The Counseling Center's training program for doctoral practicum students in JMU's Psy.D. program is intended to assist students in their ongoing development as psychologists. The practicum rotation experience at the Counseling Center emphasizes the development of short-term therapy skills in individual and group counseling experiences. The practicum provides an opportunity for students to develop and enhance their counseling skills in a university counseling center setting.


Students wishing to complete a practicum at the Counseling Center must:

  • be graduate students in the Psy.D. program at JMU;
  • have successfully completed the program's preparatory counseling courses;
  • have permission of the program coordinator; and
  • obtain their own personal professional liability insurance by the beginning of the practicum experience.

The primary focus of the practicum experience is on the development and enhancement of clinical skills.

Practicum students see 4-5 individual clients per week; co-facilitate a psychoeducational anxiety management group for 1 hour per week; receive one hour of individual supervision and .5 hours group supervision; and are responsible for the maintenance of their clinical notes. Practicum students may elect to co-facilitate outreach programs with other staff members and have the opportunity to attend treatment team meetings with Counseling Center staff several times throughout the semester.

Practicum students are expected to abide by the established policies and procedures of the Counseling Center and the ethical standards of psychologists.

Learning Objectives

Students completing a Psy.D. practicum at the Counseling Center will have the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in a variety of areas:

  • operational/agency factors related to work in a university counseling center
  • individual and group counseling
  • professional/ethical behavior in interactions with colleagues and clients
  • engaging in the supervision process
  • personal qualities relevant to effective psychological practice
Selection Process

Students interested in pursuing a practicum at the Counseling Center should discuss this possibility with their Program Coordinator. Interested students may also schedule a meeting with Katrina Simpson-McCleary, Psy.D., staff psychologist and coordinator of Psy.D. training, to discuss the details of a practicum at the Counseling Center and how this experience might enhance their professional growth. Final decisions regarding which students will be selected to participate in the practicum are made by the Psy.D. program faculty in conjunction with Dr. Katrina Simpson-McCleary. The Counseling Center typically takes 2-3 Psy.D. practicum students each semester.


Questions about Psy.D. practicum experiences at the Counseling Center should be directed to:

Katrina Simpson-McCleary, Psy.D.
Coordinator of Psy.D. Training
Counseling Center, MSC 0801
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
phone: 540-568-6552

Back to Top