Program Coordinator: Ermine Leader, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Who We Are
Counselling & Disability Services (CDS) at York University provides psychological and academic support services to members of the York University community. Included among the services provided are personal counselling (individual, group, couple), assistance in the development of learning skills, specialized support to university-able students with learning, mental health, physical, sensory and medical disabilities, and various consultative and outreach activities to the York University community including critical incident responding. Our clients are undergraduate and graduate students registered at the university, and consultations with faculty and staff occur as required.
The Personal Counselling Service (PCS) unit of CDS functions much like an outpatient mental health clinic for a medium sized community (pop. 60,000) with the wide range of diversity among clients with respect to such things as presenting problem, gender and sexual orientation, race/ethnic/cultural affiliation, ability/disability, religion, age, relationship status etc.
Personal Counselling Services offers an intensive eight and one-half month training program in counselling/psychotherapy to psychology and social work students who are at the masters and doctoral levels in their education and attending accredited universities in Canada or the USA. We provide a practicum placement of 500 plus hours for 15 interns. There are psychologists/psychological associates available for supervision of psychology interns as well as social workers who supervise social work interns. We now also registered psychotherapists who are apart of our supervision team. Supervisors are registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario or with the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers of Ontario or with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Collectively, the staff work from a variety of theoretical schools including but not limited to Person Centred, Cognitive Behavioural, Experiential, Adlerian, Humanistic and Systemic.
Our focus is on training interns to be generalists as they develop their own personal approaches to counselling. Supervision is tailored to the needs of interns whether this is their first or last placement. We welcome those who are at the beginning of their training as well as those who come with advanced clinical experience. We offer a number of learning experiences: intake consultation/assessments, crisis intervention, exposure to and training in various theoretical models of counselling/psychotherapy for individuals, couples and groups. Opportunities are available to work with a wide variety of client populations and presenting problems including but not limited to coping with developmental milestones, anxiety disorders, depression, sequelae of present and historic trauma, chronic physical illness, sexuality, relationship difficulties, crossing borders and cultures.
Roles and Duties of Interns
Orientation to the CDS setting and staff in general and to Personal Counselling Services in particular will occur for two days in late August before York classes begin. Interns can expect to be onsite about 20 hours per week (3 days), working under the supervision of a Senior Staff Counsellor (psychologist or social worker as required by your program). You will be part of a team of interns and staff that has "Front line" responsibilities one day per week. This involves clinical intake assessments as well as crisis intervention. During the other hours at PCS, interns will carry a caseload of five to eight ongoing counselling clients. Extensive supervision occurs in both small group and individual format, about four hours per week plus a 1 1/2 hour team case disposition meeting. Interns are required to record all sessions for supervision review. With such a large number of interns in training, there are always opportunities for peer consultation. All interns are expected to attend the two-hour weekly Colloquium Series given by staff and guest speakers from the community. These colloquia are interactive, focusing on the process of psychotherapy, ethics, professional standards, working with specific populations or clinical problems. The emphasis in these meetings is on the applied rather than the theoretical. Staff or intern case presentations will augment training. The time and day of these training sessions will be available in the spring. Optional learning opportunities occur and vary each year. The opportunity exists for some interns to co-facilitate one of our ongoing groups, depending on group enrolment and client and staffing needs. Some years, staff run training groups on different topics related to the process of therapy.
Applications for placements are available on our website or from the Intern Training Coordinator. The Intern Training Coordinator and possibly other staff will interview and accept interns into the training program. Assignments to Team Day and primary supervisor occur during Orientation in August. Applications are accepted from January on, with interviews held in April and May or earlier if required by your program. Late applications may be considered. There is no stipend at present. Although our program is not APA/CPA accredited, we do meet the criteria outlined in the APPIC guidelines. We do not offer a pre-doctoral internship but this could change in the future.
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