Letter to the Practicum Site
Thank you for agreeing to participate as a University of Houston-Victoria practicum site. I would like to take a moment to help you become familiar with what is expected from you as a site supervisor, as well as to explain to you the training that the student(s) you will be supervising have undergone so far.
Before being allowed to enter practicum, the student must be in the second year of their program. They will also have to have taken coursework in Psychopathology, Life Span Development, Ethics and Professional Practice, Techniques in Psychotherapy, Personality Assessment, and Group Psychotherapy. The students will also have completed pre-practicum competency evaluations through their Personality Assessment and Techniques of Psychotherapy courses. If the student was not able to pass these competency evaluations satisfactorily, they are not allowed to be in the practicum. Our practicum students are also required to obtain professional liability insurance before beginning the practicum.
The practicum student will be under your direct supervision. However, if you feel that it is appropriate, you may allow the student to work directly with other licensed professionals within your practice or agency. The practicum student is also under the supervision of the University of Houston-Victoria practicum supervisor, Dr. Danielle Todaro, a licensed psychologist.
Each semester students are required to complete a total of a minimum of 150 training hours. AT LEAST 50 hours of 150 hours for the practicum must be in direct client contact. These hours start over each semester.
During their time under your supervision, we expect the practicum student to participate in individual, group, family and/or couples psychotherapy, if you're offering a treatment-focused practicum. We understand that many professionals may be reluctant to turn a practicum student loose as a primary therapist with their clients. Thus, we anticipate that the ideal situation would be as a co-therapist in a group setting, in family therapy, or even in individual therapy. However, it is left to your discretion as the site supervisor as to how students can provide counseling services to your clients. Practicum students may also achieve hours by participating in the intake interviews of new clients. The provision of telehealth services is also an acceptable means by which a student can obtain direct hours, under supervision of course.
For an assessment-focused practicum site, we anticipate that the student will be allowed to observe, administer, and score psychological test instruments. Additionally, at your discretion, they can also obtain hours by conducting clinical interviews, intake assessment, substance abuse evaluations, trauma screenings, and any other clinical assessments on clients. Contact hours in this type of practicum site also include observations of clients.
Whether a student is completing an assessment or treatment focused practicum, it is imperative that any clients they work with or observe are informed of their status as a practicum student and that as a result they will be consulting with their site supervisor and university supervisor about all cases.
While the student is on practicum, they will be required to participate in at least one hour of face-to-face supervision with you a week. This time should be used to address clinical and ethical issues, review progress notes and/or assessments, discuss professional development, and address any concerns and other training related issues. The practicum student is not required to participate in group supervision, but if that is offered at your site it would be a wonderful opportunity for the student.
Non-contact hours are obtained by the student by writing reports, completing progress notes, preparing for group/individual/couple/family sessions, participating in trainings (both live and web-based), reading relevant articles/books/treatment manuals, attending staff meetings/case consultations, as well as other time spent at your facility doing work or engaged in activities not directly associated with a particular client. If there is a specific training that you would like for your practicum student to attend, these hours may also be counted toward non-contact hours.
The student will be expected to complete a midterm assessment with you. The purpose of this assessment is to address any concerns that either you or the student may have regarding the direction that the practicum is going. This is a time to have a frank discussion with the student to ensure that the student is meeting your expectations and that the student is receiving the best possible practical experience.
A final assessment will be completed at the end of the semester. It is at that time that you will assess the student’s overall performance within your clinic and assign a grade. If, at any point in the semester you have any issues regarding the student, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss the matter.
Ideally, the practicum student will diversify their training across different sites over the course of the three semesters of practicum. If they choose to remain at your site for two, or even three consecutive semesters, please be advised that the student is not to continue working with clients during breaks between semesters, unless they are short on their hours and have remained enrolled in the class with an Incomplete grade.
If at any time you have questions or concerns regarding the practicum or the performance of the student, please contact me by email or telephone to discuss the matter and find an appropriate resolution. If, for some reason a student will be terminated from your site, I MUST be notified of this decision.
Thank you for opening your site to our students. I trust that this will be a wonderful learning and training experience for our student(s). I also hope that you enjoy this opportunity to teach your skills to the next generation of psychological professionals.
Danielle Todaro, Psy.D.
University of Houston -Victoria