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Practicum Placement and Supervision Information Guide Our Mission The University of Lethbridge offers the Master of Counselling as a distance education alternative for individuals wishing to prepare for roles as either professional counsellors or counselling psychologists. The fundamental principle on which this program is built is a desire to enhance the accessibility, flexibility, and responsiveness of graduate counsellor education programming. The various components of the program are offered through both on-site and distance modes of delivery. The program is designed to complement rather than compete with the current on-campus programs in Alberta. Our goal is to provide students who face various barriers to completing degrees through traditional programs with the opportunity to further their education. The program is also designed to foster the continuing professional learning of counsellors and psychologists through access to individual graduate courses. An open registration policy will encourage professionals to continually upgrade their knowledge and skills. Professionals may take additional courses as Open Studies students or complete a Post-Masters Certificate in one of the areas of specialization. It is our hope that this program will serve as a vehicle to unite faculty, professionals, and students, from across the province of Alberta and beyond, in a continuous lifelong learning process that will ultimately serve to enhance the professions of counselling and psychology. Our Goals The goals of the Master of Counselling Program are to: Enhance the accessibility, flexibility, and responsiveness of graduate counsellor education programming in the province; Provide students who face various barriers to completing degrees through traditional programs with the opportunity to further their education through a high quality, Alberta-based program; and Prepare students to function effectively as professional counsellors or counselling psychologists in a wide range of work environments. In keeping with the overall goals of the program, students in the program can expect to develop the following core competencies: An in-depth knowledge of the philosophical and theoretical foundations of counselling and counselling psychology; An understanding of ethical issues, an ability to think critically, and knowledge and skills for ethical decision-making; An ability to identify and address the barriers to change and growth encountered at individual, systemic, or sociopolitical levels by potential client populations; A range of practical counselling skills and strategies essential to work with a range of clientele, using varied intervention modalities; An ability to integrate theory and practice in the context of work-based learning opportunities; and Specific knowledge and skills related to the particular area of specialization selected. Masters of Counselling Program of Study The 36-credit (12 half courses) course-based Master of Counselling Program incorporates core and specialization courses to ensure that all students attain competency in the fundamentals of counselling as well as a particular area of specialization. The Master of Counselling Program is completed in two stages: Stage I focuses on the fundamentals of counselling theory and practice. The Stage I core courses prepare students for the focus on direct client work in the second stage of the program. Successful completion of all components identified in Stage I of the program is a prerequisite for students to proceed to Stage II. Five core courses are completed in this stage. Stage I Core: CAAP 6601: Theories of Counselling and its Application to Client Change CAAP 6603: Professional Ethics and Conduct CAAP 6605: Foundational Counselling and Conflict Resolution Skills CAAP 6607: Counselling Diverse Clients CAAP 6617: Research and Program Evaluation Skills Stage II allows students to develop an area of counselling specialization. There are four core courses and three option courses in Stage II. Stage II Core: CAAP 6613: Assessment: Processes and Application CAAP 6615: Counselling Strategies and Interventions CAAP 6611: General Counselling Practicum CAAP 6619: Specialized Practicum The General Counselling Practicum may be completed once the Stage I core and the Assessment and Interventions courses have been completed. Students then complete three courses in their area of specialization: Areas of Specialization: * Master of Counselling: Counselling Psychology * Master of Counselling: School Counselling * Master of Counselling: Career Counselling Stage II culminates in an advanced practicum. Students may initiate the advanced practicum upon completion of the Stage II core courses and the three option courses in their area of specialization. All students are required to complete a culminating experience in the Program. No course credits are awarded for the project course. Specializations Counselling Psychology Specialization The Counselling Psychology Specialization is designed for students who ultimately would like to license (charter) as Counselling Psychologists. Courses are designed to meet the graduate course requirements for chartering with the College of Alberta Psychologists. Students from other provinces are encouraged to check with their provincial regulatory body for course and Program requirements. Provisions will be made for students to obtain, as additional electives, other courses required to qualify to begin the licensing process. School Counselling Specialization The School Counselling Specialization is designed to serve the needs of educators in the K-12 system who are currently working or intending to work as guidance or school counsellors or those for whom a counselling role is incorporated into other educational roles, such as teacher advisor, special needs consultant, or student services coordinator. Courses are designed to provide students with a breadth of knowledge and skills for working with a range of age groups and populations. Students are encouraged to tailor their learning to the specific nature of their professional roles through work-based assignments. Career Counselling Specialization In the program, career development is viewed as the lifelong process of managing learning, work, and transitions in order to move toward a personally determined and evolving preferred future. The career counselling specialization provides students with the specialized knowledge and skills they need to offer quality career development services. Career counsellors help individuals, groups, or communities achieve greater self-awareness, develop a life and work direction, increase understanding of learning and work opportunities, and become self-directed in managing learning, work, and transitions. Counselling Practicum Placements Students in the Master of Counselling Program are required to complete two practica: a general counselling practicum and an advanced practicum. The programs start in January rather than in September of each year (for students entering prior to 2009). The earliest that students can take a practicum course is in January of their second year (two-year plan). However, most students take their first practicum in the fall of their second year (three-year program plan). Practicum Courses and Placements Counselling practicum placements take place while the students are registered and participating in one of the following courses. CAAP 6611: General Counselling Practicum The first practicum provides an opportunity for professional development and supervised practice in a general counselling context. Students will be involved in direct client work under the supervision of a qualified professional and will engage in one-on-one and group supervision processes. The practicum allows students to actively explore issues encountered in working with diverse client populations. CAAP 6619: Advanced Practicum The second practicum provides an opportunity for professional development and supervised practice in a specialized counselling context. Students will be involved in direct client work under the supervision of a qualified professional and will engage in one-on-one and group supervision processes. The practicum allows students to actively explore issues encountered in working with a specialized client population or area of practice. Students are not allowed to participate in a practicum placement outside of registration in one of these courses. Continuation in a practicum placement outside of the duration of a course can be organized between the student and the practicum setting, however the role of student will change, for example to “volunteer” or “intern” instead of “practicum student”. Organizations or agencies are responsible to arrange for insurance coverage when students continue in supervised practice outside of the practicum placement. Practicum Placements Practicum Settings Students are responsible for selecting and organizing their own practicum placements for both CAAP 6611 General Counselling Practicum and CAAP 6619 Specialized Practicum. Agencies that are appropriate as a practicum settings include: educational counseling settings (secondary and post-secondary), community counselling agencies, government departments providing counselling services, and private practice settings (where the student is not currently in private practice and is not in a business partnership with the proposed supervisor). The organization or agency should meet the following criteria: Provide counselling services to individuals and couples, families or groups. The provision of individual counselling is a primary service, however, services such as assessment, family and couples’ counselling, and group counselling are also appropriate. Have professional staff who have a Masters’ level of qualification in a counselling related area. Have office space available for a practicum student to utilize in seeing clients and for office work. Have a policy that supports the video taping of counselling for supervision purposes and will allow students to take 2 videotapes of client work offsite. Students are required to show videotape excerpts of their work at 2 weekend seminars. Students are required to gain informed consent from clients prior to videotaping. Consent forms for videotaping of adults and minors are available on our website. Practicum placements at student’s current place of employment Students may complete a practicum at their current place of employment, provided that suitable arrangements for supervision can be made and appropriate counselling opportunities exist. The following conditions apply when a student chooses a practicum at their current place of employment: The practicum supervisor cannot be the student's direct employment supervisor. Practicum activities primarily consist of counselling functions. Students do not engage in counselling clients with whom they work in other workplace roles. An example of dual roles that can be unethical is when a student is the counsellor for a client that the student currently teaches or coaches at school. Changing practicum settings during the term is not recommended, so students are encouraged to anticipate and prevent any potential problems that may arise while doing the practicum in their work settings. Videotaping of counselling is feasible at the practicum setting. Only one of the two 4-month practicum placements (CAAP 6611 and CAAP 6619) can take place at the student's place of employment. Practicum Supervisor Eligibility Practicum supervisors normally possess one or more of the following: Designation as a Registered Psychologist in Alberta (or other provincial equivalent); Canadian Counsellor Certification by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association; Completion of a graduate degree related to counselling, approved by the Practicum Coordinator. Because of the distance nature of the Master of Counselling Program, the practicum supervisors will normally meet the following criteria: Regular access to email and Internet; Access to a computer with certain hardware and software requirements (see our website for more details). Students may work with different people within a practicum setting. However, the primary responsibility for their development will rest with one supervisor. Under the direction of the supervisor, the student may observe or work with other members of the setting who do not possess the formal requirements of the primary supervisor. Collaboration in Learning The success of the practicum placement depends on the level of collaboration between student, practicum supervisor, and practicum instructor. Throughout the field placement, students will be engaged in a weekly online seminar, highlighting various aspects of applied practice. They will also attend weekend schools where an opportunity will be provided for direct faculty and peer supervision. Supervisors are invited to interact with instructors throughout the practicum placement. Each participant in the practicum experience has particular responsibilities. Please review the Responsibilities and Expectations of practicum participants on our website. Practicum Supervisor Responsibilities Determine the appropriateness of the student’s background and training for placement at the field site. Guide the student through site orientation, including familiarization with the rules, regulations, and procedures of the placement setting. Facilitate student progress through the stages of observation, co-facilitation (where appropriate), and independent intervention. Conduct regular (weekly or bi-weekly) meetings with the student for the purpose of monitoring student progress and providing specific feedback on counselling skills development. Monitor the student’s time and activity logs to ensure that she or he is meeting the time commitment. Participate in formative and summative assessment of the student’s counselling competence. Supervisors outside of the Practicum Setting Students can have a supervisor who does not work at the organization where the student has a practicum placement. This arrangement needs the approval of the student, supervisor, organization and the program. In this situation, the student and supervisor must clearly describe how and when supervision will be provided. Practicum Supervisor Honorarium Upon satisfactory completion of the practicum and submission of final grades by the course instructor, a $500.00 honorarium will be paid to either the supervisor or the agency. Practicum Hours Required Client Contact Hours and Supervision Hours The requirements regarding the number and timing of client contact hours during the practicum are as follows: Students are expected to spend approximately 10 hours per week over a 13-week period at their practicum site. A minimum of 5 hours per week - 65 hours in total, averaged over the semester - should be spent in direct client contact. Direct client contact includes the following: o Individual counselling; o Family or couples’ counselling; o Group counselling; o Active participation in reflection team interventions with the client; o Co-counselling with a counsellor or supervisor as long as the student is active in the session and is not just observing. Co-counselling is a more appropriate activity at the beginning of a placement before students see clients by themselves. A large proportion of the client contact hours should be individual counselling, for example 3 out of the 5 weekly hours should be individual counselling. Students will spend at least 2 hours per week with their supervisors in supervision, case consultation, and other activities. At least one of these hours should be direct, individual supervision of the student's work with clients. Students cannot acquire all the client and supervision hours before week 12, as they are required to have a minimum of 5 hours weekly client contact and 2 hours weekly supervision each week of the 13 weeks. Students are encouraged to book more than the minimum number of client hours each week. This will ensure that the total required number of client hours is achieved taking into consideration cancellations, student illness or other unexpected circumstances. During the practicum, if students are concerned that they will not achieve the required hours of client contact and supervision by the end of the term, they can discuss the option of extending the practicum placement with their supervisors and course instructors. The maximum extension is normally for 30 days duration. Procedures for Organizing a Practicum Placement Students in the Master of Counselling program are responsible for making their own arrangements for both practicum placements. Students usually start to organize a placement 6 – 8 months prior to the start of the practicum. Students are encouraged to meet with potential supervisors to discuss the possibility of a placement or supervision. Detailed guidelines for setting up a practicum are provided on our website. A brief summary of key steps is provided below. Approval of Supervisor and Practicum Setting Practicum supervisors require approval by the program before they can supervise a student. You may set up your approval at any time. If you choose, you can be listed on our website as an approved supervisor so that students can approach you when they are seeking to set up a practicum. Proposed supervisors are asked to complete the Approval of Practicum Supervisor Form and to submit a curriculum vitae or a resume for approval by emailing it to email@example.com. Each practicum setting must also be approved by the program. A representative from the organizational should complete the Approval of Practicum Organization Form. Note: Normally you will not submit your supervisor approval form until the organization has been approved by the Practicum Coordinator so please make sure the organizational representative submits the form as soon as possible. Approval of the Practicum Proposal Once both the supervisor and the practicum setting have been approved, students are required to complete and submit a Practicum Proposal that indicates the approved site and approved supervisor and start dates for the practicum. The deadlines for supervisor and organization approval and submission of the proposal are: For fall practicum placement May 1 For winter practicum placement October 1 Establishment of a Practicum Agreement Once the practicum proposal has been approved, the student will provide a representative of the organization with a copy of the Practicum Agreement to review. Students are not expected to be involved in the completion of the agreement. The Practicum Agreement is a contract between the organization and the Faculty of Education regarding the terms of the practicum placement. All educational programs and organizations that have work placements for students such as counselling practicum placements, nursing clinical placements, and social work practicum placements commonly utilize this type of agreement. Once this contract is signed once, it covers all practicum placements at the organization until the date that the contract expires. If an agreement is *not* already in effect between the program and the organization at which the student will be placed, then an agreement needs to completed following these steps: 1. Enter the dates for the term of the agreement (Section 3.1). Although the practicum placement is for 4 months, an organization can indicate that the term of the agreement covers a longer term such as 3 years. This allows other students to be placed at the organization for 3 years before the agreement expires and another agreement needs to be signed. 2. Enter the Organization name and contact information (Section 6.5). 3. Sign two copies of the agreement and submit them to the program office. Once 2 copies of the agreement are signed by both the organization and Faculty of Education, one copy will be returned to the organization and one will be retained by the program. 4. Finally, complete and submit Schedule A: Honorarium for each practicum student placement. If an agreement is already in effect between the Faculty of Education and the organization at which the student will be place, then only, Schedule A: Honorarium, should be completed for each practicum placement. Any questions or suggestions for revisions to this agreement should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact the program at: Master of Counselling Program Graduate Studies and Research in Education Faculty of Education University of Lethbridge 4401 University Drive Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4 Phone: (403) 329-2256 or 1-800-666-3503 Fax: (403) 317-5070 Learning Plan After the practicum proposal has been approved the student and practicum supervisor meet to review the expectations of the practicum and establish the goals and activities that will form the student’s practicum experience. They complete and sign the Learning Plan. Student goals are the outcomes that will be achieved by the end of the practicum placement and can include: Development of specified counselling skills, strategies or interventions; Personal learning objectives; Acquisition of specified knowledge areas (for example, increased knowledge of addictions- related assessment strategies); and Acquisition of knowledge or skills related to the supervisor's area of expertise. A sample Learning Plan is provided on our website as an example of outcomes (the number of outcomes are usually less than the number in the sample). The student is responsible for submitting it to the Master of Counselling Program Office. Since the instructor may suggest some revisions please do this at least 10 days before the deadline. The final deadline for approval of Learning Plan and receipt of the signed Practicum Agreement are: For fall practicum placement July 1 For winter practicum placement November 1 Both the supervisor and the student will be notified of whether the Learning Plan and the Practicum Agreement have been approved or require some revisions. Responsibilities of Supervisors During the Practicum Placement Communication with the program and Course Instructor Supervisors will receive the following at the beginning of the practicum: A letter of welcome and confirmation of the terms of the supervision agreement. A phone call or other contact from the Practicum Course Instructor to discuss any questions, clarify expectations, and provide information on how to contact the instructor. Supervisors are encouraged to contact the course instructor throughout the practicum placement regarding any questions or concerns. The course instructor may contact the supervisors at the end of the course to discuss the students’ progress. Record of Client Contact Hours Students are required to submit a weekly record of their client contact hours during the practicum (A Record of Client Contact Hours is provided on our website). To provide a quality learning experience, students are required to see a minimum of 5 clients and participate in 2 hours of supervision (1 hour of 1:1 supervision and 1 hour of group supervision) on a weekly basis throughout the practicum placement. The student cannot complete the required client contact hours and supervision hours early in the placement, then not see clients until the end of the placement. Evaluations Students require a written mid-term evaluation and an end of term evaluation (the evaluation form is provided on our website). Students are encouraged to complete a self-evaluation and to compare this self-evaluation with the evaluation completed by their supervisors. This allows students to assess their abilities to self-monitor their counselling practice and also provides a point for further discussion with their supervisors. The supervisor’s evaluation of the student is to be signed by both the student and the supervisor. The student is responsible for submitting each evaluation to the course instructor within 48 hours after it has been completed. Supervision Supervision is: an interactive process of information feedback and exchange requiring active involvement of both the student and supervisor a facilitative and action-oriented process involving shared observations, communication, and demonstrations of effective practice. entails clear and concrete communication of what the supervisor has observed and noted relating to student performance promotes student development of increased initiative, awareness, growth involves problem solving with the student includes supervisors as demonstrators or models of effective practice. Discuss and Clarify Expectations It is useful to spend time initially to discuss how and when the supervision will occur. This also allows the supervisor and student to develop some rapport and the relationship upon which effective supervision is based. Topics of discussion in the initial meetings should include: frequency and timing of supervisor sessions content of supervisory sessions (e.g., will they consist of case reviews via notes or tapes; didactic instruction in topic areas; informal personal exchanges, or some combination of approaches). discuss working styles negotiate student’s on-site duties and responsibilities discuss learning goals and learning opportunities Supervision of Counselling Practicum Students A positive and rewarding supervision experience is the result of the combined contributions of the student, the supervisor, the educational institution and the counselling organization. All of the involved parties are responsible for a positive supervision outcome. Some general guidelines for supervisors are suggested below: 1. Supervision starts with the formation of a trusting relationship between the student and the supervisor. The time taken to get to know each other at the beginning creates a sound foundation for learning and problem solving later in the relationship. 2. Both the student and the supervisor need to provide information regarding their expectations for the practicum placement. The student can provide information regarding the course requirements. The supervisor can ensure that the student receives an adequate orientation to the counselling organization, office procedures and expectations prior to the commencement of seeing clients. Both can talk about their preferred working styles and personal expectations. 3. Specific expectations regarding the timing, procedures and process of each supervision session should be discussed and agreed upon by both the supervisor and the student. For example, will the student present excerpts from videotapes of client work, provide case notes, discuss difficult clients, provide an overview of the caseload, etc.? 4. Supervisors need to make notes that summarize each supervision session. The notes should include the types of client issues the student has worked with, the student’s demonstrated skills and knowledge, and the feedback offered by the supervisor. These notes are very useful as a reference when completing the mid-term and final evaluations. 5. Although all students commence their placements with specific professional development goals, these need to be reviewed at the beginning of the practicum and regularly thereafter. The student’s goals for professional development provide a focus for supervision and evolve as they meet with clients and receive supervision feedback. 6. Master of Counselling students are encouraged to continually reflect upon their counselling practice so as to align it with a personally relevant theoretical approach to counselling. Supervisors are encouraged to support the supervisee as they integrate their counselling with theory. 7. Supervisors are encouraged to consider the stage of professional development at which the supervisee is performing. Some students have little experience at the beginning of a practicum placement and may benefit from co-counselling or working with less difficult client issues until their comfort level increases. 8. Students often model their practice after that of their supervisor. Consequently, supervisors need to be conscious of providing a positive model of a professional counsellor. 9. Supervisors will usually find it helpful to regularly ask the supervisee about how the process of supervision is going. This allows both the supervisor and the supervisee to raise any concerns that can be solved before they become problems, as well as celebrate the successes. 10. It is important that students are not surprised by any feedback from the supervisor during the mid-term and final evaluations. These evaluations should summarize the work and feedback students have received and discussed during supervision sessions. This practice contributes to the continuation of an open and trusting supervisory relationship. Solving Problems During the Practicum Placement Although it is rare, some problems can emerge that are difficult to solve. If any concerns are identified by the student, supervisor, or organization during the practicum placement, it is important to identify and work out the concerns as early as possible. 1. The first course of action is for the person who has a concern to speak about this concern with the appropriate party. For example, if the supervisor thinks there is a problem with the student, the supervisor should first talk to the supervisee about this problem and try to solve it together. Concerns identified by another member of the counselling organization should be brought to the supervisor’s attention who can decide whether to include this person in a discussion of the problem with the student or whether to talk with the student alone. 2. If various attempts at finding a solution have proven unsuccessful, either the student or the supervisor should approach the Course Instructor for assistance. 3. If there is still dissatisfaction with the practicum on the part of the student, the supervisor, or the agency, an overall review of the placement will be conducted by the Practicum Coordinator. In consultation with the student, the supervisor, and the course instructor, the Practicum coordinator will recommend one of the following options: a solution is found and the student continues with the present placement; an alternative placement is found for the student; or the student withdraws from the course. Supervision is a rewarding activity that counselling professionals choose to participate in for a number of reasons. Often, supervision provides a means to give back to the counselling profession and to the educational programs from which counsellors graduate. Although supervision provides students with the opportunity to develop and practice skills while expanding their knowledge, it is also important as an experience by which students develop a professional counselling identity. Supervision is a process in which both the student and the supervisor learn from each other, providing supervisors with information regarding up to date counselling related information. Supervision is also often the beginning of lifelong collegial relationships that expand one’s professional network. Being an excellent counsellor does not automatically mean that an individual is an excellent supervisor. A few references are provided below as a starting point for those who are interested in learning more about counselling supervision. References: Delworth, U., Vespia, K., & Stone, C. (1999). Counselor supervision: A model for on-site supervisors. Counseling and Human Development, 32, 1-12. Goodyear, R. & Bernard, J. (1998). Clinical supervision: Lessons from the literature. Counselor Education & Supervision, 38(1), 6-23. Stoltenberg, C. D., McNeill, B. W., & Delworth, U. (1998). IDM Supervision: An Integrated Developmental Model for Supervising counselors and therapists. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.
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