Advice for Practicum and Interns

As an intern, it can be stressful to manage your education along with your supervision requirements, but you can get through it with these helpful tips:
  1. Be prepared. When you begin your internship, come prepared with your schedule and with times that you will be available. Be sure to include any dates that you will definitely not be available so that your supervisor is aware of those dates in advance. Additionally, you are often required to record your counseling sessions, which is why you should be sure to have either a digital or tape recorder with you at all times. Those sessions are subject to the same confidentiality requirements you must adhere to when you begin your practice. If you can, find a safe, lockable container at work where you can store the recorder while you’re not using it.
  1. Make it your priority. Your supervision hours and internship requirements are some of the most important components of becoming a licensed professional counselor, so please make them your priority. Make sure that you take the initiative to get your hours in early, and often, so that you don’t come to the realization half way through the semester that you haven’t completed enough hours or recorded enough counseling sessions.
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; this is the time to learn. Many students go into their internship under the belief that their supervisor knows exactly what to cover and that they will be able to explain everything they need to know. But, it is important to be as proactive as possible. If your supervisor goes over something you don’t understand, ask about it. If you find out something in class and you want to know what they think, talk to them. You are going through your internship to learn and the best way to do that is by asking questions when you feel unsure.
  1. Document everything. This is important. You want to make sure that you have detailed logs of all your sessions and the time you spent under supervision. It’s suggested that you keep two logs, one for your hours, and another for more detailed information. You will be surprised at how much this will help you, even after graduation.

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Dr. Cindy Nelson is a graduate of Texas Woman’s University and has been a practicing family and marriage therapist since 2001. She specializes in: grief counseling, relationship issues, trauma recovery, depression, help with transitions and major life changes.