The practicum is a planned field-based clinical experience in which you learn to develop basic counseling skills and integrate professional knowledge under the supervision of an experienced counselor.
The Messiah College counseling program is a developmental model designed to train the novice counselor primarily through observation and co-facilitation. Since the practicum takes place relatively early in your master-level training, you will initially assist with intake and supportive services. With time, however, you will ideally be able to move from observer to service provider (with supervision) as deemed appropriate within your respective field placement site. Typically, the opportunity to participate in the more advanced and complex counseling processes and procedures would take place during your internship experience(s), courses that you complete at or near the end of your program.
An internship is a supervised “capstone” clinical experience in which you utilize the knowledge gained during your coursework taken and refines and enhances basic counseling skills through observation, instruction, and experience. Since the Messiah College counseling program is developmental, you will be given opportunities to counsel and perform the other duties of a counselor appropriate to your skill and knowledge base. During the internship, your status should gradually shift from that of a student to a pre-professional. By gaining opportunities to apply theories and techniques learned in academic settings, you begin to contribute to the site by assisting its staff and carrying out many of the normal clinical activities at the site.
All students must watch this orientation before registering for practicum or internship.