Counseling and Psychological Services offers a training program allowing graduate students in psychology and counseling programs a chance to gain hands-on experience for a semester or full year.

Training Philosophy

The program is designed to support mental health professionals in-training as they develop the skills required to function as a generalist in an outpatient setting. Based on the practitioner-scholar model of training, we focus efforts on the integration of practical, hands-on experience with best practices and scholarly research to support the trainee’s professional identity and transferable professional skills. Paralleling our mission and diversity statements, trainees in this setting will be supported in their development of multicultural humility, with a commitment to affirming and promoting diverse and socially-just values.

Commitment to Diversity and Advocacy

As a training facility, we strive to recognize the impacts of oppression and privilege, to become advocates for social change within our center as clinicians and within our own personal privileges in the many spaces we occupy. Cultural humility is a never-ending journey to create social change and community wellness. We acknowledge that our center is at a predominantly white institution (PWI) and the power dynamics within a counseling setting may impact the experience of the individuals in and around the institution. We are actively engaged in discussions related to injustices experienced by marginalized communities. Trainees can expect opportunities to discuss issues related to sexism, heterosexism, homophobia, racism, classism, ableism, anti-semitism, and ageism. 

Our commitment to counselor diversity and multicultural training are modeled after recommendations from the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies

  • Counselor Self Awareness
  • Clients World View
  • Counseling Relationship
  • Counseling and Advocacy Interventions

Overview of Training Activities

Our center offers a wide variety of services to Colgate students through a short-term treatment delivery model, providing trainees with the opportunity to work with a variety of clients seeking varying levels of care. Based on a strengths-based approach to training, we seek to individualize each trainee’s experience at our site through consideration of interests, unique skills, and stage of professional development. Our training staff believes in the utility of learning through doing, and therefore offer a scaffolded approach to learning new skills to provide support and build trust (watch one, do one). We are able to accommodate the training needs of students from a variety of training disciplines and will work with a trainee’s program to determine acceptable arrangements for supervision and other requirements (e.g., clinical hours). We offer trainees many professional training opportunities within a collegiate mental health outpatient setting including:

  • in-vivo clinical experiences (individual and group therapy), 
  • clinical skills training (clinical evaluation, treatment planning, clinical documentation, crisis intervention),
  • opportunities for building clinical subject-matter expertise (i.e., trauma, eating disorders, anxiety),
  • diversity and social advocacy work, 
  • formal supervision (individual and group supervision), 
  • professional development and case consultation, 
  • training seminars, 
  • administrative assistance for an area of coordination (i.e. outreach, group coordination), 
  • professional modeling and relationship-building with staff.

Typical Training Schedule

We ask trainees to make a minimum commitment to be at our site for two days per week for the duration of at least one semester, but strongly prefer to have trainees commit to our site for a full academic year (two semesters). Trainees are expected to attend one of our two staff meetings per week on either Tuesdays or Fridays 8:30am-10:00am, and should plan their training schedule around this requirement. Specific schedules can vary depending on the trainee’s needs and assigned responsibilities, but typically most work hours are within 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Occasionally, trainees will volunteer to attend an event outside of typical hours. Below is an example distribution of hours across two semesters. 

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Day 1 1 hour individual supervision
1 hour intake session
4 hours individual therapy
1 hour didactic or group therapy seminar
1 hour individual supervision
1 hour intake session
3-4 hours individual therapy
1.5 hours co-lead group therapy
.5 hour supervision of group
Day 2 1.5 hours group supervision
1 hour intake sessions
4 hours individual therapy
1 hour documentation
1.5 hours group supervision
1 hour intake sessions
4 hours individual therapy
1 hour documentation

Evaluation Process

Our training staff believe that high quality learning happens in a safe and trusting environment, where feedback is given and received openly. As such, trainees can expect to receive informal feedback regularly from their individual supervisor, and may ask for additional feedback from any staff member or during a staff meeting, such as Friday’s clinical staff meeting where we discuss individual cases and groups. Formal evaluation of the trainee occurs as required by their specific program, but is typically done mid-semester and at the end of the semester by the individual supervisor. If the trainee is working closely with additional staff members, the individual supervisor will seek out feedback from the other staff for the formal evaluation process. The trainee and supervisor will review the formal evaluation together with opportunity to ask questions and clarify feedback before the evaluation is finalized and signed. 

As a training site we are committed to continued learning and seek to continue to evolve our training program to meet the needs of current students. We value all feedback about a trainee’s experience at our site and encourage trainees to offer feedback throughout their placement both through informal and formal channels. The individual supervisor will invite feedback throughout the placement, and can work with the trainee to make on-board changes if something is not working well. If the trainee does not feel comfortable sharing informal feedback about their training with their individual supervisor, they are encouraged to approach the counseling center director or another staff member. Trainees are asked to complete a formal evaluation of the individual supervisor and overall experience of the training site at the end of each semester. 

Documentation of Training Hours

Trainees are encouraged to document all hours involved in training activities and comply with their program’s requirements for recording training and clinical contact hours. Our scheduling system, Titanium, can also be used to track hours if used diligently throughout the placement. At the beginning of the placement trainees should speak with their individual supervisor about their method of tracking training hours and notify the supervisor of any requirements to submit or sign-off on documented training hours. 

Available Supervisors

The decision regarding the individual supervisor is based on the trainee’s training discipline and program requirements, and state requirements for licensure. Trainees are responsible for identifying their supervision requirements and are encouraged to research state requirements for supervision when intending to pursue licensure in their discipline. We will do our best to assign each trainee their preferred individual supervisor when possible, dependent upon center needs and distribution of staff responsibilities. 

Counseling Center Staff