Clinical practica at UNC are supervised by the core Counseling Psychology faculty at the Psychological Services Clinic (see http://www.unco.edu/cebs/psych_clinic/index.html), all of whom are licensed psychologists or actively working toward licensure. In order to maximize students’ learning experiences, practicum classes are kept small (6-7 students), evidence-based practices are integrated throughout, and multicultural competency is an important focus. Because clinical practica are usually on-site and supervised by our faculty, we are able to carefully monitor the quality of a student’s practicum experiences. During the first two semesters of individual clinical practica, supervisors observe students’ sessions from behind a one-way mirror. In addition, students also record all of their sessions and supervisors dub feedback directly onto their recordings. Live supervision is also utilized for the Couples & Family therapy practicum experiences and our on-site Group therapy experiences. Later in their programs, students enroll in Psychological Services Clinic where students are given more autonomy and less live supervision of sessions, although sessions are still recorded. During these advanced clinical practica, students will also conduct psychological assessments with clients as part of their training. In the Psychological Services Clinic, practicum students also gain valuable experience in developing and providing outreach presentations and workshops to the university and surrounding communities. In addition to providing counseling through our on-site clinic, when enrolled in external practica, students have the opportunity to seek additional experience at other training sites, such as a University Counseling Center, The Veterans Administration, and Community Mental Health agencies.
The live-supervision represents a significant commitment for our faculty, and this model of practicum training is a way of ensuring systematic and controlled training for each of our students. In addition, current students report that our practicum supervision is one of the reasons they were attracted to UNC. Students at internship sites often report that their preparation in therapeutic interventions was far superior to that of their fellow interns and our graduates frequently describe practicum as being one of the most beneficial aspects of their doctoral training.