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Psychology

Practicum & Internships

Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

Mental Health Counseling students complete intensive supervised practicum and internship experiences during which they actively work with clients and students in mental health-related training settings. The counseling practicum and internship constitute the students’ primary applied training experiences and involve accruing many hours of direct client contact under supervision of trained professionals.  

Students are expected to complete a total 700 hours for their practicum and internship experiences combined (100 hours for practicum and 600 hours for internship). As a practitioner-scholar oriented program, we believe these experiences are central to the education at SUNY New Paltz. The practicum is the fieldwork experience that occurs during the second semester of the student’s first year. The experience is designed to reflect the student’s initial experience working with clients. The internship begins the following year and involves an increase in the expectation for direct client contact and additional responsibilities. Both the practicum and internship experience carry with it the expectation of increasingly independent practice but under close supervision. 

Practicum & Internship Requirements 

  • Time: Mental Health Counseling Practicum students are expected to complete 100 hours of on-site counseling-related work, at least 40 hours of which must be spent in direct counseling service.  Mental Health Counseling Internship students are expected to complete 600 hours of on-site counseling-related work, at least 240 hours of which must be spent in direct counseling service. 
  • Direct Service is defined as any therapeutic contact with clients.  This includes individual, family, and group sessions held, as well as such diverse activities as psycho-educational presentations and therapeutic consultations (e.g., planning out-of-session behavior modification with parents of minor clients). 
  • If the student counselor engages in co-counseling with another counselor, the student counselor must facilitate at least 50% of the session to count toward the direct hours requirement. 
  • One hour of group counseling counts the same as one hour of individual counseling, regardless of how many individuals there are in the group being facilitated. 
  • Supervision: there is a minimum requirement of one hour a week of onsite individual or triadic supervision with the student and the site supervisor.  Students should not schedule a client meeting if they do not have direct access to a supervisor; students should have immediate access to a supervisor in case an emergency should arise.  
  • The site supervisor must have: 
    • a Master’s degree or higher in a discipline related to mental health counseling,  
    • a minimum of two years post-masters clinical experience, and a license in their discipline.   
  • Students are expected to participate in other learning opportunities such as case conferences and staff meetings.
  • The supervisor will complete an evaluation of the student at the middle and end of each semester.  The program will provide forms for the supervisor evaluations. 
  • Audio/Video recording: students are expected to bring recorded samples of their work to their university with permission for release signed by clients. 
  • Internship Site Agreement: the contract lists the specifics of the training experience.  It includes the days of the week to be worked, the activities that the student will be engaged in, the name and credentials of the supervisor and the specific learning goals to be pursued during the placement. 
  • Time Log- Students are required to keep weekly and end of semester time logs, prepared by the student and verified by their internship on-site supervisor, that document direct contacts with clients and other activities attended by students such as case conferences, in-service trainings and consultations with other care providers. Time logs will be retained by the College and should not contain any client-identifying information. 

School Counseling 

School Counseling students complete intensive supervised practicum and internship experiences during which they actively work with students in K-12 educational settings.  . The counseling practicum and internship constitute the students’ primary applied training experiences and involve accruing many hours of direct client contact under supervision of trained professionals.  

Students are expected to complete a total 700 hours for their practicum and internship experiences combined (100 hours for practicum and 600 hours for internship). As a practitioner-scholar oriented program, we believe these experiences are central to the education at SUNY New Paltz. The practicum is the fieldwork experience that occurs during the second semester of the student’s first year. The experience is designed to reflect the student’s initial experience working with clients. The internship begins the following year and involves an increase in the expectation for direct client contact and additional responsibilities. Both the practicum and internship experience carry with it the expectation of increasingly independent practice but under close supervision. 

Each school counseling placement should provide students with opportunities to observe, co-facilitate, and lead various school counseling activities. Sample school counseling activities include: 

  • Collaborating with parents, teachers, and school administrators 
  • Classroom Guidance Lessons  
  • Evaluation of Classroom Guidance Lessons  
  • Individual Counseling (academic, career, and personal/social-emotional) 
  • Group Counseling 
  • School-wide programming 
  • Attending Child Study meetings 
  • Participating in a Peer Mediation Program 
  • Attending District-wide School Counselor Meetings  
  • Attending and participating in Committee on Special Education Meetings 
  • Participating in child study or school-based assessment team meetings  

Practicum & Internship Requirements 

  • Time: School Counseling Practicum students are expected to complete 100 hours of on-site training over the semester, with at least 40 of these hours being direct service working with students.  School Counseling Interns are expected to complete 600 hours of training over the two semesters, with at least 240 of those hours being direct service to students.  
  • Direct Service is defined as any counseling contact with students.  This includes individual, family, and group sessions held, as well as such diverse activities as psycho-educational presentations and therapeutic consultations (e.g., planning out-of-session behavior modification with parents of students). 
  • If the student counselor engages in co-counseling with her/his supervisor or another counselor, the student counselor must facilitate at least 50% of the session to count toward the direct hours requirement. 
  • One hour of group counseling counts the same as one hour of individual counseling, regardless of how many individuals there are in the group being facilitated. 
  • Supervision: there is a minimum requirement of one hour a week of onsite individual or triadic supervision with the intern and the site supervisor.  Interns should not schedule a client meeting if they do not have direct access to a supervisor; interns should have immediate access to a supervisor in case an emergency should arise.  
  • The site supervisor must: 
    • have a Master’s degree or higher in a discipline related to school counseling,  
    • be tenured and have permanent certification in their discipline.   
  • Interns are expected to participate in other learning opportunities such as case conferences and staff meetings.
  • The supervisor will complete an evaluation of the intern at the middle and end of each semester.  The program will provide forms for the supervisor evaluations. 
  • Audio/Video recording: interns are expected to bring recorded samples of their work to their university with permission for release signed by clients. 
  • Internship Site Agreement: the contract lists the specifics of the training experience.  It includes the days of the week to be worked, the activities that the student will be engaged in, the name and credentials of the supervisor and the specific learning goals to be pursued during the placement. 
  • Time Log- Students are required to keep weekly and end of semester time logs, prepared by the student and verified by their internship on-site supervisor, that document direct contacts with clients and other activities attended by students such as case conferences, in-service trainings and consultations with other care providers. Time logs will be retained by the College and should not contain any client-identifying information. 

Questions, Comments, Suggestions? 

If you would like more information about counselor education at SUNY New Paltz please contact: 

Dr. Melanie HillDirector 
Office: Wooster Hall 351 
Phone: (845) 257-3475 
Email: hillm@newpaltz.edu