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Counseling Staff

Counseling Internship Training Program

LSUS Counseling Services offers training opportunities for graduate students in the Master's in Counseling program at LSUS. We offer a cooperative, developmental, and enthusiastic learning environment within a diverse college campus community supporting student success and well-being.

What Our Program Offers

The foundation of our training philosophy is experiential learning supported by supervision, mentoring, training seminars, and knowledge of the mental health services theory and practices of counseling and psychology. Our training program provides many opportunities for interns to consult, learn, and work in partnership with professional staff to build meaningful relationships and mentorship.

Trainees and staff join in our training mission, which values and respects collaboration, teamwork, self-awareness, and openness to learning. Self-reflection, introspection, constructive feedback, and interpersonal dialogue are highly valued aspects of our training.

Our Approach

We work from diverse theoretical approaches that enrich our training climate with a focus on developmental issues and working within a time-limited model of clinical practice.

Each trainee becomes a valued member of the Counseling Services team and gains clinical experience with individual and group counseling, psychoeducation, crisis assessment, consultation, and outreach services.

Upon arrival, interns begin to assess their professional goals for their training year with guidance from the clinical supervisor. Interns have the opportunity to identify clinical interests and theoretical models as training foci and are given training and supervision opportunities in identified areas. The training year provides ample opportunities for interns to apply theory to practice.

Supervision is regarded as a supportive, mentoring relationship to enable interns to develop professional autonomy and competence. The evaluation process thus plays an essential role in the professional development of interns throughout the year.

Counseling Services offers opportunities for interns to gain experience with a diverse range of students within a multicultural and diverse organization and engage in their own reflections of their intersecting identities and how it impacts their professional identity and their clinical work.

Site Description

Counseling Services serves as the primary mental health service for students on LSUS's diverse campus of more than 7,000, including face-to-face and online students.

Our staff includes counselors, master's level trainees, as well as an administrative support staff. We provide personal counseling, group counseling, educational workshops, awareness and prevention outreach, and consultation.

Counseling Services is a valued part of the Division of Academic Affairs and falls under the area of Student Development, which also includes Career Services, Student Activities & Recreational Sports, Student Advocacy & Accountability, and Student Success.

Application Process

LSUS Counseling Services currently has one (1) funded graduate assistantship and one (1) paid internship. These positions work as part of our mental health counseling team and assist in the counseling, psychoeducation, consultation, and outreach programming efforts of our office.

The graduate assistant position includes tuition exemption and an hourly wage.  If a student is enrolled in less than 9 hours during a fall or spring semester, the part-time GA placement pays for up to two (2) courses and is limited to working a maximum of 10 hours per week.  If a student is enrolled in 9 hours or more during a fall or spring semester, or enrolled in 6 hours or more during a summer semester, the full-time GA placement pays for up to three (3) courses and is limited to working a maximum of 20 hours per week.  The other paid internship opportunity does not provide tuition assistance, but includes an hourly wage for up to a maximum of 20 hours per week for each of the practicum and two internship semesters.  (Additional GA opportunities may come available at a later date, at which time the LSUS MSC Internship Coordinator will be notified.)

Each position application requires a resume or CV, along with two letters of recommendation. We work closely with the Internship Coordinator of the LSUS Masters in Counseling program in recommending highly qualified candidates for the available positions.

Overview of Training

We prefer individuals are able to make the commitment to do a full academic year of training beginning in Summer and carrying through the following Spring semester. Starting dates that do not follow this timeline are available at times, however you may inquire to see if this option is a possibility. This is a paid opportunity, with training and supervision provided.

Our Practicum and Internship program accepts talented students exclusively from the LSUS Masters in Counseling program, and allows all students to work with senior counseling staff, in collaboration with other campus staff members in varying departments across campus. We expect a cooperative spirit and enthusiasm to learn from a variety of colleagues (peers, supervisors, senior staff, faculty and other university staff, and administrators).

Our focus is to give all trainees a strong clinical experience that promotes their training as mental health professionals while also meeting all academic requirements of your graduate program. Expected requirements and experiences for each phase of training are as follows.

Practicum

For Practicum, independent of any hours you will commit to your academic program (coursework or supervision provided by your program), in order to meet the 100 hour requirement in the Practicum semester, students generally work 10 hours a week in Counseling Services. We strongly prefer accepting practicum students who plan on completing their subsequent internship semesters at our center as well.

Typically, you will receive a minimum of one hour a week of individual supervision. This time is used in many ways, from orientation and explaining procedures, to allow time for questions, to provide time to process experiences related to your work and professional development. Many sessions will be dedicated to specific topics, often relevant clinical issues and treatment techniques.

During a beginning practicum, you will observe senior staff in counseling sessions and progressively be given your own caseload. Once you have been oriented to the system here and your skills have been assessed, you will be referred clients directly from your supervisor. Cases assigned are somewhat dependent on interest and skills, but typically you will work with students on common developmental concerns, including academic issues and mild personal issues. Advanced practicum students will be assigned a greater variety of cases as appropriate.

In addition, practicum students will assist with classroom presentations, outreach awareness events, and workshops on various academic and personal issues. These direct services can often be counted as direct group hours.

Internship

For the Internship semesters, in order to meet the 300 hour requirement in one internship semester, students generally work approximately 20 hours a week in Counseling Services. You will receive a minimum of one hour a week of individual supervision, in addition to intermittent training and case consultation objectives.

As your skill level increases, so will the complexity of the cases to which you will be assigned. Students can expect that they will get approximately 2/3 of their direct service hours in the last half of the semester. This is due to the increase in demand for services as the semester progresses (typical of a college counseling center), as well as the increase in your skill level and comfort level that occurs as you gain greater experience.

In addition, interns will develop and lead workshops on various academic and personal issues. Trainees will be expected to do at least 3 outreach programs a semester. At times, therapy and psycho-educational groups are offered, and if appropriate, interns can participate as co-facilitators with senior staff. This type of activity is typically expected of most clinicians in a college setting and it is an important skill to develop. These direct outreach services can often be counted as group hours.

Structure of the Training Program

The training program consists of several main components:

  • individual supervision
  • clinical and counseling experiences
  • outreach and psychoeducational experiences

Individual supervision is held weekly and is in addition to any supervision offered by the student's academic program. The amount of supervision time may vary depending on the student's academic program's requirement; however, a minimum of one hour per week is expected. Supervisors will attempt to make up a lost supervision hour if he or she has to cancel that time due to illness or emergency. Trainees are expected to attend and be prepared for all supervision times unless they experience an illness or emergency.

Initially supervision focuses on orientation and training to prepare trainees to see clients. Training covers expectations, office procedures, and training specific to the common types of student issues presented in counseling. Counseling Services takes a holistic approach to student well-being, and as such, includes connecting students to various other departments on campus to assist their development and academic success; therefore, training includes orientation to other student support services on campus and the referral process.

Trainees will go through orientation and then will start being assigned some individual sessions with students who have been screened by senior staff members. While trainees are going through this process, they will also be observing Intake sessions with senior staff. (Please see the section on observing sessions for more detail.) When ready, the trainees will eventually start to take some students for Personal Intakes.

Trainees are expected to participate in many of the types of activities that are typical for counseling center staff. We hope that by the conclusion of their training, a trainee will have a good understanding of what it is like to work in such a setting. As part of this practice, we expect trainees to facilitate at least 3 outreach programs a semester. Trainees will have the opportunity to use outreach materials composed by other staff and/or former trainees, or may create their own program with supervision. While trainees will have some choice in the topics they choose, they must participate in both academic outreach programs and personal issues outreach programs. The programs selected must be relevant to the needs of our students, as well as the needs of the department.

Observing Sessions

After basic procedural training and expectations are reviewed, trainees begin the process of observing senior staff in a variety of sessions. In addition, it is important to observe Outreach Programs conducted by senior staff prior to starting your own programs.

After the trainee has observed several counseling sessions, the trainee and supervisor may agree that the trainee is ready to attempt to conduct such a session. Initially the trainee would do this by taking the lead with a senior staff person in the room for support and, after the client leaves, processing and feedback. Over time, trainees will be individually assigned developmentally appropriate personal counseling cases for which Intakes have already been completed and the presenting problem appears suitable for the current level of the trainee. Eventually, the trainee will be assigned Personal Intakes when ready and knowledgeable in assessing a wide range of issues. This may vary depending on the trainees' prior experiences and other individual factors. Supervision will continue outside of counseling sessions to include case conceptualization, processing, and further development of counseling techniques and practice.

Expectations of Trainees

We expect trainees to behave professionally and ethically at all times. Trainees will be required to sign a Contract that clearly defines our expectations of them. Additionally, we expect trainees to embrace diversity and be accepting of ideas different from their own as both our student population and our staff is quite diverse.

Additionally, early in each semester, trainees should provide a schedule of hours to be worked in the Counseling Services office, and attempt to adhere as much as possible to that schedule. Many of the scheduled work hours will have counseling sessions with students scheduled, so adhering to one's work schedule is of high priority, as it not only impacts the office, but also directly impacts services provided to students. Needs to adjust an established schedule are allowed, but advance notice is required whenever possible.

Training Philosophy

We feel that learning is developmental, and that trainees have different needs that change with time and experience. We wish to support interns in both their personal and professional growth. We wish trainees to continually seek awareness of self and use this information to define strengths and areas for growth. It is our hope that examination of personal values will help interns discover the impact of their beliefs on professional functioning. Increased personal awareness should assist trainees in understanding their role in interpersonal dynamics and their role in personal and professional interactions. We hope that in engaging their tenets interns will develop a desire to contribute to the profession and to society as a whole.

Diversity is an essential part of our Center's core values. Our Center is dedicated to fostering an appreciation of diversity. Interns are encouraged to explore their beliefs, attitudes and skills in order to assess and increase their multicultural competence. Since we put an emphasis on personal understanding as part of professional development, we acknowledge that trainees may be asked to consider issues that are somewhat personal in nature. We make every effort to provide a safe and nurturing environment that respects disclosure and protects interns' confidentiality.

The Counseling practicum and internship training program serves to meet or exceed the requirements for graduate placement as outlined in a trainee's graduate program. We strive to build strong relationships with graduate programs that seek to place interns in our setting. Any specific questions about exceptions or additional resources can be directed to the training director.

In support of our desire to foster diversity, our center is committed to developing diversity training for our staff. LSUS offers a variety of diversity trainings to the campus community in which trainees are encouraged to participate. We attempt to recruit diverse staff and trainees, and consistently work to ensure that our center is welcoming to students and staff from all backgrounds.

Program Values

  • Respect for differences and an appreciation of diversity
  • Training and supervision should be provided by highly qualified individuals who have a passion for and dedication to working with developing professionals
  • Ethical behavior is the core of professional development and is essential in any role model or agency wishing to provide training
  • Trainees should be encouraged to learn from supervisors, mentors and peers

Training Goals

  • Solidify clinical skills, prepare for a professional position, and develop a sensitivity to issues of differences among people
  • Integration of values, skills and experience
  • Learn professional behavior and understand the values of the profession
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Value ethical responsibility

Evaluation Procedures

All staff involved in training will give feedback designed to both support and challenge the trainee's development.

Overview

All staff involved in training will give feedback designed to both support and challenge the trainee's development. This will occur on an ongoing basis during the placement and in supervision meetings. More formal evaluations will be provided to the trainee and the trainee's home graduate department mid-semester and again at the end of each academic term. The training director will work with the trainees and supervisors to ensure these reviews are completed. Typically, an evaluation form required by the trainee's home graduate department will be completed.

The areas covered on the written evaluations forms for Masters Level Trainees are:

  • Initial Assessment Skills
  • Crisis Intervention Skills
  • Clinical Skills
  • Professional Standards and Behavior
  • Ethical Behavior and Practice
  • Case Conceptualization and Diagnosis
  • Treatment Planning and Intervention Skills
  • Use of Supervision and Incorporation of Feedback
  • Other Job-specific Skills

Intern Feedback for Supervisors and Training Staff

Feedback should be designed to both support and challenge the trainee's development. This will occur on an ongoing basis during the placement and in supervision meetings. Trainee's will also be asked to evaluate elements of our Training Program at the conclusion of their training. Trainees are asked to evaluate the training program in areas of:

  • Treated with Professionalism
  • Strength of Training
  • Quality of Supervision
  • Overall Learning
  • Overall Skills Training

Model of Training

Our training program is based on the values inherent in the Practitioner-Scholar model. As practitioners, we value the learning that comes through direct experience with others and thoughtful self-reflection. As scholars, we recognize the importance of theory, research, and critical thinking. Both practice and scholarship are essential to preparing new mental health professionals to work effectively with diverse individuals and groups in a rapidly-changing world. The training staff seeks to foster a lifelong commitment to the integration of self-reflective practice and scholarly examination.

Interns will be trained in virtually every area of center functioning in order to prepare them for practice as a generalist first, while supporting each trainee's distinct professional interests and skills. Training is viewed as a way to contribute to the profession, but also as a way to ensure that we stay current on practice issues. Trainees also infuse our center with the energy and enthusiasm that is both valued and supported.

A high value is placed on the integration of one's personal and professional identities. The training staff strives to tailor each interns' experience to their individual needs within the structured activities of our training program. Ongoing self-assessment of one's strengths and limitations is encouraged. When coupled with the supervisory feedback of multiple staff members who are committed to training new professionals, there is great opportunity for personal and professional development.

Fellows learn through direct experience under close supervision and are encouraged to also utilize their cohort group for learning and support. All staff involved in training will be expected to serve as a mentor and positive role model. Interactive, skill-building seminars are used as an additional source of learning. Trainees receive on-the-job training in the full range of university psychological services including individual and group psychotherapy, intake assessment, psychological assessment, urgent care, on-call, clinical supervision, multicultural competence, program development and outreach services. Opportunities to initiate or continue the development of specialties or areas of interest are also provided.

By the end of the training year, interns will have developed specific competence with:

  • ethical decision making
  • individual and cultural diversity
  • professional identity
  • intake interviewing
  • clinical assessment
  • individual counseling
  • group counseling
  • consultation
  • crisis intervention
  • case management
  • referral coordination
  • reflective practice
  • providing structured psychoeducational workshops
  • performing awareness and prevention outreach programming
  • facilitating social justice and inclusion training
  • counseling a diverse student population
  • supporting training of faculty and staff on student needs
  • promoting campus-wide wellness efforts
  • research and action planning on college student mental health best practices

 
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