The UCC welcomes two master’s-level interns in counseling or doctoral-level psychology or counseling practicum trainees to work with our team of multidisciplinary professionals each academic year. At this time we do not provide practicum training for graduate students in Master’s counseling programs.
Mission Statement of Training
The Mission of the UCC Training Program is to provide graduate students in mental health fields with a supervised clinical experience in a broad range of activities in preparation for careers in a university counseling center or similar setting. Trainees have the opportunity to learn from a diverse and multidisciplinary team of professionals who espouse a broad developmental and mentor-based training approach and use a combination of experiential, didactic, and practical training experiences to achieve training goals. As a result of this process, trainees develop skills, competencies, and professional identities as mental health practitioners.
Our Training Philosophy
The UCC Training Program utilizes a practitioner-scholar model in which research informs practice. This approach integrates hands-on work in a multidisciplinary setting with scholarly reading, critical thinking, and self-reflection. We believe that providing a supportive yet challenging environment, as well as ongoing and reciprocal feedback from staff and peers creates the optimum space for trainees to feel comfortable making and learning from mistakes and to experience personal and professional growth. We also believe it is important for trainees to have the opportunity to tailor their training experience based on areas of interest, and to receive mentorship and guidance in developing a niche as a mental health professional. Training opportunities will be developmentally appropriate for each individual’s level of training and experience, and will be sequential, cumulative and graded in complexity across the training year.
The UCC also utilizes a collaborative, systems approach to working with each other and within a larger campus environment. Therefore, we believe it is important for trainees to learn how to navigate administrative processes, provide referrals to on and off-campus agencies, develop case management skills, collaborate with other departments on campus, and manage multiple roles within the University, such as consulting with staff, students, and parents while maintaining confidentiality.
The UCC is committed to providing culturally sensitive services and believes it is important for trainees to be competent in working with clients, colleagues, and community members from various backgrounds. We foster this competence by providing training on identity and culture, encouraging trainees to consult and collaborate with multidisciplinary staff members inside and outside of the UCC, and by challenging trainees to reflect on their own personal and cultural experiences and how these affect their work with clients.
The Training Experience
Generally trainees working for the UCC are required to work 16-20 hours per week and carry a caseload of 10-15 clients. All of our trainees develop the following competencies during the practicum year:
- Individual counseling skills
- Co-facilitating a therapy or psychoeducational group
- Diagnosis and treatment planning
- Interpretation and utilization of assessment results in treatment
- Case management skills essential to working within a larger campus environment
- Crisis management
- Outreach planning and delivery to campus groups on various topics
- Conceptualization and treatment from a primary theoretical orientation
- Ability to work effectively with diverse populations
- Development of a strong professional identity
- Use of self-awareness and personal reflection in working with clients
- Adherence to ethical standards and practice of ethical decision making
As much as possible, we work to tailor the training year to fit the needs of each individual trainee. Therefore, trainees are encouraged to explore their own areas of interest by participating in activities outside of the general practice requirements of the UCC. Trainees may choose to select an area in which to develop in-depth experience during the training year for the purpose of developing a niche in the mental health field as well. Based on availability of opportunities and trainee interest, skill level, and knowledge, areas of specialization may include, but are not limited to:
- Eating disorder treatment
- Substance abuse prevention and intervention
- Treatment of other specific disorders/diagnoses (i.e., anxiety, PTSD, depression)
- Treatment of specific student populations (i.e., International students, LGBTQ+ students)
- Liaising with a specific student population or office on campus
- Outreach programming and prevention
- Research and data collection
- Providing secondary supervision to a master’s level trainee (for doctoral-level trainees only)
- Threat assessment/Behavioral intervention (for doctoral-level trainees only)
Supervision and Didactics
Trainees at the UCC receive one hour per week of individual supervision with a primary supervisor and one hour per week of group supervision with trainees from various training programs. We also encourage consultation with our diverse staff of mental health professionals. Counseling sessions are recorded for use as part of the supervision process in order to guide trainees in their learning. Didactic trainings on various topics relevant to working in a college counseling center, including monthly dialogues about issues of diversity, take place on a weekly basis and attendance at these is required for all trainees.
Students in good standing in accredited graduate programs in counseling and psychology are eligible to apply for an internship or practicum placement at the UCC. WFU students who have utilized services at the UCC are eligible to apply and their client status will not be given consideration during the selection process. However, the student will not be able to continue receiving services at the UCC at the time of the practicum/internship. Students who are employed at WFU, either as full- or part-time employees or as graduate assistants, may not be eligible to apply for practicum/internship at the UCC depending on the amount and type of student contact involved. This exclusion exists due to the strong potential for dual relationships with UCC clients. An example of an office for which this exclusion applies is Residence Life and Housing. Potential applicants who are unsure of their eligibility for an internship/practicum placement at the UCC should contact Kaity Pechanek (firstname.lastname@example.org) for clarification.
Previous trainees at the UCC have been from:
- Wake Forest University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s program
- UNCG’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling or College Counseling/Student Development in Higher Education master’s programs
- UNCG’s Counseling and Counselor Education doctoral program
- Fielding Graduate University’s Clinical Psychology doctoral program
Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest explaining your previous clinical experiences and what you hope to gain from completing a practicum/internship at the UCC, as well as a current curriculum vita. Applications will only be accepted during the spring semester of each year for placement beginning the following fall semester, and placement lasts one full academic year.
The deadline to apply for practicum/internship at the WFU Counseling Center during the 2021-2022 academic year is Friday, February 19th at 5pm EST. Applications can be submitted via email to:
Dr. Christine Love Sterk
Questions can be directed to Dr. Love Sterk via telephone, 336-758-5273, or email, email@example.com.