The Practicum in Rehabilitation Counseling (REHB 236) is designed to prepare graduate students to function in a clinical setting and more easily adapt to the field practice of the rehabilitation counseling internship. Hence, graduate students who have completed the beginning counseling course and at least 9 to 12 semester hours of study are eligible to register. Students are required to log 100 hours of practicum experience with 40 of the hours involving direct service to individuals with disabilities. Students are assisted in their selection of practicum placements in a collaborative manner as a way to ensure the opportunity for choice while upholding the quality standards of the program. Practicum sites must have CRC supervision available. CRC supervision from the University is also required. In addition, those in the combined program will require supervision by someone who is an LMHC or has another acceptable credential approved by the State. Students are expected to receive at least one hour of supervision at the site on a weekly basis.
Practicum primarily involves the opportunity to work on developing the student’s counseling skills mostly through individual sessions but also through group sessions when appropriate. Other experiences that may be incorporated into the practicum include intake assessments, observations, case management, problem solving, goal development and planning, and supervision. Legal and ethical issues are also discussed, including the Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors. Students should walk away from the experience with more awareness and understanding about the counseling process and the importance of respecting their differences in values, beliefs, and behaviors as compared to their clients.
An essential part of this experience is the audio recording of students in supervised counseling sessions with clients. Students submit 4 to 5 audio recordings that are reviewed by the course instructor for constructive feedback to the student. In addition, two mock video recordings are completed to further evaluate the student’s nonverbal and verbal skills.
In addition to the field experience, students are expected to attend the weekly practicum class, which may include at most ten students. Examples of topics covered in the course are (1) advanced interviewing and counseling techniques, (2) assessment and evaluation, (3) case analysis and synthesis, (4) integrating technique with the counselor’s preferred style, (5) ethical and legal issues, and (6) case report writing and documentation.
A sample of course requirements include:
- Class discussion of assigned readings
- Completion of practicum log sheets
- Journaling of practicum experience
- Four to five audio recordings of counseling sessions including documentation via case notes using a method such as SOAP or DART.
- Completion of two mock video recordings that are reviewed in class
- Completion of two in-depth case studies
- Completion of a final assignment as discussed in class
Upon completion of practicum, site supervisors evaluate the students, using a survey developed by the RC program. The survey is reviewed with the student highlighting areas of strength and in need of improvement. Students can use this survey as a platform upon which to establish goals for internship. Faculty in the RC program, also meet to complete a separate survey utilized as a “spot check” to determine whether the student is ready to begin internship. The survey rates students on their knowledge, skills, and aptitudes. The score received determines whether they are approved for internship. Students rated below a level of acceptance, are brought in to discuss a plan of remediation in an effort to elevate their score to a more acceptable level. The student’s advisor monitors this plan until a level of acceptance is achieved. In the event, a student fails to achieve this level of acceptance; a process of counseling the student out of the program may begin.