Practicum Training Program
About Azusa Pacific University
APU is a comprehensive Christian university of liberal arts and professional programs, with a diverse student body of more than 9,200 students. Ethnic minority students comprise approximately 36 percent of the student population. Student life services, including the University Counseling Center, are primarily oriented toward undergraduate residential students. However, the university also offers services to graduate, adult degree completion programs, satellite campuses, and offsite programs.
Further information about the university may be found at www.apu.edu/about/.
About the University Counseling Center
The mission of the University Counseling Center is to facilitate the emotional, psychological, social, academic, and spiritual wellness of the Azusa Pacific University student community through high-quality, time-limited counseling and outreach services provided by professionally trained Christian counselors.
UCC services are available to APU students at no cost. Psychotherapy is primarily time-limited, with most students averaging 4–6 sessions per academic year. Occasional exceptions are made to extend treatment to those who have significant need and limited resources.
Training opportunities for doctoral students have been offered at the Azusa Pacific University Counseling Center since 1999, with the Practicum Training Program being formalized in 2001. Our staff is a culturally and theoretically diverse group of professionals committed to providing excellent training and supervision.
Practicum training at the University Counseling Center focuses on gaining experience in providing time-limited therapy to a diverse student population who present a wide range of developmental issues and psychological disorders.
Our training program emphasizes three areas:
- Psychotherapy Experience
- Supervision and Training
- Supplementary Professional Experience
As an advanced practicum site, we strive to equip our trainees to achieve five primary areas of competency that will prepare them for internship and beyond.
I. Professional Activity
Trainees will provide high-quality clinical services to clients and deliver effective outreach and consultation.
- Proficient in conducting time-limited psychotherapy with individuals, couples, and groups
- Demonstrates awareness of legal/ethical issues and applies an ethical decision-making model in working with clients
- Responds appropriately to crisis/walk-in situations
- Able to effectively construct and deliver an outreach presentation on campus
- Evaluates needs and provides effective consultation as needed
II. Clinical Skills
Trainees will demonstrate the ability to formulate and articulate a theoretically based treatment plan and implement it with clients in a time-limited framework.
- Conceptualizes client’s central issue(s) and able to assess need for appropriate referral(s)
- Able to establish rapport and maintain boundaries with clients
- Awareness of transference/counter-transference issues and utilizes therapeutically in session
- Flexibility in use of intervention techniques
- Addresses termination issues effectively throughout treatment
Trainees will demonstrate an understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the supervision process.
- Keeps appointments for supervision and completes paperwork promptly
- Relates nondefensively, is open to learning, and demonstrates insight into self
- Takes initiative, prepares for supervision, and implements ideas generated from meetings
- Able to function independently and consults with supervisor/UCC staff as needed
- Actively participates in seminars and group supervision
IV. Diversity Issues
Trainees will demonstrate a greater awareness and sensitivity in working with diverse clients and an understanding of how their own values impact their clinical work. “Culture” is defined broadly and includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.
- Awareness of own cultural values and biases
- Awareness of client’s worldview and understanding of how cultural factors influence conceptualization and treatment
- Understanding how social, economic, and political factors may influence diverse clients, and understanding the role of privilege, prejudice, and discrimination
- Ability to discuss cultural differences with client and evaluate their impact on the therapeutic relationship
- Knowledge and practice of religious/spiritual integration with clients
- Ability to relate to diverse clients and utilize culturally appropriate intervention strategies
Trainees will increase the development of their emerging professional identity as a future psychologist and actively explore and utilize resources for professional growth.
- Dresses and behaves in a professional manner
- Demonstrates initiative and flexibility to meet the needs of clients and the UCC
- Demonstrates self-care and accurate self-assessment
- Utilizes effective written and oral communication skills
- Forms positive relationships with trainees and UCC staff
- Utilizes conflict-management and problem-solving skills appropriately
Adapted from Assessment of Competency Benchmarks, APA Board of Educational Affairs (2007) and Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development: Multicultural Counseling Competencies
Practicum students receive experience and training in the provision of psychotherapy, which comprises approximately 50 percent of their time at the UCC. In addition, students have the opportunity to gain clinical experience in a range of activities (based on client availability and need) including:
- Intake Assessment: Weekly intake interviews and written reports with new clients
- Individual Psychotherapy: Mostly time-limited therapy, with a few long-term cases
- Couples Counseling: Pre-marital and traditional counseling/assessment
- Group Therapy: Co-facilitation of process-oriented and skills-based groups
- Crisis Management: Crisis intervention and consultation (in person and via phone) for APU students, faculty/staff, and parents during assigned walk-in hours
Supervision and Training
Quality supervision is of the utmost priority at the UCC. The UCC utilizes a supervisory team model, in which each trainee has a primary supervisor, and also receives secondary supervision from group co-leaders and other staff. Supervisory issues are handled as a staff team.
- Individual Supervision: Practicum students receive 1 to 1.5 hours of individual supervision each week from a licensed psychologist or post-doctoral counselor. Other staff are available for additional consultation as needed. Practicum students are required to audiotape or videotape all clinical work, and tapes are reviewed in supervision.
- Group Supervision and Didactic Training: Practicum students are required to attend a weekly seminar, which provides 1.5 hours of group supervision and/or didactic training each week. Seminars include topical material on a range of clinical issues, diversity training, and case vignettes. Seminars are provided by various staff members and outside professionals, offering exposure to a range of theoretical orientations and expertise.
- Case Presentations: Each practicum student is required to do two formal case presentaions over the training year in the context of practicum seminars. Informal case presentations are also expected on a regular basis during group supervision.
- Evaluation: Ongoing feedback and communication is highly valued at the UCC. Goals are developed with each practicum student at the beginning of the contract year, and progress reports are discussed at mid-semester. Practicum students are formally evaluated at the end of each semester, and given the opportunity to provide feedback to their supervisor and the training director throughout the year.
Supplementary Professional Experience
- Outreach: Practicum students are expected to gain experience in providing creative outreach efforts to the university community. Opportunities may arise to provide psychoeducational presentations in undergraduate and graduate classes. Practicum students can also get involved alongside UCC staff during campus events such as Residence Life's Behind Closed Doors, Healthy Living Week, and the Clothesline Project.
- Consultation: Practicum students serve as liaisons to Residence Life staff and will meet with a residence director to provide consultation and support on a regular basis. Practicum students may also serve as consultants to students, faculty, and staff to answer questions regarding UCC services and to facilitate referrals.
- Psychological Assessment: Practicum students may supplement their normal UCC clinical hours with the opportunity to conduct occasional psychological testing and write-up of an assessment battery, based on client need.
Other supplemental activities may include program development, administrative support, or assistance with staff projects.