Practicums and internships use a group supervision format, combining subject-matter mastery, theory, and practice in a supportive interpersonal environment.
Starting in their second year, graduate students can hone counseling skills and evaluate health care systems as part of a practicum team during placements and internships in community health centers, schools, hospitals, or treatment programs. Jamie Aronson, director of Practicum Experience, works with students to discern their interests and determine the best opportunities to suit their experiences, skills, and goals. Throughout all of our placements, we emphasize the importance of culture and context, encouraging students to acquire a community-oriented understanding of the settings in which they serve.
Practicum and Internship placements are major components of each student's experience in the School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling master's program. Working as a member of a practicum team in a community mental health agency or a guidance team in a school setting, while engaged in academic studies and dialogue with professors and fellow students, provides a rich context for developing counseling skills and critically evaluating community and school systems of support and care. Internships for mental health counselors and practicums for school counselors occur during the second year of the program; both are supervised. These seminars use a group supervision format designed to facilitate the integration of subject-matter knowledge, theory, and practice in a supportive interpersonal environment.
Dr. Jamie Aronson, the Director of the Practicum Experience, engages with students in the placement process by learning about how their prior school or work experiences may be meaningful and relevant to their developing interests. Every effort is made to match students to practicum and internship opportunities that are consistent with their goals and level of experience.
Throughout doctoral training, students have an exciting assortment of opportunities for practice in the field of Counseling Psychology. Incoming students participate in the First Year Experience (FYE), which provides training in an array of non-traditional practice roles. Students learn to integrate a social justice approach to intervention at individual, community, and policy levels. Second and third year students engage in Advanced Practicum, which entails working 2-3 days per week in a field site, under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, as well as attending a doctoral practicum seminar on campus. Some students even choose to continue their practicum training into their 4th year with increasing levels of responsibility. In addition to training in psychotherapy, students gain supervised experience in assessment in at least one practicum. Science and research are integrated in the practice of therapy via theory-driven and evidence-based case conceptualizations.
We are fortunate that our students have access to a wide variety of high quality practicum training sites in universities, schools, hospitals, and outpatient community mental health settings. Being situated in the Boston area, we have been developed excellent relationships with a number of these sites that frequently select our students for training. We also take pride in the fact that our doctoral students are considered to be highly sought after candidates for practicum training sites. In fact, our students are accepted to sites that are considered to be among the most competitive in the nation for practicum and internship training.
“Practicum and internship placements are major components of each student’s experience in the Mental Health and School Counseling master’s programs. Working as a counselor-intern on a clinical team in a community-based, mental health agency or school-based guidance team provides the richest possible context for developing counseling skills. When paired with rigorous academic study and discourse with professors and peers, students develop the analytical skills to critically evaluate community and school counseling practice in sociocultural context.”