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Clinical Practicum & COVID

jumper5

New Member
Apr 29, 2020
2
0
1
  1. Pre-Dental
I will be starting a reputable Psy.D program this fall. We are meant to start working with clients during the first quarter of the program; though I've become concerned about the practicum experience due to COVID-19. Is anyone currently a doctoral student who is completing practicum experience during this tumultuous time? If so, could you please share your experience (virtual/in-person; # of hours; amount of supervision; etc.)? Thank you.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
10,390
4,822
276
  1. Psychologist
I will be starting a reputable Psy.D program this fall. We are meant to start working with clients during the first quarter of the program; though I've become concerned about the practicum experience due to COVID-19. Is anyone currently a doctoral student who is completing practicum experience during this tumultuous time? If so, could you please share your experience (virtual/in-person; # of hours; amount of supervision; etc.)? Thank you.

You have 5 years. Whats the rush with seeing patients?
 
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PsyDuck90

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2018
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I agree with Wis and erg that it's surprising that you will be starting practicum right away.

The way it will look will vary by state and even site. In my cohort, during all this, we had students who were not allowed to do telehealth from home and others who were. Many sites for the coming cycle who had a summer start date pushed it back by a month or more. Also, things are starting to open back up, so what sites have been doing may not be what they will be doing when you come on board. Number of hours per week will largely be dependent on your program, you, and your site. My program has guidelines regarding how many hours of practicum you can do per week which can be found in our handbook, I would recommend you read yours (for a variety of reasons). Supervision will also vary by site. You are entitled to 1 hour of supervision with a licensed psychologist for every 4 hours of direct client contact. Some sites give more, others may try to give less.
 
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Sanman

O.G.
Sep 2, 2000
3,195
3,167
376
Dreaming of Margaritaville
  1. Psychologist
I had practicum my first year of grad school. It was largely focused on structured clinical interview and very basic assessment skills the first year with a supervisor in the room to ask anything I missed. No psychotherapy the first year. I would be less concerned about the experience as I feel that it will be a lot basics and observing a supervisor do things rather than independent practice of skills like in more advanced years (or at least this is my assumption). Does the OP know what type of placement they will be at for the first year/semester?
 
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WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
13,763
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276
Somewhere
  1. Psychologist
I had practicum my first year of grad school. It was largely focused on structured clinical interview and very basic assessment skills the first year with a supervisor in the room to ask anything I missed. No psychotherapy the first year. I would be less concerned about the experience as I feel that it will be a lot basics and observing a supervisor do things rather than independent practice of skills like in more advanced years (or at least this is my assumption). Does the OP know what type of placement they will be at for the first year/semester?

We also did structured interviews later in the year. Can be much more procedure driven than needing to think on your feet as much. We also had multiple sessions, so supervisors could advise us on follow-up questions for our subsequent meeting. If that is what the prac is for the OP, that'd be ok. If they're starting therapy out of the gate, that's just an ethical quagmire right there. Not too mention a huge legal liability concern for the program.
 
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erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
10,390
4,822
276
  1. Psychologist
I had practicum my first year of grad school. It was largely focused on structured clinical interview and very basic assessment skills the first year with a supervisor in the room to ask anything I missed. No psychotherapy the first year. I would be less concerned about the experience as I feel that it will be a lot basics and observing a supervisor do things rather than independent practice of skills like in more advanced years (or at least this is my assumption). Does the OP know what type of placement they will be at for the first year/semester?

Something after the first year in which foundations of psychological science and a basic therapy and interviewing course have already been passed, not to mention an ethics course seems fine. After first quarter???? No way!
 
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jumper5

New Member
Apr 29, 2020
2
0
1
  1. Pre-Dental
I had practicum my first year of grad school. It was largely focused on structured clinical interview and very basic assessment skills the first year with a supervisor in the room to ask anything I missed. No psychotherapy the first year. I would be less concerned about the experience as I feel that it will be a lot basics and observing a supervisor do things rather than independent practice of skills like in more advanced years (or at least this is my assumption). Does the OP know what type of placement they will be at for the first year/semester?
Not sure about the placement yet. Thank you for your response
 

Spydra

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2014
380
378
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  1. Psychology Student
Not sure if the OP is still wondering, but I'm currently in a doctoral program and am still completing my practicums during this time. One practicum switched to telepsych and it really doesn't feel any different than in person. My show/no-show rate remained the same, but now when clients flake they at least send an email saying 'sorry I'm flaking.' I still have weekly individual and group supervision, though now it is conducted via video conferencing. My supervisors remain available via cell phone as well. I have the option of resuming in person treatment with strict guidelines in the Fall, but telepsych is working so well for me and my clients that I'm continuing in that format. My supervisors also agree continuing in that format is fine.

My other practicum closed for a couple months because the population seen is immuno-compromised and the supervisor had to figure out how to continue to train students well, provide excellent services, and keep everyone safe. Once all of that was ironed out we resumed in person services with strict restrictions per CDC and state requirements. So its not the fun atmosphere it used to be, but I'm still getting great training and supervision. I do get fewer hours here now as clients are required to have a negative COVID test to show up, but sometimes quality over quantity is what matters. I will continue in the Fall and restrictions will be modified as mandated.
 
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