Practicum and Internship: What Site Supervisors Need to Know


mentoring.jpg Components of this Training Module (Click on topic to jump to section)

1. Comprehensive Orientation Video and College Contacts

2. Placement Procedures

3. Starting the Experience

4. Philosophy and Objectives

5. Best Practices and Frequently Asked Questions

6. Additional Reading on Supervising Counselors in Training


This Video Covers Canisius Expectations and Procedures - It Also Has Reflections From Students and Tips from Site Supervisors ... (about 16 minutes)

Click Here or on Video


Important Contacts at the College

Ms. Tara Pace- Clinical Site Coordinator

Contact for all placement questions until the start of the semester. After the semester starts the professor who teaches the seminar should be contacted.

Phone: 507-6056 e-mail:

 Dr. E. Christine Moll- Department Chair and Director of Site Placements

Phone: 888-3287 e-mail:


Professors Who May Be Teaching Practicum and Internship Courses:

Determine from graduate student at the start of the semester.

Dr. Holly Fetter- Full Time Faculty

Phone: 888-3187 e-mail:

Dr. David Farrugia- Full Time Faculty

Phone: 888-2393 e-mail:

Dr. Ann Marie Lenhardt- Full Time Faculty

Phone: 888-2398 e-mail:

Dr. Michael Rutter- Full Time Faculty

Phone: 888-3721 e-mail:

Fr. Joseph Burke- Adjunct Professor

Phone: 888-2387 e-mail:

Mr. Michael Cammarata- Adjunct Professor

Phone: 888-2625 e-mail:

Ms. MJ Szydlowski- Adjunct Professor

Phone: 833-7142


Placement Procedures

Conditions for Placement


Conditions.jpg 1. Must be in at least the third semester of study and a student in good standing

2. In addition to other courses, must have completed the pre-practicum before a practicum

3. Must have completed the practicum before an internship

4. Other courses completed will vary by student

If you wish to download our full curriculum of study - CLICK HERE


Process for Placement:


PlacementProcess.jpg 1. Application is done in the semester before the placement begins

2. Students can request possible locations or age groups

3. We check that the student has met our conditions for placement

4. Our placement coordinator contacts you and informs the student

5. The student then contacts you and arranges start dates

6. Questions before the semester starts go through the placement coordinator (see Contact List on Page 1)

7. At the start of the semester you receive the applicable practicum or internship cooperating counselor's handbook from the student

8. After the start of the semester, communication is through the professor teaching the seminar

Note: NYS Education Department is specifically prohibited from reviewing fingerprints for student teachers/interns


At the Start of the Placement

beginning.jpg THINGS TO KNOW:

1. Start dates vary by semester -- it is OK for students to begin a week or so before the College semester starts conversely, it is OK for students to start a week or so after the semester starts

2. By the end of the semester the student is required to have the required number of "direct" and "indirect" service hours

3. Students come to you with varying levels of experience, maturity, work ethic, social and professional skills therefore each supervision experience is unique Click Here for a Developmental Model for Counselors

4. Assess your intern and develop your approach to helping them grow

5. Begin to map-out the required and unique activities for the semester -- Pay special attention to the supervisory process - If recorded sessions cannot be taken from a Practicum site for review by the College supervisor, the Guide for Live Supervision (CLICK HERE FOR SUPERVISION GUIDE) should be used to facilitate three phone or e-mail consultations with the College professor.

Cooperating Counselor's Handbooks for Download

You will receive one of these from your Graduate Student...each contains required and suggested activities - expectations for the student, the site and the College - agreement forms - student evaluations - and other useful resources as well. If you like, you can download a copy of the appropriate handbook below:


School Clinical Practiucm

click here

Mental Health Clinical Practicum

click here

School Internship

click here

Mental Health Counseling Internship

click here


Philosophy and Objectives for Practicum and Internships



Expectations for the counseling experiences gained from field placements are based on the standards of the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Services (CACREP). This means that students in practicum are expected to have significant supervision of their direct work with clients. Direct counseling work is essential in the practicum. In addition to the supervision of the cooperating counselor, students have a weekly group seminar and are individually supervised by a College supervisor. While students are expected to begin to explore the range of professional counseling activities in the practicum, the primary focus is on developing solid individual and group counseling skills, hence the intensive supervision.

During the internship experience students are expected to perform the full range of counseling activities and service. They are required to have a total of 600 hours of direct and indirect service (240 hours must be direct service) as compared to the practicum where 100 hours of direct and indirect service are required (40 hours must be direct service). In addition to supervision by the cooperating counselor, students have a weekly seminar. Individual supervision is only done by the cooperating counselor, although the professor leading the seminar provides group supervision and is available to assist students individually.


What to Expect During the Semester




When graduate students begin working with you, expect to provide them with an appropriate orientation to your site. Most graduate students are unsure of your expectations for them, therefore during the first several weeks of the semester provide them with clear direction and structure. As the semester progresses and routines develop, support the graduate student in becoming more independent as appropriate to your work site. Make sure you take the time for supervisory discussions. Most cooperating counselors find that several brief conversations/meetings across the day work best. Student counselors progress at different rates so be sure to tailor the experience according to the abilities and needs of the graduate student.

Evaluations are done at the mid-semester and at the end of the semester. Mid-semester evals should be done in pencil and given to the student for delivery to the professor at the College. At the end of the semester, the evaluations should be completed in pen. The evaluations require a quantitative review, but also allow for qualitative comments from the cooperating counselor.

Do expect to be contacted by the College professor during the course of the semester. Should you need consultation regarding expectations for the site experience Do not hesitate to contact the attending professor at any time .

Tuition waivers are sent at the end of the semester.

Best Practices

best.jpg 1. After the initial contact from the College, complete preliminary discussions with the placement coordinator as soon as possible.

2. Once assigned and contacted by the graduate student return the phone call of the graduate student as soon as possible to discuss any initial considerations regarding the placement.

3. Provide an orientation for the graduate student to the school or agency either before or at the start of the placement.

4. Have the graduate student shadow you for the first and second day of the placement.

5. No later than the third day of the placement, the graduate student should begin to participate in direct service activities with clients or students. The degree of initial supervision depends on the site and on your assessment of the graduate student.

6. Do provide opportunities for supervision of student's work either by review of electronic recording or live supervision.

7. As you gain confidence in the graduate student's counseling skills, provide opportunities for the student to work with clients without direct live supervision.

8. Do review the mid-semester evaluation and end of the semester evaluation directly with the graduate student.

9. If you need to consult with the College regarding the placement you should contact the professor who is conducting the corresponding seminar for the graduate student.


Frequently Asked Questions


FAQ.jpg What is the definition of "direct" and "indirect" counseling hours?

Answer: Direct hours are any face-to-face work with clients. These include individual counseling, group counseling, guidance activities, phone contact, meetings with the client or family, etc. Direct hours include observation of others doing counseling such as observing the cooperating counselor working with a client "live" or as part of a clinical team behind an observation window.

Indirect hours are everything else including doing paperwork, planning, collaborating with a professional team, etc.


Why do graduate students differ in their readiness for practica and internships?

Answer: Graduate students come to us with varying levels of experience, maturity, work ethic, social and professional skills. While we do ensure that all students have met the required conditions for placement there is a "bell curve" of student readiness. Some students are already competent professional colleagues when they begin their site experiences, others need significant mentoring, most are somewhere in-between. We share the task of helping each individual graduate student to become the best young professional that he or she can be.


When should graduate students begin to work with clients in Practicum and Internship?

Answer: In a Practicum the first two days on site should be focused on orientation and shadowing the cooperating counselor. By the third day on site, although the graduate student may continue shadowing, he or she should begin to work with clients. The cooperating counselor in conjunction with the graduate student should judge the types of concerns that the graduate student should address in his or her initial sessions.


What do I do if I believe that the graduate student is not meeting the expectations of my site?

Answer: First, work with the student in order to help them meet expectations. Also you should contact the professor who is teaching the seminar and together you can develop a strategy to help the student meet expectations. If necessary, a formal remediation plan will be initiated by the professor.


Should the graduate student see clients on their own?

Answer: Yes, the cooperating counselor and the graduate student should determine the graduate student's readiness. No later than the 5th week of the semester the graduate student should have opportunity to see clients while supervised and to see clients independently.


What about recordings of sessions?

Answer: We highly recommend recording sessions. It is the best way for new counselors to learn. Recordings can be reviewed by the College Supervisor, or if the recording can't be taken from the site, it can be reviewed by cooperating counselors and the graduate student at the site. Sometimes only live supervision is allowed at the site. When recordings can't be taken from the site or only live supervision is allowed, two supervision sessions must be reviewed with the professor teaching the seminar either by phone or via e-mail. The Guide for Live Supervision (CLICK HERE FOR SUPERVISION GUIDE) should be used to facilitate phone consultation or completed and sent via e-mail to the College professor who will then reply electronically.


What is the value of the tuition waivers offered as an honorarium for the practicum and internship?

Answer: Current amounts are as follows Practicum = $750, Internship (Part Time = $1,000 - Full Time = 2,000)


Can a tuition waiver be used after the expiration date?

Answer: Yes, within reason, although it must be sent to the chairperson of the Department for a signature.


Professional Reading on Supervising Graduate Students in Counseling

The Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (click here)

Articles on Supervision of Graduate Practicum and Internship Student

books.jpg Mental Health Counseling

Cognitive Techniques as a Means for Facilitating Supervisee Development (click here)

Getting the Most Out of Clinical Supervision: Strategies for Mental Health (click here)

Psychotherapy-driven supervision: integrating counseling theories into role-based supervision (click here)


School Counseling

ASCA National Model: Foundation for Supervision of Practicum and Internship Students (click here)

Maximizing Experiences for School Counselors in Training (click here)

Priorities and Practices in Field Supervision of School Counseling Interns (click here)

Supervising School Counselors and Interns: Resources for Site Supervisors (click here)