Master's in Clinical Counseling Psychology > Practicum
Practicum is the core of the professional training in the Clinical-Counseling Psychology Program. Practicum comprises several components that complement each other—a seminar course with didactic and case presentation elements, individual therapy supervision, and a clinical placement. Students enroll in practicum for three semesters (summer, fall, and spring), and must receive a grade of B or better each semester in order to continue in subsequence semesters. The 12-month placement is at a community agency in the Central Illinois area. The number of placements and agency sites varies each year. Practicum assignments are determined through a matching process that requires an application and interview. Practicum placement is from May 16 of the first year of graduate study through May 15 of the second year. The practicum assignment requires 20 hours of work per week at the agency, which also constitutes a graduate assistantship with a full tuition waiver.
The Baby Fold is a child welfare agency in Normal. Services include residential and school programs, and family counseling. Practicum students work with children and adolescents in foster care who were removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse; students learn about the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services system. They also counsel birth parents and co-teach classes to parents and other groups. Training opportunities focus on developing a variety of therapy skills for working with children, adolescents, adults, and families.
Located in Bloomington, The Center for Youth and Family Solutions is a not-for-profit social service agency that provides mental health, family support, community, and child welfare services to the McLean County community. Agency services reflect an eco-systemic, family systems perspective, using a variety of clinical techniques and theories. This placement involves a combination of outpatient/office therapy and outreach/home or community therapy through the Family Counseling division. The practicum can include individual, family, and couples/marital therapy sessions. Opportunities exist for group therapy, crisis intervention, and involvement in Individualized Care Grant services. Clientele served include small children and their caregivers, and adults. Cases range from short-term assessment, brief therapy, and stabilization to longer-term, in-depth therapy.
This division of Chestnut Health Systems , in Bloomington, provides services to individuals with histories of substance dependence or abuse; however, many clients also have coexisting psychiatric diagnoses. In their roles as addiction therapists, practicum students conduct group therapy, psychoeducational groups, and may provide individual therapy to clients participating in intensive outpatient treatment. Clients may be self-referred for therapy or attend treatment as part of a court order. Other activities include conducting intake evaluations, interpreting personality assessments, providing treatment recommendations, and communicating with community professionals and legal entities.
DeWitt County Human Resource Center is located in Clinton, Ill. (approximately 35 miles south of Bloomington-Normal). Practicum students completing placements at this agency are involved in a full range of activities associated with this comprehensive community mental health center. Students provide individual, family, and group therapy to clients representing diverse backgrounds that include children, adolescents, and adults with a wide range of presenting concerns and diagnostic categories. Other responsibilities include conducting intake interviews and crisis intervention counseling–practicum students may be on-call a few days a month and may assess individuals over the phone or at a area hospital.
Heritage Behavioral Health Center (HBHC) is a county mental health center located in Decatur, Ill. (approximately 50 miles south of Bloomington-Normal). This center provides comprehensive community-based services through 33 program areas, focusing on mental health and addiction services. Practicum students may be involved in placements in a variety of program areas with placements tailored to students’ particular areas of interest. Students work with clients representing a wide range of ages (children, adolescents, and adults), presenting various concerns, and diagnostic categories. HBHC placement would involve providing individual and group therapy on an outpatient basis, conducting outpatient assessments, and providing services through the residential treatment facility for individuals dealing with substance abuse issues.
The Institute for Human Recourses is located in Pontiac, Ill. (approximately 40 miles north of Bloomington-Normal). This Livingston County comprehensive community mental health center provides prevention, education, treatment, and aftercare services. Through the county's mental health department, students provide individual and family counseling to clients (children, adolescents, and adults), conduct assessments, create individualized treatment plans, and work with clientele with a wide range of presenting concerns and diagnoses. Opportunities also exist to observe crisis calls at the local hospital and jail.
Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois - Springfield provides services as a branch of Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois (MHCCI). Students complete this placement at the center located in Springfield, Ill. (approximately 60 miles southwest of Bloomington-Normal). Practicum students are involved in the adult outpatient services, conducting assessments and providing counseling for individuals with serious and persistent mental illnesses. It is typical for practicum students to have a case load of up to 30 clients, who generally are being treated for mood, anxiety, thought, and personality disorders. MHCCI offers integrated treatment with psychiatrists, nurses, and caseworkers, providing opportunities for practicum students to collaborate with these treatment professionals. Opportunities also exist for students to gain experience with crisis intervention services and involvement in emergency room services at the adjacent hospital. Similar experiences providing services for children and adolescents are available through the practicum placement at The Children's Center, a division of MHCCI, which is also located in Springfield.