Practicum Program

The Training Site

TWU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides psychological counseling to a diverse student body. TWU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is committed to providing high- quality, culturally competent mental health services to enrolled students across all three campuses (Denton, Dallas, and Houston). Our services support the development of the whole person by fostering student resiliency, emotional well-being, interpersonal effectiveness and academic success. TWU CAPS tends to see clients who come from a variety of diverse cultural backgrounds (e.g., age, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion) and have experienced past trauma (e.g., sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect). It is a unique training site given the large number of women and non-traditional students the center serves.

The Training

As a practicum site, TWU CAPS trains graduate level practicum therapists to apply basic and advanced counseling skills in individual therapy. Practicum therapists may also gain additional skills and training through conducting intake appointments and by learning more about group therapy facilitation. Additionally, practicum therapists have an opportunity to engage in outreach as available at the center. Practicum therapists may also have an opportunity to process observe a process group or co-facilitate a psychoeducational group during their time as a practicum therapist at TWU. During training at TWU CAPS, practicum therapists learn to conceptualize from a number of different theoretical orientations and to use a variety of therapeutic techniques within a brief-therapy model of treatment. TWU CAPS accepts three to seven practicum therapists for a practicum placement each semester. Preference is given to Doctoral and Masters level therapists with prior practicum experience. However, applications from first semester practicum therapists are welcomed. Students who have sought or are seeking services at TWU CAPS are not eligible for a practicum placement as they would have a client file on record thus constituting a dual relationship. Enrollment in TWU's Counseling Psychology doctoral program does not guarantee acceptance for practicum placement.

We understand practicum therapists arrive for training with varied levels of experience and expertise in providing psychotherapy. For this reason, we consider each practicum therapist’s developmental level as we plan the training experience. The needs of individual clients as well as the experience level of practicum therapists are considered when making client assignments and acceptance into various training rotations. We work to provide practicum therapists a wide range of presenting problems and monitor each person's readiness for particular clinical issues. TWU CAPS staff honor individual differences of the therapists we work with, therefore, we provide on-going training to enhance multicultural knowledge, skills, and awareness. Supervisors attend to gender expression and identity, race/ethnicity, SES, age, sexual orientation, ability status, size, spiritual/religious orientation, etc., and how each of these factors may influence client concerns, the therapeutic process and trainee development. We work to foster an environment of cultural humility. 

Our training program is based on the conviction that professional and personal development are mutually inclusive processes. There is recognition that practicum experience is a critical aspect of one’s training as a clinician and therapist.  Thus the philosophy of the training program is developmental and focuses on learning and skill building through experience and understanding. The training staff is committed to providing an opportunity for trainees to learn and work in an applied setting as a practitioner with a scientific foundation.  Furthermore, the training staff works together to accomplish these goals and provides ongoing feedback related to the many roles as a practicum therapist (e.g., clinician, team member, and colleague).

The training program adheres to the belief that supervision is a valuable and indispensable tool for all trainees and staff. Regardless of the specific work activity, we believe that self-awareness is a critical component of ongoing professional growth. Due to our belief that the therapeutic alliance is a central component of any helping relationship, it is our expectation that practicum therapists will recognize, improve, and enact those qualities that will enhance their work with clients, peers, other center staff, and the university community. Opportunities for personal exploration and self-reflection that impact professional development inevitably occur throughout the training year. Training staff provide ongoing feedback to promote the integration of personal and professional development.

The practicum program functions in a manner consistent with the American Psychological Association's 2002 Revised Ethical Standard 7.04 (Student Disclosure of Personal Information). When appropriate, practicum therapists are encouraged, but not required, to explore historical influences, qualities, and unique identities and how these may either help or hinder psychological interventions and professional interactions. Supervisors are committed to creating a safe, trusting, and respectful environment in order to facilitate this exploration. Supervision is never viewed as psychotherapy, but rather promotion of the practicum therapist’s overall professional development. Training staff, however, have the option to recommend, but not required, outside therapy to individuals who they feel could benefit from further exploration of concerns which appear to negatively impact one's professional development.

Applicants are required to make at least a two-semester (e.g., Fall and Spring) commitment (see weekly hour breakdown below). Time spent on practicum will be about 20 hours per week, although this will vary during peak times and practicum therapists may require additional time spent on administrative duties. Practicum therapists receive weekly individual supervision from TWU CAPS senior staff and will receive weekly group supervision with the practicum coordinator where practicum therapists are expected to present case presentations. Practicum group supervision will be held on Wednesdays 9:00 am – 10:30 am weekly. Practicum therapists will also participate in weekly didactic trainings with the practicum coordinator or senior staff members, which will be held on Thursdays 9:00 am – 10:30 am weekly. Practicum therapists can expect to receive training in risk assessment, working with trauma survivors, diagnostic considerations, and will participate in various diversity trainings. During the spring semester, practicum therapists can expect to participate in in-depth learning about various theories and applying theory to case conceptualizations and work with clients.

Practicum therapists will also have an opportunity to participate in one or more rotations each semester during their time at CAPS to gain additional training in group therapy observations and facilitation and outreach. These rotations vary based on the semester and staff availability.

Page last updated 11:56 AM, October 29, 2021