Practicum/Internship Rights and Responsibilities
- Maintain a professional image. As counselors, behavior, attire and attitude reflect upon the department, university and the counseling profession in general. Consequently, it is important to maintain a professional image for the community, clients, peers and professors. There are several things to do to enhance the image projected, including, but not limited to:
- Dressing appropriately and professionally when seeing clients;
- NEVER discussing cases outside of class;
- Not socializing in the client waiting area(s) or outside the office in the walkway;
- Maintaining the professional appearance of the practicum/internship site by keeping the rooms neat and clean. This includes returning chairs to rooms immediately after sessions and emptying trash containers as needed;
- Ensuring that play therapy toys are returned to their appropriate storage places, in a clean and orderly condition. Any broken toys should be left for the clinic director to repair or replace (Remember: toys are the children's words, and as such should be treated with care);
- Ensure that sand tray miniatures and sand trays are returned to their appropriate places. Also, watch to be sure clients do not take miniatures out of the room.
- Know and practice within the current ACA Code of Ethics and Texas Administrative Code §681. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Maintaining and advocating confidentiality. The privacy of the counseling relationship and material shared therein belong to the client. Cases should not be discussed with anyone other than the supervisors and other practicum students. Other than the legal exceptions to confidentiality, the client is the only one who can direct you to release information. Clients may also request access to their own records (e.g., session recording(s), file). Any request by a client for access to her/his records should be discussed first with your supervisor. A guided access, (i.e., the clinician's interpretations of the information in the records) may be planned. Check with your supervisor before releasing records. Even in the case of a court order, you need to get the opinion of your supervisor.
- Never reveal that your client is being seen in the counseling practicum/internship clinic, unless you have written permission from the client. Even with written permission, you can only disclose information agreed upon by you and the client, and only to individuals listed on the consent to release form. At times, you may experience pressure to reveal information from a parent, lawyer, or fellow mental health professional. If this occurs, inform your professor. Also, client files are not to leave the practicum/internship site. Files must remain double locked (in a locked file cabinet behind a locked door) at all times in the practicum/internship site.
Reporting Abuse of Children, Elderly, or Disabled Persons
- If, during the course of counseling, you suspect that a child, elderly or disabled person is being abused, remind the client of your legal obligation to report. Obtain as much information as you can, including the name, address, birth date (or age) of the person being abused, form & types of injuries, date and time abuse occurred, and the name, address, and telephone number of the alleged perpetrator, if possible. Inform your professor and site supervisor as soon as possible.
- It is preferable that you and your client report the abuse together. If, however, you are not physically present with the client, and, consequently, cannot be sure that the client has or will report the abuse, you must report it. You are required by law to make the report within 48 hours after learning of the possible abuse. Dept. of Protective & Regulatory Services, (800) 252-5400, DFPS - Report Abuse or Neglect
Assessing and Responding to Suicide
- If, during the course of counseling, a client states or suggests suicidal ideation, a Suicide Assessment and Recommendation Form must be completed so that appropriate action can be taken for the safety of both the client and the counselor. Should the counselor become suspect that a client may be suicidal; the counselor must immediately shift direction in counseling. This is true regardless of theory. The counselor must direct in order to fulfill the counselor’s ethical obligation to preserve the client’s well-being (Beneficence).
- Should a counselor consider a client to be at moderate to high risk for committing/attempting suicide, the student is to notify the site supervisor and call appropriate authorities immediately after completing the assessment interview. Inform your professor and site supervisor as soon as possible.
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