Training Program

Welcome to the Clark University Center for Counseling and Personal Growth. Thank you for your interest in our advanced practicum training program. You will find that our program offers a wealth of training and clinical opportunities, a supportive environment, and the flexibility to tailor the practicum experience to fit your individual training needs. Our staff is enthusiastic about your training and dedicated to help guide you in your journey to become a therapist.

Training program overview

Graduate (both doctoral and master's level) practicum trainees are an integral part of the Center for Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG) at Clark University. Practicum trainees are encouraged to actively participate in various aspects of CPG's functioning and to assume a major role in the delivery of services. CPG is committed to maintaining a practicum training program that facilitates learning and professional development for trainees. Our staff places a high premium on creating an environment that is professionally stimulating, open to change, and sufficiently flexible to accommodate individual training needs.

Clark University is a private, liberal arts university that is located in Worcester, Massachusetts. Its diverse student population consists of 2,500 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students. It is widely known for its Psychology and Geography Departments. Clark students are passionately committed to community and social justice issues. Clark University is widely known for being the location of Sigmund Freud's famous "Clark Lectures" in 1909, which introduced psychoanalysis to the United States.

The practicum training program at CPG employs a self-of-the-therapist training model. Training within this model calls for work in which the trainees see and understand their own personal issues, and work with them in all aspects of their training process. Self-of-the-therapist work is the willingness of a therapist or supervisor to participate in a process that requires introspective work on issues in the trainee's own life, and its impact on the therapeutic process and relationship. Through the presence of humor, collegiality, and an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding, our training program allows an environment for this process to safely and comfortably occur.

Practicum training program elements

Practicum students are expected to complete a 600-hour commitment during the academic year. This averages out to between 20-24 hours per week. Each week, the hours will be broken down between direct client contact, individual supervision, group supervision, didactic seminar, outreach (including preparation for programming), and administrative time. Each practicum trainee is expected to carry a direct client caseload of between 10-12 individual clients per week.

  • Direct Client Contact: Doctoral practicum trainees are expected to conduct initial intake appointments of "first time" clients of the Center for Counseling & Personal Growth. In addition to conducting intake appointments during the academic year, trainees will provide individual counseling services for clients. Sessions generally adhere to a short-term model of mental health services; however, for a well-rounded training experience, trainees might see some clients throughout the course of the academic year. There is an orientation period at the start of the practicum that is geared toward preparation for this role as counselor.
  • Individual Supervision: Trainees will attend weekly individual meetings with their primary supervisor. During these scheduled meetings, trainees will review cases/clients, develop case formulations, and discuss treatment options as well as treatment progress. Based on the trainee's academic program requirements, some may be required to audiotape or videotape parts of sessions (with client permission); these can be reviewed in supervision in order to improve self-awareness, client care, and attention to professional ethics. In addition to these weekly supervision times, trainees are encouraged to consult with other staff members as needed or as appropriate. Consulting with staff, and reading relevant articles/research, will help trainees learn to integrate research and theory with their clinical experiences.
  • Group Supervision: Along with weekly individual supervision, practicum trainees will also take part in weekly group supervision. During group supervision, trainees have the opportunity to exchange a broader range of viewpoints, and receive more diverse input. Through a collaborative discussion about clients, group supervision offers trainees an environment of support and safety in which they are able to ask questions, express common concerns, explore their thoughts and feelings about clients, and discuss positive and negative outcomes.
  • Didactic Seminar: Trainees participate in a weekly didactic seminar where various counseling staff and members from the community present on clinical topics relating to the college student population. During the spring semester, trainees will each present one topic of personal interest to the team, in order to increase their hands-on understanding of college/university counseling. The goal of these meetings is not only to present specific counseling information, but also to provide additional supervision and support.
  • Outreach Opportunities: The university environment offers ample opportunity to work with a variety of students; thus, each trainee is expected to provide one outreach type of service to the university community per semester. This service can be completed in many different forms; for example, a presentation to students in a residence hall, athletic programming for a sports team, or co-leading a therapeutic group with a staff member. Trainees will discuss this and plan with their supervisor on how to meet this expectation during their training experience.

Application process

Psychology graduate students (doctoral and master's level) interested in applying to the Clark University Center for Counseling & Personal Growth practicum training program should send a Letter of Interest, Curriculum Vita, and 2 letters of reference.  For the 2017-2018 training year, application materials are due on 1/3/17.  Interviews are conducted during the beginning of spring semester (late January /early February). Our site adheres to honoring the Practicum Training Collaborative Notification date of 2/6/17.  Please send application materials to:

L. Megan Kersting, Psy.D., Director 
Center for Counseling & Personal Growth 
Clark University 
950 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01610
508-793-7678
mkersting@clarku.edu