Skip to Main Content
You are in the main content


Internship Activities

The internship training program at the Counseling Center is designed to be flexible enough to allow interns the opportunity to sample from a variety of activities to meet their unique training needs while also supporting the clinical needs of the Center. Efforts are made to individualize each intern's training experience as much as possible and are outlined in a Training Agreement. Listed below is the variety of training experiences available for interns, followed by a sample schedule which indicates the proportion of time interns will spend in each activity. Please note that the following activities and hours are subject to change each internship year.

Direct Service

Individual counseling and psychotherapy. Individual counseling is primarily short-term, time limited therapy. Interns carry an average weekly caseload of 12-14 individual clients and are permitted to carry two long-term clients, who may be seen for the entire year. Interns may also provide counseling services to sexual assault survivors, a specific population to whom the counseling center offers long-term treatment if indicated. In the course of their clinical work, interns may engage in psychological testing as part of the assessment process, refer clients for medication assessment and diagnostic consultation with the Counseling Center's psychiatrist, and refer to other on-campus and off-campus resources, with the opportunity to utilize case management services as needed, to provide the best possible care to clients.

Initial Assessments. After an initial period of orientation and training, each intern will provide three initial assessments per week. The primary goals of the initial assessment session are to provide the student with the opportunity to discuss his/her reasons for seeking counseling, to determine a course of action (i.e., referral within the center or out), and to educate the student about the process of therapy/counseling. Initial assessments are scheduled for 30 minutes; clients complete paperwork prior to meeting with the initial assessment counselor. Occasionally more time is needed and the initial assessment counselor may schedule a second or extended initial assessment session.

Group Counseling. Each intern will be expected to co-facilitate at least one therapy group per semester. During orientation, interns will have an opportunity to choose from several groups, such as general therapy (3-4 groups per semester), eating disorders, women's process, sexual assault survivors, Q2Q (Queer to Questioning for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender or questioning individuals), and other groups that may form each semester to meet the clinical needs of students, such as coping with anxiety, and coping with grief and loss. Interns facilitating more than one group in a semester receive a reduction in their individual clinical caseloads.

Crisis Intervention. All interns are provided the opportunity to develop skills in crisis intervention. Each intern provides 4.5 hours of emergency coverage per week during regular Center operating hours and 2 weeks of after hours on-call coverage per semester. For after-hours emergency coverage, interns have a senior staff member designated as a back-up who must be consulted with for any emergency phone call or intervention. In the event that interns need to go to campus for emergency contacts, they must be accompanied by senior staff members. Interns will also be provided with back-up consultation and supervision for office hours emergency coverage throughout the internship year.

Outreach programming. The preventive and educational work of the Center is considered an essential service. Each intern will actively engage in a total of 6 outreach programs during the academic year. They are encouraged to complete 3 of these programs by the end of the fall semester. One out of the three outreach programs can be staffing a Counseling Center information table to educate the campus community about services offered at the Counseling Center. Outreach programs are typically presented to students, faculty, staff in a variety of settings (e.g., classes, clubs, organizations and residence halls). Interns develop their outreach materials and presentation skills with the support of Center staff.

Consultation. Interns will have the opportunity to participate in a formal consulting relationship with Office of Residence Life. Each intern will be paired with a senior staff member to act as a consulting team or to receive supervision for consultative services provided to the JMU community. The intern will work with various Office of Residence Life Area Coordinators, Hall Directors, and Resident Advisors in consultation about student concerns, programming and staffing issues. Interns also have the opportunity to consult with a variety of students, staff, faculty and parents during their scheduled emergency coverage times.

Supervision. Interns can expect to supervise one doctoral-level practicum student for one hour per week during the fall and spring semesters. In addition, interns will participate in a one-hour weekly group supervision of supervision seminar with a senior staff member to assist interns' development of intermediate to advanced skills and knowledge in the area of providing clinical supervision.

Training Tracks. Interns select an emphasis area in which they will work with a senior staff member in a particular program or clinical area of interest. Training tracks include 1) Crisis Response and Recovery; 2) Eating Disorders; 3) Group Therapy; 4) Sexual Trauma Empowerment Program; and 5) Teaching. Descriptions of the emphasis areas are as follows:

  • Crisis Response and Recovery: As crisis response is becoming an increasingly important aspect of working within a University Counseling Center setting, doctoral interns will have the opportunity to develop expertise in the area of crisis/emergency response and recovery. Working closely with the Crisis Response and Recovery Coordinator, interns will have the opportunity to engage in the provision of additional emergency services (walk-in and after-hours), consultation with students, faculty, staff, and parents pertaining to risk or crisis situations, individual counseling with students presenting with acute stressors and/or trauma history, group counseling (e.g., General Trauma, Grief), and crisis response to the larger JMU community, as needed. Additionally, along with the CSDC Director and Associate Director, interns will have the opportunity to be involved with the JMU Behavioral Assessment Team to gain a better understanding of campus threat assessment and management. Interns may also have the opportunity to participate in various professional development opportunities such as trainings regarding suicide risk reduction, community emergency response, and treatment of trauma. The Crisis Response and Recovery Track can be customized to meet the intern’s specific interests and needs, but will include emergency coverage, individual counseling, and weekly individual supervision. Coordinated by Dr. Sylvia Hanna.

  • Eating Disorders: Help Overcome Problems with Eating and Exercise (HOPE): An intern would develop an expertise in the area of eating disorders through opportunities such as being a member of the multidisciplinary team, "Help Overcome Problems with Eating and Exercise," which meets weekly to evaluate student needs and progress in the comprehensive treatment of an eating disorder. Advertising, consultation, and outreach specifically about eating disorders and services here at JMU to address eating disordered issues would also be a responsibility of that intern. Additionally, that intern would have opportunities to treat individuals with body image issues individually and within a group treatment modality. Coordinated by Shirley Cobb.
  • Group Therapy: This experience would consist of doing an additional group with the Counseling Center's Group Coordinator and assisting with the Group Supervision Seminar. 
  • Sexual Trauma Empowerment Program: Interns will have the opportunity to develop expertise in the area of sexual assault response across different clinical and administrative areas. Working closely with the Sexual Trauma Empowerment Program (STEP) Coordinator, interns have the opportunity to engage in: individual counseling with sexual assault survivors; group counseling with sexual assault survivors; crisis response for sexual assault survivors; advocacy services for sexual assault survivors; consultation with faculty, friends, and families related to concerns about a sexual assault survivor; training and education of sexual assault counseling and response for interested Counseling Center or JMU staff (e.g., internal training for trainees, external trainings for student groups); opportunities to liaise with relevant systems on campus including Judicial Affairs, the University Health Center, the Office of Public Safety, Student Wellness and Outreach, CARE (Campus Assault ResponsE) and the community based Sexual Assault Response Team (SART); finally, collaboration around the administrative issues for sexual assault response services including advertising, marketing, and assessment of the efficiency and efficacy of service delivery. The sexual assault counseling and response track can be customized to meet the intern's specific interests but will certainly include individual and group counseling and weekly individual supervision. Coordinated by Dr. Leslie Gerrard.
  • Teaching: Interns have the opportunity to teach a semester long course in an entry-level undergraduate course (e.g., Introduction to Abnormal Psychology, Introduction to Psychology, Life Span Human Development) in the spring semester. Interns will be expected to attend to diversity issues within the classroom and how these might impact various learning styles, teaching approach, and assessment of knowledge and skills. Interns will utilize empirically supported research in preparation for class lectures. Additionally, they will be asked to discuss in supervision and integrate into lectures how scholarly information contributes to clinical practice. One to two hours of weekly supervision will be provided to interns throughout the fall semester to help them prepare for teaching in the spring. This will include a combination of didactic components and specific course-planning. Interns will be observed providing a mock-lecture during the fall semester, and will be provided with feedback about the lecture to help hone their teaching skills. Finally, during the fall semester, interns will be expected to observe at least two lectures by different professors teaching the course the intern is preparing. Once they begin their teaching assignments during the spring semester, one hour of supervision will be provided every other week. Additionally, interns will be observed in the classroom on two occasions and provided with feedback about their teaching style, effectiveness, and lesson planning. At the end of the semester, interns will receive feedback about various components of their course via student evaluations and will also be provided with feedback from their supervisor about their overall participation in the teaching track. Coordinated by Dr. Jerrod Koon.

Training Components

Individual supervision. Interns receive three hours of weekly individual supervision. They will receive 2 hours of supervision from their "Primary Clinical Supervisor(s)," a Licensed Clinical Psychologist on staff. Primary clinical supervisors supervise the same intern for one semester. Interns also meet with the training director, a secondary supervisor, for one hour every week for the entire year. At the start of supervision, each intern will be asked to submit a brief outline or statement of his/her training goals which is based on a self-assessment of skills completed by the intern and feedback from each intern's graduate institution regarding the intern's strengths and suggested areas for improvement at the completion of doctoral level coursework. Together with their supervisor(s) and Training Director, interns will determine the actions and experiences necessary to attain their individualized training goals.

Clinical supervisors will assist interns in applying psychological theory and research to their clinical work, refine interns' case conceptualization and treatment planning skills, and support interns' personal and professional development throughout the internship year. Select readings and therapy case studies will be assigned that will emphasize the application of psychological research and theory to clinical work. Interns will be expected to show videotaped segments of their therapy sessions with Counseling Center clients and incorporate concepts from the assigned readings into discussing their clinical work and development as a therapist.

Group Supervision and Seminar. Interns will meet with a senior staff clinician for one-half hour per week of group supervision throughout the internship year. In addition to individual supervision, the group coordinator will facilitate seminars on applying psychological theory and research to their clinical work, refining interns' case conceptualization and treatment planning skills, and supporting interns' personal and professional development throughout the internship year. Select readings and therapy case studies will be assigned that will emphasize the application of psychological research and theory to clinical work. 

Training Seminar. This weekly seminar meets for 1.5 hours and provides additional training in one of several areas: 1) clinical issues, such as diagnosis and treatment; 2) professional issues/ethics; 3) multicultural and diversity issues; 4) outreach and consultation; 5.) theoretical application; and 6) assessment. Trainees have the opportunity to request topics for Training Seminar during the fall, spring and summer semesters and every effort is made to include their interests into the training seminar schedule. Coordinated by Dr. Ilene Magee.

Supervision of Supervision Seminar. Interns attend a one hour weekly supervision of supervision seminar during fall and spring semesters of the internship year. This seminar focuses on both didactic and process issues relevant to the provision of supervision by interns. The goal of the seminar is to assist interns in the development of intermediate to advanced skills and knowledge in the area of clinical supervision. Interns will meet weekly with the seminar facilitator to discuss supervision issues, present videotapes of their sessions with supervisees and of their supervisees' sessions with clients, and read assigned articles and book chapters regarding supervision issues for discussion in the seminar. Coordinated by Dr. David Onestak.

Crisis Intervention Seminar. This weekly seminar meets for 30 minutes to discuss clinical issues related to emergency coverage and after hours crisis intervention services. The senior staff member who is on-call for after hours coverage each week will report on any emergencies that occurred during the prior week and the clinical and practical issues related to effective crisis intervention. In addition, a sequential training model will assist interns in understanding the policies and procedures of providing emergency coverage at the Counseling Center, assessing suicidal risk, liability and legal issues relevant to crisis interventions with the college student population, addressing major crisis events at JMU, and the appropriate use of referral resources when responding to crisis situations. Discussions will include reviewing recent client contacts for emergency services at the Center, including, but not limited to, reason for referral, assessment of client functioning, recommendations, and follow-up considerations. Coordinated by Shirley Cobb, LPC, Nina Critz, LPC, and Sylvia Hanna, Psy.D.

Outreach Seminar. The goal of the seminar is to assist interns in the development of intermediate to advanced skills and knowledge in the area of outreach. Interns attend two seminars at the start of the academic year that focus on outreach responsibilities and opportunities, outreach training, and assessing the interns' abilities, interests, and experiences with various outreach topics. Following these two meetings, interns will attend a monthly supervision session, during which outreach opportunities, experiences, and challenges will continue to be discussed. When an intern has provided an outreach presentation, a 30 minute individual supervision meeting will be scheduled to review the outreach experience and accompanying evaluations. Additional individual outreach supervision meetings will be scheduled, as needed. 

Diversity Seminar. Center staff and interns have the opportunity to participate in a monthly meeting to discuss topics related to multicultural competencies in counseling. Coordinated by Shirley Cobb, LPC.

Professional Development Seminar. All Counseling Center clinical staff and interns meet for a 90 minute monthly professional development meeting. Counseling Center staff and professionals from the JMU campus and local community are invited to present on areas of expertise. Interns will present a professional development seminar to senior staff at the Counseling Center on an area of expertise during the spring semester. Coordinated by Drs. Katrina Simpson-McCleary.

Research/Professional Development. Interns are allotted one hour per week during which they may work on research (the Center's or their dissertations) and/or professional development activities.

Intern Process Meeting. Interns schedule one hour per week to meet together for processing of the internship experience. The Training Director will join this meeting once a month to address any issues the interns would like to discuss about their personal and professional development and experiences in the training program.

Initial Assessment, Case Conference and Clinical Treatment Team. All Center staff and interns participate in weekly initial assessment and clinical treatment team meetings, and one group case conference per month. These clinical meetings are designed to allow students and staff the opportunity to receive peer supervision of their clinical work. Staff and interns present one formal case presentation each semester, which include a multiaxial diagnosis, the appropriate application and interpretation of an assessment instrument, and which demonstrate an understanding of multicultural and ethical issues relevant to the therapeutic process.

Psychiatric Consultation. All clinical staff consult with the Counseling Center's full-time psychiatrist about issues pertaining to psychotropic medications and the Center's clients who are taking medication. The Counseling Center is committed to providing the best possible integrated treatment for clients who are in therapy and taking psychotropic medication. Therefore, the psychiatrist and counselors will consult and collaborate during the meeting to understand and appropriately limit the scope of their practice and directly and effectively communicate with one another regarding their therapeutic perspectives and actions.

Case Management Services. All clinical staff have the opportunity to collaborate with the Case Manager during the process of referring clients to community providers. In order to ensure that a client is referred to the most appropriate community resource, staff can consult with the Case Manager to identify the community resource most suited to the treatment needs of the client. Clinical staff can also refer students for case management services when individual circumstances; insurance, lack of financial support etc complicate the community referral. In addition to support during the referral process, the Case Manager will support clinicians in the hospitalization and discharge process of clients who require more intensive treatment options.

Diversity Training. Interns participate in a monthly Multicultural/Diversity module of the Training Seminar series throughout the academic year. In addition, each weekly training seminar, as well as the seminars in supervision of supervision, crisis-intervention, assessment, and professional development will include a discussion of diversity issues relevant to the topic of the seminar. Following the initial orientation period, interns will discuss their experience and interest in working with diverse populations in training seminars and supervision and they will select diverse campus groups or organizations for the provision of outreach programs or consultation/liaison relationships. In addition, training seminar and supervision activities will incorporate articles, book chapters, and therapeutic case studies that outline the theory and application of multicultural issues in the therapeutic process and relationship.

Each intern will participate in at least three different cultural immersion experiences during the fall semester and write a reflection paper about the experience which incorporates concepts learned about diverse populations from each of the multicultural training seminars. Interns are required to attend a multicultural event by themselves where they will be a minority participant. Following the event, each intern will write a reflection paper about the event they chose to attend, what made them a minority, and how they felt prior to, during and following the event.

Interns will also discuss cultural and ethnicity issues of his/her individual clients, and the interaction between the therapist's cultural background and that of the client. Interns will incorporate an analysis of how cultural factors inform the assessment, diagnosis, and therapeutic work with each client, and incorporate these factors in written case conceptualizations, treatment plans, case conference presentations, and comprehensive assessments interns complete each semester. Recommended services and programs that interns can participate in during the spring and summer semesters include the Center's Peer Mentor Program and the Center for Multicultural and Student Services summer institutes.

Peer Mentor Program

The Peer Mentor Program was designed to help first-year and transfer multicultural students make a successful and rewarding transition to the University. Specifically, the program involves training Peer Mentors (upperclass multicultural students) to help their Peer Mentees (first-year or transfer multicultural students) to be successful academically, personally and socially on a historically white university campus by offering support for educational skills, time management, and class scheduling. The program also provides the opportunity for multicultural students to meet students with similar experiences and interests. Mentors enroll in a one-credit Psychology 202 class during the fall semester that is designed to equip them to be leaders and mentors in the program as well as develop and implement various activities for the program. Interns could assist in the training of mentors and be involved in the planning and implementation of cultural events as well as social and academic group facilitation programs.

Female Institute for Learning and Development

The James Madison University Female Institute for Learning and Development is a two-week residential program designed to provide an intense academic and developmental experience for high school females. The Institute employs academic, social and cultural strategies which prepare participants to enhance their academic profiles; to build their levels of self-awareness and self-esteem; to broaden their potential career and life goals; and to adopt a service-oriented attitude toward their greater communities. The female peer counselors are trained in basic listening and communication skills, an overview of the "sister circle," as well as the content and process of "sister circle." Interns assist with the training of the counselors, facilitate the compilation of sister circle activities, and  serve as consultants to the peer staff/resident advisors in case of emergencies. In addition, interns could participate in a cultural experiential learning field trip.

Male Academy for Academic Achievement and Development

The James Madison University Male Academy for the Academic Achievement and Development is designed as a two-week summer residential program with the purpose of providing an intense academic and developmental learning experience for male students who have potential for success beyond the secondary level. The program serves to enrich the academic, social and cultural experiences of these students and to enhance their overall academic skills. Additionally, the program seeks to increase their motivation toward higher education, promote professional and personal success, expand career awareness and choice, and to expose students to the concept of service learning in their respective communities. Interns assist in training the students in basic counseling and listening skills and facilitate group activities.

Multicultural Student Organizations

In addition to interns' participation in the Peer Mentor Program, Female Institute, and Male Academy, they may also select from the following list of multicultural student organizations at James Madison University to incorporate into their diversity training experiences. Interns may choose to present an outreach program to one of these organizations in conjunction with the Counseling Center's initiative to be more proactive with providing psychological services to multicultural student groups and under-served populations on the James Madison University campus. 

Counseling Center Multicultural Student Organization Outreach List

Fall

  • International Student Assoc.
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Students for Minority Outreach
  • Brothers of a New Direction
  • Madison International Assoc.
  • Contemporary Gospel Singers
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Korean Student Assoc.
  • Black & Latino Greek Caucus
  • Alpha Kappa Delta Phi
  • Lambda Upsilon Lambda
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Madison Equality
  • Vietnamese Student Assoc.

Spring

  • Black Student Alliance
  • Hillel
  • Sigma Iota Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Latino Student Alliance
  • Asian Student Union
  • Women of Color
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • African Student Organization
  • National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH)
  • Mozaic
  • Alpha Beta Psychology
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
  • Italian Cultural Society
  • Spanish Club

Administrative Activities

Staff meetings. All staff members and interns attend a weekly staff meeting. Staff meetings address the administrative issues and business of the Center. All Center staff is invited to contribute to the agenda and to the discussions.

Case management and administrative work. All interns are expected to maintain appropriate case notes and files, complete the various reporting forms used in the office, maintain their calendars and prepare appropriately for programs, workshops, supervision and clients.

Sample Schedule

Average hours per week (by semester)

Direct Service Activities

Fall

Spring

Summer

Initial Assessments

1.5

1.5

3

Individual therapy

12-14

12-14

12-14

Group therapy

1.5 - 3

1.5 - 3

0

Emergency coverage (office hours crisis intervention)

4.5

4.5

4.5

Crisis intervention (after hours via pager)

2 weeks with back-up

2 weeks with back-up

2 weeks with back-up

Outreach programming

1

1

2

Consultation (ORL, Judicial Affairs)

1

1

1.5

Supervision of practicum student

1

1

0

Training Track

2

2

1

Training Activities

Individual supervision

3

3

3

Training Track supervision

1

.5-1

.5-1

Group supervision

.5-1

.5-1

0

Training seminar

1.5

1.5

1.5

Initial Assessment Seminar

.5

.5

0

Crisis intervention seminar

.5

.5

0

Supervision of supervision seminar

1

1

0

Clinical Treatment Team

1

1

0

Diversity seminar, Case Conference, & Professional Development seminar

1/month

1/month

0

Psychiatric Consultation

.5

.5

.5

Research/Professional development

1

1

3

Intern process meeting (include Training Director once a month)

1

1

1

Administrative Activities

Case Management

2

2

3

Prep and planning

2

2

5

Staff meeting

1

1

1

Average Estimated Total Hours per week

42-44

42-44

40