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Therapy and Assessment Practica for Clinical Psychology Ph.D.

Faculty. A practicum supervision contact hour is defined as one hour of contact between a supervisor and his or her supervisees or class. The optimum range for enrollment in a therapy practicum is five to six students, although occasionally practicum run at seven students or four students.

Students.

The section uses a team approach to practicum training under PSY 7920 (Clinical Practicum). Students must complete a minimum of 4 semesters (12 credit hours) of PSY 7920. Students will be assigned to treatment teams for practicum training by the Director of Clinical Training and the Director of the Psychology Clinic in consultation with the PSY 7920 practicum supervisors. Although it may not be possible every semester, the section will attempt to have at least one child and one adult supervisor assigned to practicum each semester and, to the extent possible based on the kinds of client referrals to the training clinic, will try to accommodate the training needs of those pursuing elective training in clinical child.

All practicum assignments will be through the department’s Training Clinic. Three sections of PSY 7920 are typically scheduled each semester (if possible and dependent on the makeup of student cohorts) and clinical faculty will supervise the PSY 7920 practicum for one or two semesters each year. Faculty will supervise all cases, planning appropriate assessment and therapy experience for students based on client needs and clinical requirements. Students and supervisors should follow the Policies and Procedures manual for the Training Clinic when providing clinical services there.

When students apply for internship, they will need to provide potential internship sites with information about their practicum and traineeship experiences. Because different internship sites have different requirements for how they want the information reported to them, students will need to maintain fairly detailed records of their experience. The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC)-member internship programs use the AAPI form, which is linked to Time2Track for documenting clinical experiences. Students are required to maintain a record of their clinical hours by utilizing the Time2Track program available to students through the department. Since it is a web-based program, students will have access to it from any computer. Students are required to update their hours on a monthly basis and to turn in a hard copy of their accumulated hours to the Clinical Section to be reviewed at the time of yearly evaluations. The Clinic Director will review the Time2Track data on a regular basis.

The following are some general guidelines based on suggestions developed by the APPIC that students might find helpful.

  1. A practicum hour is a clock hour. This may actually be a 45 to 50-minute client hour, but is calculated by actual hours, not semester hours nor number of hours per week multiplied by number of weeks in the term.
  2. Direct services are actual clock hours in direct service to clients. Direct services include:
    1. direct intervention with clients, subdivided by format of intervention (e.g., individual, family, group) and setting location (e.g., department clinic, hospital, school);
    2. assessment activity subdivided into formal psychometric and interview/observation/diagnostic techniques; and
    3. other psychological experiences with students and/or organizations, which includes
      1. Supervised supervision that students render to less advanced students in the context of learning supervision skills.
      2. Program development/outreach programming
      3. Outcome assessment of projects or programs
      4. Systems intervention/organizational consultation/performance improvement
      5. Other activities (e.g., prevention)
  3. Time spent about the client, but not in the actual presence of the client, is recorded as Support Activities. Quantifiable activities documented under support activities include:
    1. Case conferences
    2. Case management; consultation with other professionals on specific cases
    3. Didactic training, seminars, grand rounds
    4. Progress notes, clinical writing, chart review
    5. Assessment scoring/interpretation and report writing; and
    6. videotape and audiotape review
  4. Practicum hours must be supervised. The supervision that students receive may be broken down into one-to-one and group supervision.
    1. One-to-one supervision hours are regularly scheduled, face-to-face individual supervision with the specific intent of dealing with psychological services that students render.
    2. The hours recorded in the group supervision category should be actual hours of group focus on specific cases. If a practicum course incorporates both didactic and experiential components in the course activity, the didactic portion should not be recorded as supervision activity. This may necessitate breaking the hours spent in a practicum course into supervision and didactic activities by actual clock hours. APPIC offers the following examples to clarify recording of such activity: “For example, if I present on the ‘Psychosocial Issues of HIV Infection’ using examples of cases, it is didactic activity. However, if I present a specific case involving HIV infection and generate a case conference/group supervision response, it would be recorded in supervision. Likewise, Grand Rounds that consists of in-service education on specific topics would not be considered supervision for the purposes of documenting practicum hours.”

  5. Students also need to calculate the number of clients assessed and treated across a range of client diversity characteristics, including race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disabilities, and gender. Note that these categories are not mutually exclusive; some individuals will be counted in more than one category. For families, couples or groups, students should count each individual member as a separate client.

Additional Pointers

  1. Assessment and intervention hours refer to direct contact with clients/patients. Practice administrations of assessments or interventions to colleagues, fellow students, or practice clients (i.e., pseudoclients) do not count toward contact hours.
  2. When calculating assessment experience, students will need to include number of assessments that they administered and scored as well as the number for which they wrote an integrated report.
  3. The calculation of assessment experience also includes the writing of integrated reports. In order to count as an integrated report, APPIC requires the following assessment information to be present in the report:  1) client history; 2) clinical interview; and 3) at least two tests from one or more of the following categories:  Personality assessments (objective, self-report, and/or projective), Intellectual assessments, Cognitive assessments, and/or Neuropsychological assessments. As noted by APPIC, this “information is synthesized into a comprehensive report providing an overall picture of the patient/client.” Triage/intake evaluations in the clinic can count as integrated assessment reports if both cognitive screening (such as WASI-II) and personality assessment/self report instruments are given in addition to the history and interview. For child psychoeducational evaluations, achievement tests are cognitive in nature and thus an evaluation involving parent and/or child interviews, rating scales, intelligence tests, and achievement tests are integrative in nature. To gain additional assessment and integrated report writing experience, students can complete Advanced Practicum (7925), which involves more complex psychological, psychoeducational, and neuropsychological assessments for adult cases presenting to the training clinic. Child practica typically involve both intake assessments and more comprehensive and integrated assessments and reports.

Practicum at Capacity

The section recognizes the importance of the training which occurs in our departmental clinic throughout students’ second and third years in the program. It is also recognized that at times it is a valuable training experience for some students to continue with their work in the clinic past their required four semesters of practicum. For example, client needs sometimes suggest the importance of continuity of care with the same student clinician or students may benefit from additional training experiences. The guidelines below are designed to summarize the parameters of practicum training in the PSWC past the students’ third year.

Students who have completed their required four semesters of practicum in the clinic may be permitted to enroll in an additional practicum if there is space available. Given the requirements for second and third year students, they are given first priority for case assignments and space in practica. Advanced students may have the opportunity to be placed for a 5th or 6th semester into a practicum as an advanced student member, but this opportunity is typically limited to those occasions where we need to fill a practicum to capacity and does not allow us to open up additional practicum sections beyond those we typically offer in any given semester.

  1. As soon as the DCT and Clinic Director become aware of an opening in a practicum section, they will notify eligible advanced students of this opportunity and provide a deadline for requesting placement in the practicum. 
  2. Students would request to be placed into the extra practicum section by notifying the DCT and Clinic Director, who determine practicum placements.
  3. Students should include in their request their rationale for wanting to have this placement and also have the approval of their mentor. Their rationale might include, but is not limited to, a need for additional hours, a desire to continue with long term clients, or to gain supervisory experience.
  4. If more students make a request than there are open spots available, the DCT, Clinic Director, and practicum supervisor(s) will determine which students can participate based on the rationale provided by the student(s) and on their progress in the program.  
  5. Students completing this more advanced placement would sign up for the 7920 course number for practicum section they are joining.
  6. Duties and responsibilities of that student could include direct service hours, supervision of less advanced students, co-leading group supervision, etc., at the discretion of the faculty supervisor.
  7. If the student is able to complete supervisory experiences as part of this practicum placement, they can request that this practical supervisory experience count towards the required practical supervisory experience within the Supervision course (similar to the students who provide supervision to less advanced students when they serve as GAs in the adult and child assessment courses).

English Fluency Prior to Beginning Practical Training

If a graduate student in the doctoral program was determined by Ohio University to be required to take the VET test prior to being allowed to teach at Ohio University, that student is also required to take the VET test prior to being in practicum their second year. This information will be shared with relevant students during the First Year Orientation. In addition, any graduate student for whom the Clinical Section has concerns regarding their English fluency after the first year of the program could be directed by the Clinical Section to take the VET test prior to being in practicum in the second year; these students will be informed about this requirement by their faculty mentor and/or their yearly evaluation letter.

Background Checks Prior to Beginning Practical Training

Every applicant who receives and accepts our offer of admission to the clinical program is subject to a background check intended to identify potential risks that might impede placement at health, education, and human service practicum sites and on internship.  A background check that reveals a felony conviction could result in immediate dismissal from the program; other infractions may prevent a student from being able to successfully complete selective training experiences and/or the program. This background check will be conducted during a student’s first year in the program and will be paid for by the Ohio University Psychology and Social Work Clinic. It is possible that certain practicum or internship training sites may require you to repeat a background check, and it will be the student’s responsibility to pay for any repeated background checks.