School-Based Practicum in Client-Centered Therapy

Information for Students Applying for Practicum

The Schools Group Practicum is geared to master’s level students in Counseling or Clinical Psychology who are drawn to the principles of client-centered therapy, who want to further develop the client-centered attitudes of empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence, and who want to learn how to put this theory into practice.  Doing this in a school setting provides unique challenges and unique opportunities.  Practicum students have a great deal of independence and are encouraged to develop their individual working styles as well as self-awareness as clinicians and respect for the experience of the client.

School Placements

The Schools Group works with Communities in Schools Chicago (CISC) to select CISC partner schools that have expressed a need for mental health services and can provide a supportive learning environment for the practicum student.

  • Practicum students work two full days per week in the same school for the entire school year, September through early June. Most of each day is spent meeting with students (“clients”) who are referred by the school counselor, teachers, or administrative staff.
  • Practicum students typically see 5-7 clients per day, for a total of 10-14 per week.
  • In addition, based on the school’s needs, practicum students can conduct group counseling, sponsor after-school activities (e.g., book club), provide psycho-education in individual classrooms, or work on other programs.

Supervision

Supervision is designed to provide both support and instruction. Although supervisors are not on-site, they are available for consultation outside the formal supervision hours by phone and email should issues arise relating either to clinical practice or the work environment. Practicum students have the backing of The Schools Group and its partner, CISC, for any trouble-shooting needs.

Individual supervision allows the students to discuss all aspects of their work as clinicians. Initially, emphasis is placed on how to approach, engage, and retain clients. Once a client base has been established, weekly consultations include a review of clients and case conceptualizations, review of session tapes with detailed feedback on responses and suggestions for alternatives, and reflection on the student’s thoughts and feelings about the sessions. In order to do this, practicum students keep process notes and also audio or video tape (with parental permission).

In weekly group supervision, students are encouraged to share experiences–both successes and challenges–and receive the support and input of the group.  Together, we discuss articles about the theory and working with children in school settings, critique tapes and transcripts of established practitioners, and respond to the needs of the group as they occur.  Group supervision is both didactic and experiential, based on group interests.

The Schools Group is committed to providing practicum students with a rigorous and rewarding training experience.