Advanced Practicum Training

Welcome

We appreciate your interest in the Advanced Practicum Training Program offered at the University Counseling Center (UCC), University of Texas at El Paso.  The UCC currently offers a graduate level advanced practicum program for masters and doctoral students in counseling, social work, and psychology (counseling or clinical).  As the University of Texas at El Paso is dedicated to providing students with a world class education to help them become competent and skilled professionals, the UCC also holds the same high standard in providing trainees with the necessary training and experience to help them develop the skills and professional identity requisite to become competent professionals and effective multicultural therapists.  The training program has been specifically designed to give the trainee a full range of experience found within a comprehensive university counseling center which includes individual, couples and group counseling; career counseling; triage, intake and crisis counseling;  case consultation and outreach.

Graduate students from clinical and counseling psychology programs who meet criteria of eligibility are welcome to apply for the program.  We currently have three available positions for the Advanced Practicum Program.  The program encourages a two semester commitment starting in August and ending in May.  Students who wish to stay on for the summer terms are welcome to do so.  We believe that with a two semester commitment, students have the opportunity to have a full counseling experience with their clients, from creating a psychotherapeutic alliance to termination.  Students looking for a single semester practicum experience are invited to apply; however, preference will be given to students willing to stay on for two semesters.  Students accepted to the program will be required to dedicate 16 hours per week to working at the counseling center.  The staff at the University Counseling Center is dedicated to providing a high standard of service to the student community of UTEP.  We also believe in providing the same high standard and quality of training to those students who desire to participate in the UCC’s Advanced Practicum Training Program.

If you have any questions regarding the Advanced Practicum Training Program, feel free to contact Dr. Brian Sneed.  E-mail: bjsneed@utep.edu or Phone (915) 747-5302.

The University

UTEP is located in El Paso, Texas, on the border between the United States and Mexico. UTEP students live and study in the world’s largest bi-national metropolitan area, pursuing cultural, social, and academic opportunities not available on most university campuses.

UTEP has been an important part of the El Paso community since it was founded as the Texas School of Mines and Metallurgy more than 90 years ago.

In 1914, the school opened with 27 students and a handful of faculty and staff. From this modest beginning, UTEP has grown into a dynamic urban university that today serves the needs of more than 20,000 students.

More than 75 percent of the student population is of Hispanic descent.  In recognition of UTEP’s success in creating educational opportunities for non-traditional students, the National Science Foundation designated UTEP as a Model Institution for Excellence, one of only six in the country.

Our achievements extend far beyond our traditional strengths in science and engineering. UTEP has received national acclaim for innovative programs in business, fine arts, education, the humanities, and health sciences.

The Carnegie Foundation ranks UTEP in the Doctoral/Research University-Intensive category, placing us among the top 7 percent of all colleges and universities in the United States. This classification reflects UTEP’s success in providing our students with opportunities to pursue advanced degrees in a broad range of fields. Today, we offer 14 doctoral degree programs, and two more — in nursing and pharmacy — through cooperative programs with UT Austin and the UT Health Science Center at Houston.

 The University Counseling Center

The University Counseling Center staff believes that good mental health is the cornerstone of personal, academic, and career success.  As such, the University Counseling Center’s mission is to support the students of the University of Texas at El Paso in their personal, academic, and career endeavors by providing developmental, remedial and preventative mental health mental health services to students.  The center’s staff also believes that a healthy environment facilitates mental health.  Therefore the University Counseling Center aims to support the learning environment of the University by providing outreach programming for students and consultative services regarding student concerns to faculty and staff.

The University counseling Center is dedicated to providing high quality mental health services that support the student’s ability to benefit from their experience at the University of Texas at El Paso.  To this end the Center provides career counseling; psycho-educational workshops; individual, group, and couples counseling; crisis intervention; and professional training experiences that are responsive to the individual, cultural, and demographic diversity of our students.

 The UCC Training program

As the University of Texas at El Paso is dedicated to providing students with a world class education to help them become competent and skilled professionals, The UCC also holds the same high standard in providing trainees with the necessary training and experience to help them develop the skills and professional identity requisite to become competent professionals and effective therapists.  The training program has been specifically designed to give the trainee a full range of experience found within a comprehensive university counseling center.

Mission

The mission of the University Counseling Center – Advanced Practicum Program is to provide students with the necessary training and experience to help prepare for internship, as well as help them develop the skills and professional identity requisite to become competent professionals and effective therapists.

Dedication to Diversity

The University of Texas at El Paso provides a unique and much desired experience that can be offered to potential trainees.   Because the majority of the student population is of Latino descent, the University counseling center is in a position to offer competent multicultural training in conjunction with specialized experience in working directly with a predominantly Latino student population.   As part of our dedication to proper multicultural counseling, we attempt to help trainees develop an understanding of their own personal diversity and how this may impact therapy when working with diverse populations.  We encourage trainees to develop an openness and “curiosity” toward learning about cultural differences and be able to comfortably address cultural issues (similarities and differences) with their clients.

 Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for selection, all potential trainees must have the following prior to starting the program:

1.   Currently enrolled in a Masters or Doctoral level counseling, social work, or psychology (clinical or counseling) program from a regionally accredited institution.

2. A theories or psychotherapy course which includes diagnosis and basic counseling micro-skills training (i.e. reflective listening, open ended questions, showing empathy, etc.)

3. Proof of liability/malpractice insurance which must be maintained during the duration of your training experience.

4. As this is an Advanced Practicum Training Program, It is preferred, but not required, that practicum students have at least one practicum experience prior to starting the program.

* It is our expectation that trainees come prepared with the requisite counseling skills commensurate with their current level of training within their program.

Program Structure

The Advanced Practicum Program was designed for both doctoral level and masters level students.  The program requires a 16 to 20 hour commitment per week.  The practicum is by semester but students are welcome to request working both semesters.  Preference is given to practicum students applying for two semesters.  Practicum students are not required to stay for the summer semester but are welcome to remain and see clients to increase their practicum hours.  Masters level practicum students are required to complete 50 client contact hours and doctoral level students are required to complete 60 contact hours.

Philosophy and Goals

Training Philosophy
Providing training opportunities to graduate students is an integral part of the mission of the University Counseling Center.  We believe in making a contribution to the profession of psychology through providing high quality training, supervision, and experience.  This training experience is designed to help prepare students to enter into their next phase of training and/or profession with the requisite abilities and professional identity necessary to be successful in the field of psychology or counseling.

The University Counseling Center utilizes the Scholar Practitioner model of training.  It is our belief that the understanding of the science of psychology is an important and necessary tool for the actual practice of counseling and therapy.  We attempt to help our trainees integrate the knowledge they have of the science of psychology with its actual best practice by providing trainees with quality supervision and programming through intensive training and clinical work.  This combination helps trainees develop both competent skills and a professional identity which prepares them to work independently as professional practitioners.

As part of the process of combining the science of psychology with the practice of therapy, trainees are given the opportunity to demonstrate this through specific case presentations throughout the year.  Trainees will be asked to present one case presentation per semester.  This case consultation is considered to be comprehensive which will include the following:  presenting concerns, relevant background information, and a multi-axial diagnosis with support.  Trainees will identify a theoretical approach and use it to explain present concerns and in developing a treatment plan.  Trainees will use relevant research and literature to generate and support their treatment plan.  Prior written consent from clients must be obtained.  Trainees will present this information to the UCC staff in order to receive feedback and suggestions.

Under close supervision trainees will be exposed to many aspects of a fully functional comprehensive university counseling center.  As their training progresses and skills improve, their responsibilities will increase commensurate to their individual abilities.  Trainees will certainly be challenged as they work toward developing knowledge and skill; however, this challenge will be tempered with the supportive supervision and training.  Trainees will be able to integrate the scientific knowledge gained from their graduate program with the actual practice of psychology gained from the UCC to develop the requisite professional identity and skills to one day become a contributing member of the psychological community.  Trainee well being and confidence are considered by the professional staff as an important factor to meeting the demands and challenges of personal and professional development.  To this end, trainees will be asked to assess their performance and needs at the beginning of the training program and throughout the academic year.  Supervisors will discuss with and evaluate the trainee’s performance twice a semester.  The evaluation process is designed to track development, to assess trainee well being, and to make adjustments to the individual’s training experience to comply with the goals set forth by the University Counseling Center.

Training Goals
Providing training opportunities to graduate students is an integral part of the mission of the University Counseling Center.  We believe in making a contribution to the profession of psychology through providing high quality training, supervision, and experience.  This training experience is designed to help prepare students to enter into their next phase of training and/or profession with the requisite abilities and professional identity necessary to be successful in the field of counseling, social work, or psychology.  To accomplish this mission, the University Counseling Center has developed a training program structured to help practicum student develop competency in for overarching domains.  We have developed 9 principle goals with their corresponding objectives:

UCC Domains, Goals, & Objectives

Domain 1 – Clinical Skills:  Goals within this domain focus on the development of clinical skills and knowledge requisite for independent practice as generalists in the field of psychology.

Goal 1:  Practicum Students will achieve competence in the area of Psychological Intervention.

Objectives related to this goal include the achievement of competence in the following:
•   Case conceptualization and treatment planning
•   Implementation of therapeutic interventions
•   Crisis Intervention
•   Therapeutic Skills

Goal 2:  Practicum Students will achieve competence in the area of Assessment and Diagnosis.

Objectives related to this goal include the achievement of competence in the following:
•   Diagnostic Skill
•   Utilizes historical, interview, and psychometric data to diagnose accurately
•   Uses the DSM IVTR effectively

Goal 3:  Practicum Students will achieve competence in the area of Consultation.

Objectives related to this goal include the achievement of competence in the following:
•   Team approach
•   Consultation skills

Domain 2 – Diversity:  Goals within this domain focus on the development of cultural competency through understanding cultural and individual diversity issues, as well as becoming a “diversity aware” practitioner.

Goal 4:  Practicum Students will achieve competence in the area of Understanding Cultural and Individual Diversity.

Objectives related to this goal include the achievement of competence in the following:
•   Cultural awareness
•   Effects of culture on clinical activities
•   Integration of Science and Practice

Goal 5:  Practicum Students will achieve competence in the area of Cultural Competency Skills.

Objectives related to this goal include the achievement of competence in the following:
•   Comfort with cultural diversity
•   Intervention Skills

Domain 3 – Science Practice Integration:  Goals within this domain focus on the integration of scientific knowledge, academic learning and training with the clinical practice of psychology.

Goal 6:  Practicum Students will achieve competence in the area of Science – Practice Integration.

Objectives related to this goal include the achievement of competence in the following:
•   Application of scientific knowledge to practice

 Domain 4 – Professional Identity:  Goals within this domain focus on growth as practitioners, development in the areas of professional identity, ethics, responsibility, and conduct which will contribute to the overall enhancement of the profession.

Goal 7:  Practicum Students will achieve competence in the area of Ethical Conduct.

Objectives related to this goal include the achievement of competence in the following:
•   Knowledge of ethical, legal, and professional standards
•   Follows ethical principles and guidelines

Goal 8:  Practicum Students will achieve competence in the area of Professionalism.

Objectives related to this goal include the achievement of competence in the following:
•   Professional awareness
•   Interpersonal relationships
•   Self awareness
•   Clinical documentation
•   Case Management

Goal 9:  Practicum Students will achieve competence in the area of Supervision.

Objectives related to this goal include the achievement of competence in the following:
•   Supervision process
•   Effective use of supervision

Training Experience

There are two practicum level training programs at the University Counseling Center:  A Masters level practicum, and a doctoral level practicum.  Each program consists of a number of required components and opportunities which should fulfill the requirements of most academic programs in counseling, social work, and psychology (counseling or clinical) .  A description of the programs is as follows:

Hours and Orientation

Orientation:  Trainees are to attend two half-day orientations designed to familiarize themselves with the center, procedures, and ethical guidelines of the University Counseling Center.

Work Hours:  Practicum students are expected to maintain a fixed 16 hour work week (minimum) per semester.  Trainees will be given the option to stay on during the summer terms if they choose.

Doctoral level practicum students will have the opportunity to add to their practicum experience through an assessment component.  Practicum students who opt for this component will be able to provide assessment for learning disabilities, ADHD, and personality assessment.  Trainees must have completed relevant coursework to be eligible for this component (i.e. intelligence testing, personality assessment, etc.).  If requirements are met, doctoral students must commit to a fixed 20 hour workweek and must attend the bi-monthly Assessment Seminar offered through the UCC’s internship program.

Clients and Services

Clients:  Trainees are expected to see approximately 5 to 9 clients per week, perform one or more intake interviews per week, and attend all required meetings.  Masters level practicum students are required to complete 50 direct client contact hours per semester.  Pre-doctoral level practicum trainees are required to complete 60 direct client contact hours per semester.

Clinical Services:  Trainees will have the opportunity to engage in individual, couples and group counseling (based upon availability), triage and intake interviewing.  Relevant coursework must be completed before engaging in these services.  All independent sessions will be videotaped with the written consent of clients.

Outreach:  Trainees will be expected to present at least two scheduled outreach presentations.  One presentation can be an already prepared presentation; the other must be one of their own designs and submitted to the University Counseling Center in a predetermined format.  Outreach hours where trainees work directly with the student population counts toward their 50 or 60 direct contact hours.

Supervision and Case Consultation

Individual Supervision:  Trainees will receive one to one-and-a-half hours of direct one-on-one supervision by either a doctoral intern or post doc under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.  The licensed psychologist will be clinically responsible for clients seen by the practicum trainee.  The practicum student’s case notes and official correspondence will be reviewed and signed off first by the intern or post doc then by the licensed supervisor.  All supervisee sessions with clients will be videotaped.  Prior authorization to videotape sessions must be obtained by clients prior to beginning therapy.  Supervisees are expected to come to supervision prepared with cued videos.

Group Supervision:  Trainees will receive one hour a week of group supervision by a licensed psychologist.  Supervisees are expected to come to supervision prepared with cued videos.

Case Consultation:  Trainees are expected to attend a weekly case consultation meeting and give one formal case presentation each semester.

Weekly Schedule Hours
Direct Client Hours 5-9
Triage/Crisis Intervention 1-3
Individual Supervision 1.5
Individual Supervision Prep .5
Case Consultation Meeting 1
Outreach 2
Administrative Work 2

Application Procedures and Deadlines

Application Procedures

Students who wish to apply for the Advanced Practicum Program must submit the following:

  1. A completed UCC Practicum Application Form Click to Download Form
  2. A letter of readiness from your department’s director or director of training.
  3. A cover letter submitted to Dr. Brian Sneed, Practicum Training Coordinator that includes the following:
    1. a. Interest in the program
    2. b. Goals and expectations as a trainee
    3. c. Therapeutic strengths and perceived areas of growth
    4. d. Clinical areas of interest
    5. e. (Optional) Any personal or additional information which you believe may be helpful
  4. Graduate transcript (a copy is acceptable)
  5. A comprehensive vitae (please include the following)
    1. If you have already had a practicum experience, include the following in your vitae:
      1. Practicum setting, total hours, client contact hours, supervisor, start and end dates.
    2. If this will be your first experience, include the following in your vitae:
      1. Relevant course work and experiences which have prepared you for practicum.
  6. A letter of recommendation by your previous practicum supervisor.  If this is your first practicum experience, submit a letter from a supervisor that can discuss your interpersonal skills or any skills related to your counseling abilities.  Have them identify your strengths and areas of growth.
  7. A second letter of recommendation.

* Once your application materials are submitted and are found eligible for selection for the UCC Advanced Practicum Program, you will be scheduled for an interview with members of the UCC staff.

Please mail all application materials to:

Brian Sneed, Ph.D.
Practicum Training Coordinator
University Counseling Center, UTEP
202 Union West
500 West University Avenue
El Paso, TX  79968-0623

* Applicants are not eligible for selection until all required application materials are received.

Application Deadline

All application materials must be received by the University Counseling Center no later than the following dates:

  • Fall semester (August to December):  No later than April 16.
  • Spring semester (January to May)  No later than October 15.

* Applicants applying in April for both the fall and spring semesters will receive preference over individuals seeking a single semester experience.