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Practicum Training

University of Houston - Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers a nine-month 500-hour clinical practicum open to doctoral students in counseling, clinical, and school psychology (UH system students preferred). There are 2 practicum positions available for each academic year. These are part-time (16-20 hours/week) unpaid positions. All placements are two semesters long, beginning in August and ending in May at the closing of the University of Houston Spring semester, with an option to continue into the following summer. If after reading these materials you have questions, please e-mail the Practicum Coordinator, Dr. Ranschaert at drransch@central.uh.eduApplications will be accepted between January and February for the following academic year.

Prerequisites for Practicum Training

Coursework prerequisites

The following courses (or their equivalents) must be successfully completed before the start date of practicum or by December of the practicum if not available earlier in the curriculum

Professional Practice in Psychology: Ethics, Law and Professional Issues
Theories of Counseling/ Clinical Interventions I
Introduction to Group Counseling*
Counseling Methods and Techniques/ Clinical Intervention II
Multicultural Issues in Counseling

*Note: An equivalent group therapy course is frequently offered in the summer by the Graduate School of Social Work

Application Instructions

Applications will be accepted from students who have been approved by their program to apply to our site. Interviews will be conducted in late January/early February, according to the UH joint Clinical, Counseling and School Psychology timeline. Preference is given to applicants who have completed at least 1 semester of practicum.

To apply, please email the following items to Dr. Ranschaert at

  • A brief letter of interest
  • curriculum vitae – include the year in the current program, previous clinical experience
  • a list of courses taken to date (transcript not required)

Program Overview

Practicum Trainee Schedule
Practicum trainees are expected to be here 16-20 hours/week over a minimum of 2 days. Trainees are required to include Thursday mornings from 9 – 11am in their schedules, in order to participate in agency case conference meetings.

Practicum trainees are required to be here only on days when UH classes are in session and through the end of Final Exam week each semester. Trainees are encouraged to terminate with all clients the week before Final Exams, to leave time for paperwork and final supervision issues.

Clients are seen only during the hours CAPS is officially open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Training Philosophy
Trainees receive broad exposure to the many professional activities that exist in a multi-faceted, service-oriented agency. CAPS uses a developmental model to guide decisions about skills training. Specifically, an individual trainee’s clinical skills, experience, professional behavior, and progress are considered when determining that trainee’s assignment to and level of participation in various agency activities, as well as the appropriate level of supervisory support needed. As trainees progress, they are typically given more challenge, responsibility, and autonomy. CAPS trainees and supervisors are expected, both individually and collaboratively, to assess the trainee’s needs and goals over the course of the training placement.

Required Supervision Hours
Practicum trainees receive at least 2 hours of supervision per week, 1 hour of which is face-to-face individual supervision by the primary supervisor. The primary supervisor is involved in an ongoing supervisory relationship with the trainee and has primary professional clinical responsibility for the cases on which he/she provides supervision. A practicum trainee may have different primary supervisors engaged in providing individual supervision during the course of the placement.

The other 1+ hour of supervision is regularly scheduled practicum cohort supervision (1 hour per week) and group therapy supervision (30 minutes per week). At different points in the practicum placement, additional supervision is provided for outreach activities.

Practicum Supervision Tiered Structure
Practicum supervision is a two-tiered structure, comprised of three people: the practicum trainee, the primary supervisor (unlicensed clinician), and the supervisor of record (licensed psychologist). The primary supervisor is a doctoral intern or postdoctoral level unlicensed clinician. The first tier of supervision is the supervisory relationship between the practicum trainee and the primary supervisor. The primary supervisor meets weekly with the practicum trainee, views video recordings, and provides edits/feedback on the trainee’s case notes and intake reports. The second tier of supervision is the oversight of the first tier provided by the supervisor of record. The supervisor of record meets weekly with the primary supervisor, provides consultation regarding the practicum trainee’s cases and supervision, and provides the final signature on the practicum trainee’s case notes.

Trainees participate in extensive orientation training. In early August, practicum trainees participate in CAPS New Clinician Orientation for 2 full days. Orientation activities continue during the first few weeks of the Fall semester. The orientation covers all major services and activities of the agency, as well as tours of affiliated departments. The training program is reviewed in detail, acquainting trainees with their assignments and options for the year. Time is built in to allow relationship-building with each other as a cohort, and with other staff with whom they will be working.

The Typical Week
The following hours are based on a standard 16 hours/week practicum. Trainees who commit to a higher number of practicum hours/week will be expected to carry a higher number of direct service hours.

Treatment Planning Sessions variable Practicum trainees learn to conduct a 50-minute assessment interview during which the clinician assesses the nature of the presenting concerns, client history and sets a treatment plan.
Individual Therapy 5 hours/week Practicum trainees schedule 5 individual therapy clients per week. Cases must be reviewed and approved by the primary supervisor. All sessions are to be video recorded.
Group Therapy 3 hours/week plus supervision Most practicum trainees will have the opportunity to be a process observer or a co-leader for at least two weekly 1.5-hour therapy groups co-facilitated by a staff member or an intern. Trainees receive 30 minutes per week of supervision on this group experience from the staff and intern co-leaders. In addition, practicum trainees participate in a regularly scheduled Group Therapy Case Conference (see Case Conference Meetings).
Crisis Intervention variable Practicum trainees do not have walk-in or after-hours crisis responsibilities. However, trainees may encounter crises involving Treatment Planning clients or clients on their own caseloads. Supervisors must always be informed and consulted when crises arise before the client leaves the center.
Individual Supervision 1 hour/week Practicum trainees are assigned primary clinical supervisors with whom they meet for one hour of individual supervision per week (see Practicum Supervision Tiered Structure). The primary supervisor is involved in an ongoing supervisory relationship with the trainee and has primary professional clinical responsibility for the cases on which he/she provides supervision. Typically a different primary supervisor is assigned in the Spring semester in order for the trainee to experience different supervisory styles.
Cohort Supervision 1 hour/week Each week all the CAPS practicum students will meet together with a supervisor for 1 hour of cohort supervision. Cohort supervision offers opportunities to give case presentations, review videos, receive peer feedback, and discuss professional development issues.
Paperwork & Preparation Time 4-5 hours/week Time is built into trainees’ schedules for paperwork and other preparation (review of client recordings, workshop design, supervision preparation, consultation). It is essential that paperwork is kept up to date at all times. Practicum trainees must forward all notes to their supervisors before leaving CAPS each week.
Outreach variable Trainees will have the opportunity to co-lead one or more Essential Skills Workshops (for depression or anxiety). Periodically, trainees are asked to staff CAPS information tables.
Case Conference Meetings 1 hour/week Trainees participate in a biweekly Group Therapy Case Conference meeting that includes all CAPS clinicians and focuses on exchanging clinical consultation related to group work. On alternate weeks, trainees participate in a biweekly Case Conference small team meeting that provides clinical consultation related to individual therapy work.

Evaluation and Feedback

Trainees and their supervisors are involved in mutual formal and informal evaluations throughout the year. They are encouraged to discuss goals for supervision, progress being made toward those goals and areas of supervision needing attention. Each evaluation period, supervisors and trainees complete a formal written evaluation of each other and the supervisory experience. Trainees are also asked to evaluate the training program itself. Information gathered from evaluations is used to assess trainees' progress and to make needed changes in the supervision process and/or the practicum program.