Supervised experience as a counselor-in-training constitutes a substantial portion of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program curriculum. The sequence of experiential courses includes the Pre-practicum (COUN 502), Individual Practicum (COUN 504), Group Practicum (COUN 506), and the Internship (COUN 510). In the fall term of the first year of the program, CMHC students take COUN 502-Introduction to Helping Skills in which they are introduced to the field of mental health counseling and an array of counseling micro skills common to all therapeutic orientations (see SOU Catalog for course description). Opportunity to practice these skills and to receive weekly group supervision is provided. The Individual Counseling Practicum (COUN 504) builds upon this platform in the winter term. CMHC students meet with undergraduate volunteer clients to practice counseling skills, integrate a theoretical approach, and continue learning how to use supervision as a vehicle to enhance professional performance. COUN 506, the Group Counseling Practicum, maintains this process with a focus on learning how to facilitate a group of volunteer clients in concert with a co-leader. Completion of 100 hours of practicum is required, including 40-hours of direct client contact. Upon successful completion of the practicum series and other coursework related to ethical, sound counseling practice, students may begin an internship.
Internship (COUN 510) typically begins in the summer between the first and second year of the program. Students function as mental health counseling interns in agencies and institutions throughout southern Oregon and northern California. Completion of 600 hours of internship is required, at least 280 of which must be direct client contact. This combination of experiential training gained in COUN 504, COUN 506, and COUN 510 meets national counselor education standards (CACREP) and specifically, the requirements of the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (OBLPCT) toward eventual Registered Intern eligibility and licensure (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Liability Insurance for CMHC students
The Oregon Tort Claims Act (ORS 30.260-30.300) prohibits SOU from accepting liability for the acts, omissions, and conduct of students participating in practica and internship assignments either on-campus or in off-campus agencies. To protect CMHC students in the event of possible litigation each CMHC student is required to carry liability insurance to cover their professional work during practica/internship assignments. Liability insurance is available through American Mental Health Counseling Association (AMHCA) or American Counseling Association (ACA) student membership. Coverage must be obtained no later than the 5th week of COUN 502, the first practicum experience (see date on syllabus). Liability policies typically cover a one year period and will need to be renewed in the second year of the program. A copy of the policy cover sheet must be on file with the CMHC Office Coordinator and an updated copy given at the time of renewal. Practica and internship will not proceed without verification of liability insurance.