A Masters of Counselling degree with the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology (GCAP) normally involves the completion of an eight month practicum placement (September to April). The nature of a practicum experience and the activities and expectations for supervisors, students, and faculty members will vary from one practicum site to another. However, some activities and expectations are common to all practicum experiences. These are listed below.
||Students are expected to spend 500 hours on site during the practicum, and do 250 hours o direct client contact. Over the 26 weeks of the course, this is approximately 19.5 hours/week on site, and 9.5 hours of direct client contact. Students may see clients between the Fall and Winter semesters, in the Winter Break period, if permitted by the practicum site. Client contact and supervision will normally occur weekly.
As a condition of the practicum, some agencies may require students to spend more than the minimum time required by the university, or to participate in other activities not required by the university (e.g., training seminars, telephone intake, etc.). Although any such conditions are between the agency and the student, they must be specified on the Learning Plan when it is initially developed.
Direct client contact is defined as an activity in which the student interacts face to face with the client(s), and includes:
Sixty percent of direct client contact should consist of individual counselling. Case preparation/treatment planning, psychological test interpretation, writing case notes and reports, telephone intake/contact, case conferences and case management activities without the client(s) present, and observing others perform counselling are not direct client contact.
- Individual counselling (see minimum expected hours below);
- Family or couples' counselling;
- Group counselling;
- Active participation in reflecting teams with the client; students may count the time that they spend in the view of the client(s) when they are interacting with them;
- Face to face interviewing and/or testing as part of a formal assessment;
- Face to face intake sessions, provided the tasks are clinical in nature;
- Case conferences when the client is present;
- Co-counselling is acceptable provided the student's role is to interact with the client(s), and not simply observe. Generally, co-counselling is a more appropriate activity at the beginning of a placement.
||Students must receive 1 hour per week in supervision for each 5 hours of direct client contact (an average of two hours per week). At least 50% of supervision must be individual supervision. The remainder may be group supervision. At least 50% of supervision should be based on direct observation (live supervision, video-recording, or co-counselling) of the student's work.
||There will be one mid-term formative evaluation, conducted between the student, supervisor, and practicum instructor at the end of the Fall semester. There will be a final summative evaluation conducted between the student, supervisor, and practicum instructor at the end of the Winter semester.
In order to be approved, practicum supervisors must possess:
- a graduate degree in a counselling-related discipline, approved by the Practicum Coordinator.
- a recognized professional designation that permits them to practice counselling or psychotherapy in their jurisdiction, including, but not limited to:
- Registered Psychologist (College of Alberta Psychologists);
- o Certified Canadian Counsellor (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association);
- Registered Clinical Counsellor (BC Association of Clinical Counsellors);
- Clinical Membership (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy);
- Authorization for the Restricted Activity of Psychosocial Interventions or Membership on the Clinical Register (Alberta College of Social Workers);
- An equivalent provincial or state professional designation/licence approved by the Practicum Coordinator.
- a minimum of four years pertinent professional experience.
Because of the distributed delivery format of the GCAP program, practicum supervisors must also meet the following criteria:
Students may work with different professionals in the practicum site. However, the primary responsibility for their development will rest with one supervisor. Under the direction of the supervisor, the student may observe or work with other members of the setting who do not meet the qualifications of the primary supervisor.
If you have questions about your involvement in this role, please contact the GCAP Practicum Coordinator: