Practicum Training

Main Content

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) proudly offers a comprehensive training program for SIU graduate students. CAPS' primary mission is to provide therapeutic training, consultative, and outreach services to the University community. We currently have three locations: CAPS main office, CAPS at University Housing, and CAPS in Grinnell Hall. CAPS' main office is located in the Student Health Center, adjacent to the Student Recreation Center on campus, and is easily accessible. CAPS at University Housing is located in Baldwin Hall at Thompson Point and serves students within University Housing. Grinnell Hall is located east of campus and is one of three main towers across from the Student Recreation Center.

Current roster of Practicum Students 2023-2024

Training Staff

Our training staff is friendly, enthusiastic, and committed to the diverse professional interests of trainees. Our staff is committed to diversity and inclusivity expressed through providing multi-culturally informed supervision, clinical services, and community intervention. Our team includes counseling psychologists, clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed clinical professional counselors. The staff at Student Health Services provides psychiatric services, and CAPS staff and trainees consult closely with the psychiatric team.

Each member of our training staff utilizes a developmental approach to supervision and training. We operate as a training team, reviewing trainee progress to maximize the growth and learning of each individual. Our staff is experienced in both brief and long-term therapy. No single theoretical orientation characterizes our staff; we are open to various approaches. We value generalist training with expertise in providing therapy services to specific populations.

The Clientele

Our clients are undergraduate and graduate students whose concerns range from acute situational stress and adjustment reactions to more severe trauma responses and long-standing psychological problems. Our student body includes many non-traditional students (average age of 25) and students who identify as racial/ethnic minorities. A quarter of our clients have previously received services in another setting. We have a richly varied clinical population, and trainees can request particular presenting issues of special interest.

Training Eligibility

CAPS only provides practicum training opportunities for graduate students from specific, approved graduate programs. Please get in touch with the CAPS Practicum Training Coordinator with questions about your practicum training eligibility. Additionally, due to ethical concerns related to dual roles, CAPS cannot offer training opportunities to students who are current clients at CAPS.

The Training Philosophy

The CAPS training program is founded on a practitioner-scholar model. It is based on the following principles we embody as an agency:

  • A core emphasis of our training program is the large body of knowledge derived from scholarly research regarding human behavior and psychological functioning. Additionally, we believe in integrating knowledge received during academic training into clinical practice. We provide opportunities for this consolidation through experiential learning gained from managing a diverse caseload and thorough supervision, the forum for discussion, and the integration of scholarly writings and experiences into practice.
  • Valuing multicultural understanding, social justice advocacy, and ethical behavior in psychological practice is essential to our training program. CAPS training staff embraces multicultural awareness in all aspects of our work. CAPS administration is committed to maintaining a team that is diverse in individual differences and identities and in regards to theoretical orientation. We expect all staff members to provide multiculturally competent services, supervision, and advocacy. We believe individuals who vary across identity dimensions must help facilitate an affirming campus environment for students, faculty, and staff. The training staff believes integrating cultural context into every aspect of practicum training is crucial. We hope that practicum students will not only gain skills in working with diverse populations and advocating for social justice but will also grow in their awareness of multiculturalism, diversity, and social justice.
  • Broad exposure to the multiple roles of a mental health practitioner prepares our trainees to be generalists who can respond to the quickly changing marketplace of the mental health field. Our training curriculum provides both didactic and experiential training opportunities and the flexibility to meet the needs of individual trainees. Training opportunities often include many provisions of psychotherapy, intake assessment, community intervention, social justice and diversity, group process observation, crisis intervention, and multiple modalities of supervision (individual, group, and mentoring).
  • CAPS training staff values and recognizes the importance of developing each trainee's identity and interests within the mental health field. We aim to provide a caring and supportive environment for practicum students to explore and integrate their professional and personal identities. We believe that mutual respect and compassion are essential to forming an optimum learning environment. Our training staff has an open-door policy and encourages trainees to seek consultation, mentoring, and support.

Commitment to Social Justice and Diversity

CAPS values multicultural understanding and social justice advocacy in psychological practice. Therefore, practicum trainees, interns, and staff are expected and encouraged to engage in social justice activities through advocacy for clients and community intervention involvement. Practicum students will be challenged and supported to further develop their knowledge and self-awareness regarding worldview, power, privilege, oppression, and social justice.

The Training Environment

CAPS provides a variety of individual and group psychotherapy offices for practicum students. Rooms are equipped with digital cameras and computers so your therapy work can be recorded for supervision. CAPS computers may also be used to review your own recorded work with clients.

CAPS Training Opportunities and Areas of Focus - only open to Advanced Practicum Students

CAPS offers a variety of training opportunities for graduate students enrolled in various academic programs. Currently, CAPS provides training for graduate students in Clinical Psychology, Social Work, and Rehabilitation Counseling. If you have any questions about your training eligibility, please contact the CAPS Practicum Training Coordinator. CAPS training team strives to be flexible to allow for your unique training needs to be met. We currently offer the following areas of focus as well as adjunct training opportunities:

Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Team

Practicum trainees will have the opportunity to be included in our Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Treatment Team. This opportunity includes AOD-specific training focusing specifically on mandated treatment process, documentation, and motivational interviewing. Participation in a 1-hour, weekly AOD consultation team, is required as well as carrying 1-2 clients who present with substance use issues on your caseload. The weekly time commitment for this opportunity is 4-5 hours per week, including training, treatment provision, and clinical documentation.

Group Process Observation

Trainees will be provided the opportunity to serve as a group psychotherapy process observer for one of the many interpersonal process therapy groups that are provided by our agency. Process observers will attend weekly group therapy appointments as well as to participate in meetings with the co-leaders of the group to discuss group planning, post-group processing, and co-leader relationships.

Integrative Health Care

CAPS is a part of an integrated healthcare system within Student Health Services (SHS). Practicum trainees interested in integrated health care can participate in multidisciplinary treatment teams, provide counselor-on-duty services in the SHS medical clinic, and participate in SHS training presentations. This opportunity can be tailored to your specific interests and needs.

CAPS Main Office: Beginning Practicum Training

CAPS offers beginning practicum training for 1st and 2nd-year graduate students in Clinical Psychology, Social Work, and Rehabilitation Counseling programs. Students receive 1 hour of individual supervision per week, participate in a weekly training seminar and meet with 1-4 individual clients per week. Trainees typically complete 20 individual clinical hours per semester.

CAPS Main Office: Advanced Practicum Training

CAPS offers advanced practicum training for graduate students enrolled in Clinical Psychology, Social Work, and Rehabilitation Counseling programs who are in their 3rd year of graduate training and beyond. Students receive 1 hour of individual supervision per week, participate in weekly seminars, meet with 5-10 individual clients per week, provide intake assessments for students seeking ongoing psychotherapy, and have opportunities to participate in crisis counseling, group process observation, and community intervention activities.

We offer flexible training opportunities to help meet your training needs, including, but not limited to, two different tracks for advanced practicum training. The Traditional Track for advanced practicum training requires 50 clinical contact hours per semester, and trainees can count ten intake hours towards the total 50. The Intensive Track for advanced practicum training requires 75 clinical contact hours per semester, and trainees can count 15 intake hours toward 75 hours.

CAPS Main Office: Application and Selection Process

Interested students may inquire about the availability of this experience by contacting the CAPS Practicum Training Coordinator or any senior staff members. All interested candidates are required to complete the Application for SIU Student Health Services Training (online application). Once completed, please email a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and list of three professional references to the Practicum Training Coordinator. 

Applying does not guarantee that CAPS will be able to provide you with a practicum placement; however, you will be notified of CAPS Training Staff’s decision to interview as soon as possible. If selected for a practicum training position, you will be informed of supervisor pairings during mandatory orientation, which takes place before classes start in the fall semester.