Clinical Handbook and Relevant Information

Clinical placement is an exciting time for all students. The department maintains quality relationships with many sites in the greater Richmond area, throughout the state, and nationally. Students participate in placements ranging from outpatient mental health services with both adults and children, inpatient mental health, substance use and recovery services, state agencies, employment services with people with disabilities, private practice, crisis response, and many more. 

View the Clinical Handbook.

Site selection

In order to select a placement site for Practicum and Internship, you are required to consult with the Clinical Coordinator during the year before your enrollment in each course. This consultation meeting is imperative, required, and not elective. The first call for a Fall placement is October 1 with the deadline of November 1 the year before you would like to enroll in 692. The first call for a Spring placement is May 1 with the deadline of June 1 the year before you would like to enroll in 692. Initial informational calls/meetings will occur in October and May. Students are expected to attend in order to be placed for the following year. If this timeline is not adhered to, the department may be unable to place you during the semester in which you originally intended to enroll in 692.

Should you decide to withdraw from practicum or internship either prior to the start date of the semester or during – you must discuss your intentions with the clinical coordinator prior to making such a decision.

Completing practicum or internship at an employment site

Some students may be working in an employment site that can double as their Practicum or Internship placement. Those that are employed and would like to use their employment as a clinical placement must keep in mind the following:

  • This must be approved by the Clinical Coordinator prior to the semester in which you’d like to enroll in the clinical course.
  • Students using their place of employment for practicum or internship recognize that they must engage in a pre-approved plan to integrate substantive new learning into their work to satisfy fieldwork requirements.
  • An additional contract and/or paperwork may be required
  • If a student leaves the place of employment for any reason (e.g., quits, gets fired, etc.), it may impact the student’s ability to complete the clinical experience during that semester in which they are enrolled. Be advised you may need to retake the clinical course in which you were enrolled if you do not complete the requirements.

Affiliation agreements

Affiliation Agreement Process

If you plan to complete your Practicum or Internship at a new site that does not currently have an active agreement with VCU, you must procure one. VCU requires that a University Affiliation Agreement be signed by the University, the Department, and the affiliating organization prior to engaging in provision of clinical training for any student. This Agreement identifies the terms of the relationship between the two entities. Therefore:

  • Students must contact the Clinical Coordinator to determine whether an Affiliation Agreement between VCU and the desired site exists. If an agreement is not yet in place, the Clinical Coordinator (in consultation with the student´s adviser) will determine the appropriateness of the potential site. The student must provide the site contact information needed to initiate this process as early as possible, or at least one semester before enrolling in Practicum (which is part of RHAB 692). If the site is determined to be appropriate for fieldwork, the Clinical Coordinator will initiate the process of securing an Affiliation Agreement between the site and VCU. If this process does not occur in advance of the semester in which the student wishes to engage in fieldwork, the fieldwork experience will be delayed until the Agreement is in place.
  • The following information is required in order for the agreement to be initiated by the Clinical Coordinator:
    • Name and email address of Executive Director
    • Name and email address of site supervisor

Distance Learning students are encouraged to determine if an Affiliation Agreement exists (and to provide contact information for potential fieldwork sites if needed) well in advance of their clinical training, even if they are using their place of employment to fulfill fieldwork requirements.

A list of previously approved sites can be made available to you via the Clinical Coordinator.

Site supervisor qualifications

Site supervisors will have:

  1. a minimum of a master’s degree, preferably in counseling, or a related profession
  2. relevant certifications and/or licenses
  3. a minimum of two years of pertinent professional experience in the specialty area in which the student is enrolled
  4. knowledge of the program’s expectations, requirements, and evaluation procedures for students
  5. relevant training in counseling supervision. Relevant training can be provided by the department

Evaluative criteria

Students will be evaluated throughout the Practicum and Internship experiences in formative and summative modalities. Students should expect to receive ongoing feedback and evaluation of their personal and professional development throughout the clinical experiences. The evaluation form can be found in the clinical handbook.