers a question which can be cleared by the applicant, placement ata site and enrollment in the clinical training courses can be deferred up to one year while thematter is resolved. However, the student may be granted permission to re-enroll in clinicaltraining courses only if space is available.The decision to allow a student who has negative findings in their background check to be placedat a site and enrolled in the clinical training course is not a guarantee that any clinical trainingfacility will permit the student to participate in clinical training at its facility, or that a state willaccept the individual as a candidate for licensure.Appeal of Panel DecisionStudents or applicants who are denied placement and enrollment may appeal the decision to theDepartment Chair. If the student is not satisfied with the disposition from the Chair, they mayfurther appeal to the Dean of the College Education.Falsification of InformationFalsification of information will result in immediate removal of approval for placement at a siteand enrollment in clinical training courses and also in removal from the Mental HealthCounseling degree program.5

Criminal Activity while Placed at a Site and Enrolled in Clinical Training CoursesCriminal activity that occurs while a student is in attendance at the university may result indisciplinary action, including removal from the clinical site and dismissal from the program, andwill be addressed through the university's academic or disciplinary policies.Confidentiality of RecordsBackground check reports and all records pertaining to the results are considered confidentialwith restricted access. The results and records are subject to the Family Educational Rights andPrivacy Act [FERPA] regulations. Information contained in the reports/records will not beshared with facilities participating in the clinical rotations unless a legitimate need isdemonstrated and approved by the Dean in consultation with the Department Chair or his/herdesignee. Reports and related records (both electronic and paper media) are retained in a securelocation and are maintained in the Department for the duration of the student's enrollment oruntil the applicant is removed from the Mental Health Counseling program. The reports andrecords will be physically and or digitally destroyed at that time.II. PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCEAll students placed at practicum/internship sites must acquire individual professional liabilityinsurance. Liability insurance policies for students may be purchased through a private insurancecompany or may be purchased at a discount by joining a professional organization (e.g., TexasCounseling Association (TCA), American Counseling Association (ACA), etc.).6

III. PRACTICUM PLACEMENT PROCESS AND TIMELINEWhenDeadline of 3 Months Prior toBeginning PracticumMay 15th for FallOct. 15th for SpringFeb. 15th for SummerSemester Prior to BeginningPracticumBetween 2-3 Months Prior toBeginning PracticumDuring Registration PeriodOnce the Site Tentatively AcceptsStudentFirst Meeting of EDPC 5371 –Practicum ClassThroughout thePracticum/Internship semesterAt the end of the Semester of thePracticum/Internship ExperienceWhat1. Electronically submit the application forcounseling practicum. You will be informedby email when the practicum applicationprocess opens.1. Attend the Practicum & Internshiporientation2. Before orientation, read Practicum/InternshipHandbook3. Before orientation, read the Site SupervisorOrientation HandbookReceive Permission to:1. Complete background check required bycounseling program2. Apply to approved site3. Set up interview4. Attend interview5. Provide site supervisor a copy of sitesupervisor orientation handbook at interview6. Purchase professional liability insurance1. Receive clearance to enroll fromadministrative assistant2. Register in EDPC 5371 - practicum classFollow through on background check proceduresrequired by site and all other site requirements forplacement including site orientation/training.Complete appendices B through G and submit themto your Faculty Supervisor.Complete appendix HComplete appendices I through L and submit themto your Faculty Supervisor.Important: If there are no changes of site supervisor and the student continues at the same sitefor Internship, no new forms are required. Students are required to submit updated copies ofeach form any time there is a change in supervisor or site.7

IV. THE STRUCTURE OF PRACTICUM AND INTERNSHIPThe Practicum course is the first formal clinical field experience required by the Mental HealthCounseling program. It is designed to lead consecutively to the Internship I and II courses.Practicum is offered during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Internship I & II must beconsecutively completed in the next two semesters following the Practicum semester. InPracticum, the primary focus is to gain an initial field experience in direct service (e.g.,individual and group counseling) as well as to acquaint the student with a wide variety of otherprofessional activities conducted in clinical mental health settings. The Practicum course shouldprovide the student with a broad orientation to the clinical aspects of the mental health field,allow the student to learn how to interact with Site personnel and community networks, initiatethe student into a clinically supervised counseling experience, and prepare the student for themore intensive and demanding responsibilities of the Internship courses which follow.The EDPC 5371 - Counseling Practicum requires a semester long (approximately 15 weeks inthe fall and spring and 10 weeks in the summer) supervised practicum experience totaling aminimum of 100 clinical on-site clock hours. The student will gain both individual and groupcounseling skills under supervision. The requirements for Practicum are as follows: A minimum of 100 clinical site hours.o As part of this 100-clock hour requirement, the student must complete a minimumof 40 clock hours of direct service (i.e., face-to-face client contact). Direct servicehours can be acquired through individual and group counseling. The student mustlead or co-lead a psychotherapeutic group during the practicum and/or internshipexperience. The remaining 60 hours can include non-direct clinical experiences as directed by site. One (1) hour per week of face-to-face individual or triadic clinical supervision by theSite Supervisor which is counted toward the indirect hours spent in other counselingrelated activities. Minimum 1.5 hours per week of faculty/group supervision at UTEP with other practicumstudents and counseling department faculty. Some counseling sessions with clients will be documented via audio and/or videorecording. These recordings will be submitted for review during group supervision.INTERNSHIP I & II Internship I and Internship II are the second phase of the clinical field experience.Student Indirect counseling-related activities include the expected 1 hour per week offace-to-face clinical supervision by the student’s Site Supervisor. The student must successfully complete the requirements for Practicum to be allowed tocontinue on into Internship which is designed to immediately follow the Practicum. Thestudent may not begin the Internship I experience until the minimum of 40 clock hours ofdirect service and the total of 100 clock hours required for Practicum are successfullycompleted according to the expectations of the EDPC 5371 – Practicum syllabus. EDPC 5372 – Counseling Internship I and EDPC 5373 – Counseling Internship II eachrequire a semester long (approximately 15 weeks) placement. The student must complete300 clock-hours under supervision during each internship semester for a total of 600hours.8

The internship requirements are as followed:o A minimum of 600 clinical clock hours total.o Out of the 600 clock-hours, a minimum of 240 clock-hours must be of directservice with clients. (i.e., 120 clock hours each semester of Internship).o The remaining 360 clock hours can be indirect services.o The student must lead or co-lead a psychotherapeutic group during either thepracticum or internship experience.o One (1) hour per week of face-to-face individual or triadic clinical supervision bythe Site Supervisor.o Minimum 1.5 hours per week of faculty/group supervision at UTEP with otherpracticum students and counseling department faculty.o All counseling sessions with clients will be documented via audio and/or videorecording. These recordings will also be submitted for review during supervision.Extension of InternshipIf a student is in good standing and has successfully completed all the required assignments ofthe EDPC 5372 – Internship I class, but has not completed the 120 clock hours of direct serviceand/or the total of 300 clock hours required for EDPC 5372, the student may be allowed to enrollin and begin the Internship II experience with the approval of the Clinical Coordinator, theMental Health Program Coordinator, or the Department Chair if it is deemed likely that thestudent will be able to make up the deficit of accrued hours in a timely manner. A grade of P (“in progress”) will be submitted for EDPC 5372 which will be changed to agrade of S once the hours are accrued to make up the deficit.Over Accrual of Internship HoursIn the event the student accrues more than 300 hours during the Internship I semester, up to 50hours from Internship I may be carried over into Internship II even if Internship I and InternshipII are not being completed during consecutive semesters. In addition, if Internship I andInternship II are being completed during consecutive semesters, the student may accrue up to 50clock hours toward the Internship II hours requirements during the interim period between thelast day of class of the Internship I semester and the beginning of the first week of classes of theInternship II semester. The student who accrues hours during the interim period must continue toreceive supervision from the Site Supervisor during the interim period.Even though a student may complete the required minimum 240 hours of direct service and the600 total hours required for the two semesters of Internship before the last week of class for theInternship II semester, the student is expected to continue to provide services at the Internshipsite, receive supervision, and attend EDPC 5372 – Internship II class until the semester ends.Examples of Direct and Non-Direct Service HoursExamples of direct-service and clinical hours are listed below. This list does not cover allsituations. If you have a question about a service that is not covered, be sure to ask your UTEPfaculty/group supervisor.9

Direct ServiceFace-to-Face counseling with one-personRemote/virtual counselingCouples counseling/ Family counselingGroup counseling (as leader or co-leader)Crisis counseling by telephoneConsultation with clients or familiesPsychosocial evaluationsIntake interviewsIndirect ServiceOn-site supervisionTelephone contactsCase stuffingWriting case notesResearch (assigned) for client careTreatment planningAttending Site meetingsIn-service training seminars, conferencesStaffing (case presentations)ShadowingSupervision hours provided oncampus (practicum/internship class)Important RestrictionsStudents are expected to complete the total number of required direct service hours and nondirect hours only during the semester they are enrolled in EDPC 5371 - Practicum/ EDPC 5372 Internship. Students may not begin accruing direct service hours before the first week of theEDPC 5371 - Practicum class. However, they may accrue up to 15 non-direct service hours forattending required Site orientations prior to the beginning of the first week of EDPC 5371 Practicum class.1) If a student is in good standing and has successfully completed all the requiredassignments of the EDPC 5371 – Practicum class, the student with a deficit in therequired hours will receive a grade of P (“in progress”) for EDPC 5371 which will bechanged to a grade of S once the hours are accrued to make up the deficit.2) If the student has failed to meet one or more of the academic/clinical performancerequirements of the EDPC 5371 Practicum or the EDPC 5372 Internship I course, a gradeof “U” or a grade of “I” will be assigned. If the grade of “I” is received, the student maybe denied permission to continue with the Internship/Internship II experience until thoseacademic/clinical requirements are satisfactorily completed. If a grade of “U” isreceived, the student would have to request permission to re-take EDPC 5371/EDPC5372 which must be successfully completed before enrolling in Internship I/Internship II.Permission to enroll in EDPC 5371/EDPC 5372 again may be denied depending on thenature of the reasons for receiving a grade of “U”.3) The student may not carry over hours from Practicum into Internship I. However, sincestudents are required to complete Practicum, Internship I and II in consecutive semesters,the student who has successfully completed Practicum may accrue up to 50 non-directand/or direct clock hours toward the Internship I hours requirements during the interimperiod between the last day of class of the Practicum semester and the beginning of thefirst week of class of the Internship I semester. The student who accrues hours during theinterim period must continue to receive supervision from the Site Supervisor during theinterim period.10

Students must be officially registered in EDPC 5371 – Practicum, EDPC 5372- Internship I, orEDPC 5373 – Internship II to be able to accrue clock hours to meet the requirements of thesecourses.V. SUPERVISIONSupervision is a form of instruction wherein a supervisor is assigned to monitor the student’sactivities in practicum and internship. The supervisor will help the student to further developtheir clinical skill and learning. Evaluation of supervisee’s performance will be conductedthrough a review of case notes, case presentations, recordings, self-assessment, and individualsupervision.PurposeClinical Supervision is a tutorial form of counselor training that enhances the professionalfunctioning of the supervisee, monitors the quality of professional services offered to the clientsthat are seen by the supervisee, and provides the information necessary for the supervisor toserve as a gatekeeper for the counseling profession. It is simultaneously a forum forteaching/learning counseling skills, becoming aware of personal/professional biases and blindspots and developing a proactive habit of self-reflection, and for demonstrating clinical strengthsand remediating areas of clinical weakness. As such, the clinical supervisor is in a uniqueposition to assist supervisees to enrich the quality of their counseling. Students are expected toengage fully in the supervision process which can at first be anxiety provoking until a strongsupervisory working relationship is established but is usually extremely rewarding as the studentrealizes their professional growth through the supervision process. Full engagement in thesupervision process entails attending all scheduled supervision sessions (on campus and at thesite) timely preparation for supervision sessions, open and authentic discussion of skills,attitudes, and personal concerns over professional performance, and a willingness to beinfluenced by the supervision process so as to be prepared to meet the expectations of MentalHealth Counseling program’s clinical training requirements.ProcessClinical supervision hours comprise an essential component of the Practicum and Internshipexperience. Every student enrolled in Practicum and Internship must receive 1 hour weekly ofindividual supervision at their site with their assigned site supervisor. Students will also receive aminimum of 1.5 hours of group supervision per week on campus with the class FacultySupervisor. The class Faculty Supervisor functions as the group supervision supervisor andassigns the grade earned by the Practicum/Internship student. The student is graded on aSatisfactory-Unsatisfactory basis and must earn a grade of Satisfactory in Practicum be allowedto advance to Internship I, and then must earn a grade of Satisfactory to be allowed to advance toInternship II. The student must successfully pass all three courses and the Counselor PreparationComprehensive Exam (CPCE) to graduate from the Mental Health Counseling program.It is the Site Supervisor’s responsibility to be available at times that are mutually agreed uponwith the Practicum/Internship student. It is the student's responsibility to ensure compliance withthese obligatory training functions. Attendance to both si

These courses contribute primarily to meeting CACREP accreditation standards associated with entry- level professional practice (CACREP 3.A-E) in Practicum (CACREP 3.F- . (CACREP 2.F.5), group work (CACREP 2.F.6), assessment and testing (CACREP 2.F.7), and . Effective Spring Semester 2016, comprehensive criminal background checks are .