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Practicum/ Internship

Given that we are a Psy.D. Program, there are high expectations regarding practical training. Students who are admitted must have a Master’s degree from a program where they provided counseling under the supervision of an appropriately credentialed professional.  Therefore, students are scheduled to begin their practica immediately upon starting the program and continuing at various sites until they leave for internship. The sections below provide some information about practicum and internship training.

Practicum Placements and Supervisors

Students typically participate in three practicum placements that run across Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters, spending an average of 16 hours a week on-site (e.g., two full days; this does not include commuting time to and from the placement) during the Fall and Spring semesters and 8 hours a day over the Summer. Within these 16 hours, the goal is for students to have face-to-face contact with an average of 10 clients per week (8 hours in Summer, with 5 of them spent with clients). Thus, the overall goal is for students to have  1500 or more total practicum hours before leaving for internship, at least 500 of which are client contact hours (so far, all the students heading off for internship have earned at least this many hours). This will maximize competitiveness for internship and may also help satisfy training hours required for licensure. In fact, the Virginia Board of Psychology changed the regulations so that practicum hours can count toward licensure in certain circumstances and we have designed our practica to meet the requirements. This means that our students will be eligible for licensure in Virginia upon graduation from the Program and passing the national licensing exam.

We are continually adding new sites, but the following places have indicated a willingness to accept qualified Psy.D. students.

  • Catawba Hospital
  • Community Health Center New River Valley (Christiansburg and Giles County offices)
  • New River Valley Community Services (both the ACCESS unit and the Child & Family Services unit)
  • Radford University Student Counseling Services
  • Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute (Marion)
  • Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling Center

Internship

A 2000 hour-long internship is required.  We are aware of the issues associated with the internship imbalance and have included several components in the program to maximize the likelihood that our students will be placed in high-quality sites. For example, as discussed above, the practicum training sequence is designed to allow students to receive at least 1500 total practicum hours, 500 of which are in face-to-face contact with clients. The curriculum is also practice-heavy, with several assessment and applied courses. These efforts helped all three students who applied for internship for 2011-2012 “match” in the first round with APA-accredited internships.

Below are some of the sites where our students have been accepted for internship:

  • Virginia Tech's Cook Conseling Center -- Blacksburg, VA
  • W. G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center -- Salisbury, NC
  • Iowa City VA Medical Center -- Coralville, IA
  • Grand Valley State University, Counseling and Career Development Center -- Allendale, MI
  • Federal Correctional Complex -- Petersburg, VA
  • E. Tennessee/SW VA Consortium, New River Valley Community Services Board (CSB)
  • E. Tennessee/SW VA Consortium, Stone Mountain -- Pennington Gap, VA
  • Unviversity of Washington Counseling Center -- Seattle, WA

In addition, Psy.D. faculty have collaborated with the RU administration and Carilion Clinic, which runs the RU Student Counseling Services, along with with faculty from the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and administrators at Stone Mountain Health Services (http://www.stonemtn.org/) in far Southwest Virginia to develop the East Tennessee / Southwest Virginia Predoctoral Psychology internship Consortium. The Consortium has one slot for an RU student at Student Counseling Services as well as one slot for an ETSU student and one slot for an RU student at Stone Mountain. We also added the Child and Family Services unit at New River Valley Community Services to the consortium in the Spring of 2012 and this site has one slot for an RU student.

STONE MOUNTAIN

Stone Mountain is a Federally Qualified Health Center with several offices located in a very rural part of Virginia, near the Tennessee and Kentucky borders. Thus, the internship is set up for interns who have some experience and interest in working in an integrated care setting with a rural population. In terms of the placements, each of the interns spends 6 months in the Pennington Gap clinic and 6 months in the St. Charles clinic.

RADFORD UNIVERSITY STUDENT COUNSELING SERVICES

RU Student Counseling Services (http://www.radford.edu/content/student-affairs/home/student-health/counseling.html/) is a unit in the Division of Student Affairs. The following information is from the RU SCS website.

Student Counseling Services supports the academic mission of the university through the enhancement of student learning and retention. Student Counseling Services provides learning opportunities for students to grow as individuals, to form deeper relationships with their peers, and to develop as successful members of our community and society at large.

The primary purpose of the Student Counseling Services (RU SCS) is to assist students with typical student developmental issues and to provide short term, professional counseling to students with mental health concerns.

Student Counseling Services (RU SCS) provides quality mental health care to Radford University students, consultative services to the larger community, and training to graduate students in the mental health field. All services are provided under the direction of licensed, credentialed, and experienced mental health professionals. Staff is guided by the highest professional and ethical standards of their professions and is dedicated to providing quality services.

NEW RIVER VALLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES

The New River Valley Community Services (http://www.nrvcs.org/) is the equivalent of the community mental health center for 4 counties and an independent city. The following information is from the agency’s website.

NRVCS is a public provider of behavioral health services to residents of the New River Valley. The agency serves children, adults and families by providing community-based programs for mental health, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and related prevention services.

Established in 1969, NRVCS serves the counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski, and the City of Radford. New River Valley Community Services is part of a state-wide system of Community Services Boards, which serves residents throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.