The counseling program requires a variety of supervised clinical experiences. Students begin with a helping skills laboratory (COUN 493) where they learn basic communication skills. Successful students (B or better) move on to a minimum of two practica courses, focused on individual and group counseling. Toward the end of their program of study, students enroll in two semesters of internship, working in the field. CACREP has established client contact hours and other requirements for clinical instruction; the SIUC counselor education courses meet and exceed these standards.
CACREP requires practicum students to accrue a total of 100 practicum hours, 40 of which must be direct client contact. All practica must be completed prior to enrolling in Internship.
Unlike many counselor education programs, the SIUC program requires students to take at least two practicum courses. Students complete practicum in a setting consistent with their career goals. Practicum students are video and audio taped in this setting, receive group and triadic supervision under program faculty, and with site supervisors. Students may also receive live supervision. A minimum of 20 face to face individual counseling hours is required for completion of the individual practicum.
In addition, students must complete a career group practicum. Practicum students serve as leaders for groups of approximately 10 undergraduate students and are given assistance in helping these students develop academic and career goals, and explore the world of work. Students enrolled in this advanced practicum typically accrue approximately 28 direct client contact hours.
Students in the Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program complete the two aforementioned practica (COUN 548B plus COUN 548C) and two consecutive semesters of supervised practicum specifically with families and couples (COUN 548E). These practica provide students with live supervision and are offered concurrently with the marriage, couple, and family seminar (COUN 560).
Internship is a 600 hour, supervised field placement. Internship experiences for Community, and Marriage, Couple, and Family students must occur over two consecutive semesters for students to demonstrate clinical skill development rather than quickly acquiring direct contact hours.
Students must submit a petition for internship the semester before they plan to do their internship. Additionally, students in the school counseling track must submit evidence of a passing score on the Illinois School Counselor Content Area exam before they can begin their internship. All students must attend a mandatory internship orientation in the fall of the academic year when they intend to take internship. Internship sites may include elementary or secondary schools; mental health centers; special community agencies like women's centers, prisons, or work‑release centers; residential treatment centers; employment centers; and hospital wards. Students completing a dual specialization in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling and School Counseling will be required to complete two 600 hour internships, one in a family counseling setting and one in a school counseling setting.