Professional Training at UCC
Our educational approach at the University Counseling Center (UCC) focuses, to varying degrees, on the following activities.
An intake interview is a client’s first session at the UCC. The purpose is twofold:
- To allow the intake counselor to gather additional information about the client and his or her concerns.
- For the client to learn more about options available to address his or her concerns.
Together the client and intake counselor determine a course of action, which may include counseling/therapy at the UCC or referral to another more appropriate agency. The trainee may carry one couple on his or her case load (provided they have completed appropriate course work) and the remainder of the caseload will consist of individual clients, walk ins, and co-facilitating counseling groups.
The group training experience is developmental in nature. This means that fall semester practicum trainees will take on the role of an observer in an counseling group and by spring semester the trainee will actively co-facilitate a process group. They also have the option to develop a special topic group during the fall and spring semesters. Planning and preparation for the group will be done in the last half of the fall semester in collaboration with a UCC staff member. Topics for groups must be chosen from those approved by the UCC Training Coordinator. Group counseling hours will be included in the practicum trainee’s weekly time allocation for counseling sessions.
During regular business hours, the UCC designates clinical staff as walk-in counselors to provide services for clients who display an emergent mental health condition, students in the midst of a personal crisis, or those who state they have an immediate need to consult with a counselor. Other duties of the walk-in counselor are to respond to inquiries by staff about the UCC services or serve as a consultant for students who may seek advice about helping friends with personal problems. On-call hours are scheduled from 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily. Based on their schedules, trainees are assigned blocks of time each semester when they will assume the duties of the walk-in counselor. Because of the unpredictable nature of the walk-in counselor’s duties, this may provide trainees with time to prepare for counseling sessions, complete paperwork, or keep up with professional reading. Clients who decide to start ongoing counseling after completing an initial walk-in session are assigned to the walk-in counselor they were seen by giving trainees equal opportunity for diversity of clients and presenting concerns.
Case Conferences and seminars occur each week, typically on Friday mornings. Each case conference consists of staff counselors and trainees at various levels of experience. Case Conferences are offered to enhance the learning experience by allowing each person a greater chance to participate. Case conferences are designed to be informal and supportive in nature. Participation is expected. The case conference format provides both staff and student counselors the opportunity to seek the ideas and support of peers for their work. Seminars are typically facilitated by members of the UCC staff and professionals from the community. Topics typically offered include: initial evaluations, risk assessment, motivational interviewing, affirmative therapy with gay, lesbian, and bisexual clients, sculpting, couples counseling, etc.
Professional Development Group occurs each week, typically on Fridays mornings. Trainees participate in a one hour professional developmental group facilitated by the practicum coordinator. Active participation, which includes a willingness for learning, self-exploration, self-disclosure, and vulnerability, is encouraged and expected. Students are encouraged to openly explore developmental challenges and support one another. Topics that may be explored include: emotions and conflict in a professional setting, what does it mean to be a professional?, boundaries, multiple roles, what does change look like?, and self-expectations, etc.
The UCC training program recognizes the importance of supervision for the continued professional growth of student trainees. The practicum includes time for supervision preparation where supervisees are expected to review the videotapes of their clinical work and organize thoughts and questions to present in supervision. Utilizing cued tapes can help supervisees make use of supervision time effectively. Issues that might be discussed include observations about oneself as the counselor, observations about the client, demonstration of successful and challenging skills development, transference and counter transference issues, theoretical orientation and case conceptualization concerns, etc. At the beginning of each semester a Supervision Agreement will be developed and signed. One hour of individual supervision will be provided by a clinical supervisor. Supervisors at the UCC represent a variety of theoretical orientations. Trainees are encouraged to learn from these perspectives, yet develop their own orientation.
Outreach programs are an integral component of the UCC services. Outreach programs are both preventive and educative in nature. Topics may be selected based upon the requests received.
The UCC utilizes Medicat, which is an electronic medical record system. Trainees are given time weekly to maintain up-to-date records. Trainees are also given time for professional reading and training.
Application Process for Trainees
The UCC is accepting applications for Master's and Doctoral Practicum trainees for FY 2020-2021 training. Instructions, deadlines, and eligibility information can be found in the application.