2011-2012 Walden University Student Handbook (June 2012) 
    
    May 21, 2019  
2011-2012 Walden University Student Handbook (June 2012) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Field Experience in Mental Health Counseling


 Return to: Field Experiences 

The M.S. in Mental Health Counseling Field Experience provides a supervised clinical experience with emphasis on the knowledge and practice of counseling skills, theories, competencies, and best practices. The M.S. in Mental Health Counseling field experience provides students with experiential learning opportunities for the preparation of entering into the mental health counseling profession.

Mental Health Counseling Practicum

The practicum is the first experiential training component of field experience. Practicum is defined as “a distinctly defined, supervised clinical experience in which the student develops basic counseling skills and integrates professional knowledge” (CACREP, 2009). It comprises 100 hours of clinical field experience: 30 hours of individual counseling, 10 of group counseling, and 60 of counseling-related activities.

Prerequisites

Students must successfully complete all of their core coursework and residencies I and II (everything except the practicum and internship, and thesis or capstone) before beginning the practicum field experience.

Arranging for the Practicum

Students completing a practicum will work with the field experience coordinator to secure a supervised practice in an appropriate mental-health-related setting. See the Submit a Completed Practicum Application section for details on preparing the necessary documents and forms. Each student is responsible for collaborating with the field experience coordinator to ensure the site and supervisor meet appropriate requirements. The field experience coordinator must approve the site and the site supervisor before the student can begin the practicum. Students must ensure their field experiences meet their specific state board standards and requirements as well as those of the program.

  1. Review the Field Experience Manual
    The Field Experience Manual provides M.S. in Mental Health Counseling students with the information they need to be successful in their clinical field experiences. The manual addresses topics such as the application process, malpractice insurance, completion and termination of practicum, procedures and policies (e.g., policy for resolving conflicts at the field experience site), extension of practicum, and evaluation forms. Students should thoroughly review the manual before starting the field experience process.
     
  2. Select a Practicum Site and Supervisor
    Students should collaborate with the field experience coordinator to begin the site selection process early in their enrollment at Walden. Students are encouraged to discuss existing field experience site relationships with the field coordinator and consider the type of training sites available in their community. Practicum sites may include, but are not limited to, community mental health agencies, private practice, hospitals (inpatient and outpatient services), university counseling centers, social service agencies, and employee assistance programs. Students will receive instruction on selecting a practicum site during their residencies.

    When selecting a practicum site, it is important for students to schedule a face-to-face appointment or an interview with a potential site supervisor to discuss the type of clinical experience possible (e.g., individual and group counseling, supervision). Students must ensure the site supervisor has the appropriate supervising credentials according to their state counseling board and the program requirements. The M.S. in Mental Health Counseling program encourages students to be supervised by a licensed professional counselor for their practicum field experience.
     
  3. Submit a Completed Practicum Application
    Practicum applications are due 12 weeks prior to the term in which the practicum is to begin.

Practicum application materials are reviewed by the field experience coordinator for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences for completeness, then forwarded to the field experience coordinator for the M.S. in Mental Health Counseling program for approval. Students are notified of the approval decision no later than one month prior to the intended practicum start date.

Application deadlines are as follows:

  Application Due   To Begin the Practicum
June 1  Fall term 
September 1   Winter term 
December 1   Spring term 
March 1   Summer term 


The practicum application includes the following documents:

  • Practicum Registration Intent form
  • Practicum Application form (includes practicum at place of employment, if applicable)
  • Counseling Training and Supervision Memorandum of Understanding
  • Copy of student malpractice insurance certificate
  • Agency Description form
  • Onsite supervisor’s résumé or CV
  • Student’s résumé or CV 
  • Practicum Learning Agreement
  1. Register for COUN 6671 Practicum

To complete the practicum experience, students must successfully complete the practicum application and receive approval from the field experience coordinator. Upon approval of the application, students will be regeistered for COUN 6671 Practicum for one term (unless an extension is needed to fulfill the practicum hourly requirement). Registration for this course is conducted by the field education coordinator of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and is limited to students who both meet the prerequisites and have an approved practicum application on file. Approval from the field experience coordinator is required for initial registration.

Students are responsible for understanding the requirements of their state and should consult the rules and regulations of the licensing of professional counselors from the appropriate state licensing board.

Conflict Resolution at the Practicum Site

It is essential for students to keep their practicum instructor informed of any problems encountered at the practicum site. If a problem is detected, students should communicate that information immediately. Practicum instructors will discuss issues that need to be addressed with the site supervisor and the field experience coordinator. The procedure for addressing conflict at a site is described in detail in the Field Experience Manual.

Mental Health Counseling Internship

The internship field experience is completed after the student has fulfilled the practicum experience. According to the CACREP standards (2009), internship is “a distinctly defined, post-practicum, supervised ‘capstone’ clinical experience in which the student refines and enhances basic counseling or student development knowledge and skills, and integrates and authenticates professional knowledge and skills appropriate to his or her program and initial postgraduate professional placement.”  

Prerequisites

Students who have successfully fulfilled their practicum requirements are able to apply for the internship field experience. Successfully completing the practicum field experience encompasses completing the hourly requirement, successfully completing COUN 6671 Practicum, and submitting all practicum field experience forms (e.g., the practicum hourly log and site supervisor evaluation). Students should refer to the Field Experience Manual and COUN 6671 course syllabus for more detail.

Arranging for the Internship

Students completing an internship will work with the field experience coordinator to secure a supervised internship in an appropriate mental-health-related setting. See the Submit a Completed Internship Application section for details on preparing the necessary documents and forms. Students are responsible for collaborating with the field experience coordinator to ensure the site and supervisor meet appropriate requirements. The field experience coordinator must approve the internship site as well as the site supervisor before the student can begin the internship.

  1. Review the Field Experience Manual
    The Field Experience Manual provides M.S. in Mental Health Counseling students with the information they need to be successful in their clinical field experiences. The manual addresses topics such as the application process, criminal background checks, malpractice insurance, completion and termination of internship, procedures and policies (e.g., policy for resolving conflicts at the field experience site), extension of internship, and evaluation forms. Students should thoroughly review the manual before starting the internship process.
     
  2. Select an Internship Site and Supervisor
    Students are encouraged to attempt to secure an internship site simultaneously while finding a practicum site. Students are allowed to complete their practicum and internship field experiences at the same site and/or with the same organization. Internship sites may include, but are not limited to, community mental health agencies, private practice, hospitals (inpatient and outpatient services), university/college counseling centers, social service agencies, and employee assistance programs. Students will receive instruction on selecting an internship site during their residencies.

    When selecting an internship site, it is important for students to schedule a face-to-face appointment or an interview with a potential site supervisor to discuss the type of clinical experience possible (e.g., individual counseling, group counseling, supervision). Students must ensure the site supervisor has the appropriate supervising credentials according to their state counseling board and the program requirements. The M.S. in Mental Health Counseling program encourages students to be supervised by a licensed professional counselor for their internship field experience.

    Students who complete their practicum and internship field experiences at the same site and/or with the same organization are required to have a different site supervisor for each clinical experience (i.e., the site supervisor for the practicum must be different than the site supervisor for the internship). Both site supervisors must be approved by the field experience coordinator.
     
  3. Submit a Completed Internship Application
    Internship applications are due 12 weeks prior to the term in which the internship is to begin.

Internship application materials are reviewed by the field education coordinator for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences for completeness, then forwarded to the field experience coordinator for the M.S. in Mental Health Counseling program for approval. Students are notified of the approval decision no later than one month prior to the intended internship start date.

Application deadlines are as follows:

Application Due To Begin the Internship
 June 1  Fall term
 September 1  Winter term
December 1 Spring term 
March 1 Summer term 

The internship application includes the following documents:

  • Internship Application form (includes practicum at place of employment, if applicable)
  • Counseling Training and Supervision Memorandum of Understanding
  • Copy of student malpractice insurance certificate
  • Agency Description form
  • Onsite supervisor’s résumé or CV
  • Student’s résumé or CV
  • Internship Learning Agreement

An internship application must be completed even if the student plans to complete the practicum and internship at the same site. 

  1. Register for COUN 6682 Internship
    To complete the internship experience, students must have the approval of the field experience coordinator and be registered for COUN 6682 Internship for two terms (unless an extension is needed to fulfill the internship hourly requirement). Registration for this course is limited to students who both meet the prerequisites and have an approved internship application on file. Approval from the field experience coordinator is required for initial registration.

    Registration for the course is conducted by the field education coordinator of the College of Social and Behavioral Services and is limited to students who meet the prerequisites.  Students are responsible for understanding the requirements of their state and should consult the rules and regulations of the licensing of professional counselors from the appropriate state licensing board.

Conflict Resolution at the Internship Site

It is essential for students to keep their internship instructor informed of any problems encountered at the internship site. If a problem is detected, students should communicate that information immediately. Internship instructors will discuss issues that need to be addressed with the site supervisor and the field experience coordinator. The procedure for addressing conflict at a site is described in detail in the Field Experience Manual.