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Athabasca University

Practicum Supervisors

Before you submit an application for approval as a Practicum  Supervisor or placement, please review the following information to ensure that you are well informed about our expectations and guidelines for supervision and for the practicum itself.

Practicum Description

Appropriate practicum settings include, but are not restricted to:

  • educational institutions (K-12 and post-secondary),
  • community counselling agencies,
  • youth treatment agencies (residential and day treatment),
  • addictions treatment agencies,
  • domestic violence support agencies,
  • inpatient and outpatient mental health services,
  • health care services that provide psychosocial care,
  • government departments providing counselling services, and
  • private practices.

Students are required to be on-site for 500 hours and deliver 250 hours of direct client contact. They normally complete these hours in the Fall and Winter semesters (26 weeks). They will be on site an average of 19 hours per week and will deliver an average of 9.5 direct client contact hours per week. Some of our students may fall under earlier program regulations and may opt to be on-site for only 260 hours. Please check with the individual student about her/his plans for the practicum.

Direct client contact is defined as an activity in which the student interacts face to face with the client(s), and includes:

  • Individual counselling (see minimum expected hours below);
  • Family or couples' counselling;
  • Group counselling;
  • Active participation in reflecting teams with the client; students may count the time that they spend in the view of the client(s) when they are interacting with them;
  • Face to face interviewing and/or testing as part of a formal assessment;
  • Face to face intake sessions, provided the tasks are clinical in nature;
  • Case conferences when the client is present;
  • Co-counselling is acceptable provided the student's role is to interact with the client(s), and not simply observe. Generally, co-counselling is a more appropriate activity at the beginning of a placement.

Sixty percent of direct client contact should consist of individual counselling. Case preparation/treatment planning, psychological test interpretation, writing case notes and reports, telephone intake/contact, case conferences and case management activities without the client(s) present, and observing others perform counselling are not considered direct client contact.

Expectations of Practicum Supervisors

All Practicum Supervisors must possess:

  • a graduate degree in a counselling-related discipline, approved by the Practicum Coordinator.
  • a recognized professional designation that permits them to practice counselling or psychotherapy in their jurisdiction, including, but not limited to:
    • Registered Psychologist (Provincial College of Psychologists); (Note: In some provinces, Provisional Psychologists [or the equivalent registration status] are permitted by law to supervise students, if supervised by a qualified psychologist);
    • Certified Canadian Counsellor (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association);
    • Registered Clinical Counsellor (BC Association of Clinical Counsellors);
    • Clinical Membership (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy);
    • Authorization for the Restricted Activity of Psychosocial Interventions or Membership on the Clinical Register (Alberta College of Social Workers);
    • An equivalent provincial or state professional designation/licence approved by the Practicum Coordinator.
  • a minimum of four years post-Masters professional experience.

Because of the distributed delivery format of the GCAP program, Practicum Supervisors must also meet our minimum hardware and software requirements and have regular access to email and Internet.

It is the expectation that Practicum Supervisors agree to the following responsibilities:

  1. determine the appropriateness of the student's background and training for placement at the field site;
  2. guide the student through site orientation, including familiarization with the rules, regulations, and procedures of the placement setting;
  3. facilitate student progress through the stages of observation, co-facilitation (where appropriate), and independent intervention;
  4. conduct regular (weekly or bi-weekly) meetings with the student for the purpose of monitoring student progress and providing specific feedback on counselling skills development;
  5. monitor the student's time and activity logs to ensure that she or he is meeting the time commitment; and
  6. participate in formative and summative assessment of the student's counselling competence.

Expectations of Practicum Placements

The organization or agency must meet the following criteria:

  • Provide counselling services to individuals and couples, families or groups. Individual counselling is the primary service that will be emphasized in the practicum. However, services such as assessment, family and couples' counselling, and group counselling are also appropriate.
  • Employ professional staff who hold a minimum of a Masters' degree in a counselling related discipline, and professional credentials/designations that permit them to practice within their jurisdiction.
  • Make available an appropriate physical environment (counselling space, work space for administrative duties, secure storage of client records).
  • Provide necessary administrative infrastructure to process referrals and manage client data.
  • Have a policy (or agree our policy) that supports the video-recording of students' counselling for supervision purposes and for presentation at weekend seminars.

Apply to Join our Team

Once you have read all the relevant information, please complete the practicum organization application and then the Practicum Supervisor application.

We are deeply indebted to all of our Practicum Supervisors for the important role they play in the applied practice training of our students and for their contribution to the counselling profession. Without you, this initiative would not be a success. On behalf of the staff and students, we thank you.

Updated April 21 2017 by Student & Academic Services

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