Rehabilitation Counseling, MSEd
Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health, MSEd
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.
The internship experience (REHB 234/235) provides students with observation and participation as a counselor in one or more vocational rehabilitation agencies that are either in the nonprofit, public, or private sector. In order to take Internship, students must have successfully completed practicum. During the internship experience, students are exposed to a vast array of services such as intake, assessment, individual and group counseling, case management, advocacy, training, placement, and follow up services. It is also a goal during internship to expose students to a diverse range of clients across disability, ethnicity, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, etc. The range of population and services will in part depend on the site(s) selected for internship. Placement into a site will be made with an advisor’s approval and according to the student’s needs.
The student will be under the supervision of both the agency and the University, requiring weekly one-hour site supervision sessions to discuss progress and problems during internship. Internship 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 a LMHC or has another acceptable credential approved by the State. A total of 600 hours (300 per semester) is required with 240 of these hours involving direct service to individuals with disabilities. The internship is offered during the fall and spring semesters and is generally taken during the second year of the program. Permission of an advisor is required.
Other requirements of internship include:
- meeting weekly for internship seminar, with at most 10 students.
- completing internship logs that document activities and time spent at the site. Students must specify their client contact and supervision hours.
- presenting four case studies with audio-recording during seminar.
- journaling internship experience as it relates to professional growth and development.
- submitting progress notes evaluating one’s own growth.
- filling out a survey on the clinical supervision received.
- being formally evaluated twice a semester by the site supervisor
- finishing other seminar work as assigned by the academic instructor (e.g. program evaluation, ethical dilemma assignments, etc.)
Prior to the start of internship, an orientation meeting is held to prepare students. Topics discussed include policies and procedures of internship, their roles and functions as an intern, program expectations in terms of performance, and ethical considerations as it relates to the CRCC Code of Ethics. Students are expected to provide proof of liability insurance prior to starting internship. During the meeting, students also begin to explore potential internship sites. Site selection is done collaboratively between the student and faculty to ensure that students are placed in a setting that is in compliance with the program’s mission and standards; and meets the student’s interests and needs.
In terms of performance measures, site supervisors complete a survey twice each semester, once at mid-semester and again at the end of the semester. This survey uses a Likert scale and measures the student on several dimensions. The survey rates students on their knowledge, skills, and aptitudes. The score received weighs in on the decision to move students to the second half of internship or graduate from the program for those who are in their second semester. 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. Informal supervision also takes place during the weekly seminars where students are expected to reflect on case studies that are present. Their professionalism and appropriateness in response to the issues presented are observed as a measure of their professional development.
During the final semester in the programs, students are required to complete a comprehensive portfolio entailing two components: a written portfolio and an oral defense. Each student must demonstrate competency by applying rehabilitation counseling knowledge, skills, and attitudes to an in-depth case study of a consumer. Each student is assigned to his/her own case study. Utilizing accreditation standards set forth by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), students are expected to address the case study across five areas of curriculum including the development of an Individualized Plan of Employment. Examples of the curriculum areas are Psychosocial Aspects of Disability & Cultural Diversity and Employment and Career Development. The end product is a 40 to 60-page written document. An oral defense is then schedule where the student presents the case study to the faculty. Students are required to pass both the written and oral components of the comprehensive portfolio in order to graduate.