Post-Master’s Fellowship Program Description
North Carolina State University Counseling Center invites applications for a two year, full-time, 24-month position as Post-Master’s Fellow. The position is on a year-to-year basis and can be renewed for a second year if the Fellow and Training staff are in agreement. The Post-Master’s Fellowship at the NC State Counseling Center is designed to prepare individuals for a staff position in a university counseling setting, with particular emphasis on social workers or counselors wishing to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Each year of the fellowship will offer a different specialized training focus, in order to provide Fellows with the flexibility to work in a variety of settings. The Post-Master’s Fellowship requires graduation from a master’s program in Counseling or Social Work and completion of a clinical Fellowship or field placement preferably at a university counseling center. The program is designed to meet partial requirements for licensure in the state of North Carolina.
Fellows will develop skills in brief intervention, assessment, and crisis intervention. They also will serve as part of a collaborative, multidisciplinary medical team, providing on call services to medical providers working with distressed students. A primary focus of the fellowship is the consolidation of generalist clinical skills, to prepare Fellows for licensure and independent practice. Fellows will spend the majority of their time working in General Services, where they will have the opportunity to provide individual and group therapy, crisis intervention (both daytime and after-hours), triage, initial consultations (intake), and outreach programming.
Fellows also are expected to commit to the development of cultural competence through self-examination and participation in university-based outreach and prevention services for both the general student population and underrepresented groups on campus. The NC State Counseling Center has a strong commitment to multiculturalism and has solid working relationships with the various Diversity Programs and Services Offices on campus. The training of clinically skilled, ethical, self-aware, and culturally competent mental health professionals is central to the mission of the NC State Counseling Center.
In the first year of the fellowship, Fellows will focus gaining additional training in the mental health field as well as gaining clinical experience and supervision as a generalist clinician. Our staff are dedicated to providing a robust learning environment and clinical supervision to facilitate professional growth. In the second year of the fellowship, Fellows will have the opportunity to function effectively as part of the team in a large, fast-paced Counseling Center and have some opportunity for additional training in areas of specialization.
NC State University’s Post Master’s Fellowship Overview of Training
Training at North Carolina State’s (NCSU) Counseling Center begins with the idea that learning is developmental, and that trainees have different needs that change with time and experience. Fellows will be supported in both their personal and professional growth. Post Master’s Fellows will be encouraged to continually seek awareness of self and use this information to define strengths and areas for development. Fellows’ examination of personal values will help them to discover the impact of their beliefs on professional functioning. Increased personal awareness should also assist advanced trainees in understanding their role in interpersonal dynamics and their role in personal and professional interactions.
Diversity is a core value here at NCSU’s Counseling Center. Fellows are encouraged to explore their beliefs, attitudes and skills in order to assess and increase their multicultural competence. Furthermore, the emphasis placed upon personal understanding as part of professional development may require that Fellows be asked to consider issues that are somewhat personal in nature. Every effort is made to provide a safe and nurturing environment which respects disclosure and protects Fellows’ confidentiality.
In support of the desire to foster diversity, the Counseling Center is committed to developing diversity training for staff. The Counseling Center recognizes that factors such as multiculturalism, race or ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, and range of ability affect college students’ lives and sometimes present unique challenges. The Counseling Center values each student’s individuality and commits to welcoming all people with respect and sensitivity. Counseling Center staff also attends to their own professional development by participating in training and programs designed to enhance their understanding of the needs diverse people.
As part of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs’ mission to promote the success of the whole student, the University Counseling Center believes that a healthy emotional life is the foundation for personal, academic, and professional success. Honoring individual and cultural identities, strengths and differences, core personal values, and the complexities of collegiate life, our multidisciplinary mental health team uses compassionate, professional interactions to support emotional balance while encouraging students to reach their potential.
Our mission is realized through the delivery of comprehensive services, such as:
- Brief individual, group, and couple’s counseling
- Psychiatric evaluation and treatment
- 24-hour crisis response
- Campus and community referrals
- Faculty, staff, and student consultation
- Outreach/Prevention Service
- Mental health educational programming and training
Training at NCSU’s Counseling Center will cover all of the services listed above, and will be comprehensive in breadth and depth.
Direct Service Experiences
We consider personal counseling of individuals the primary direct service practice. Fellows will have the opportunity to work with students with varying presenting issues. While our center works primarily within a short-term model, all staff, and especially Fellows are encouraged to work with a few longer-term clients. Fellows may have the opportunity to do some couples counseling work either individually or in a co-therapy situation.
Groups are an integral part of counseling service in our center. We have a variety of groups offered at any given time, with a combination of closed therapy groups, drop-in groups, and psychoeducational groups. We are a busy center and find groups an excellent opportunity to provide support while students are waiting for an Intake, in between sessions, as individual work is finished, or in some case instead of individual therapy. Typically Fellows will co-lead a group with a permanent staff member and will have an opportunity to do a different group each semester. Fellows typically meet with their group co-leader on a weekly basis while planning and running the group.
Our center uses a triage model to assist in determining student’s level of risk and urgency for which they need to be seen. Triage is used as a screening and referral tool. While we have Triage Clinicians who do the bulk of Triage, we include this experience as part of the Fellowship as it is a valuable skill that may be expected of them in future positions. Training for Triage and opportunities to observe Triage clinicians occur early in Fellowship. Our Triage system offers back-up for consultation and support in crisis situations.
All counselors at our center do some after-hours on-call. Fellows will be trained to participate in the on-call system, with back-up available if consultation is needed.
Our center provides career exploration counseling and assessment for students. Fellows will use the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory with students when suitable. We provide training in the career exploration process as well as in use of these instruments.
Our center does a significant amount of outreach programming for the campus community. This includes screening days, tabling events, Residence Life training and programs, classroom and campus organization presentations, as well as in-house programs. These programs cover a large variety of topics, from time and stress management, to healthy sleep and healthy relationships. Our center also offers QPR (Question Persuade Refer) training to students and staff. Outreach is considered an essential skill for clinicians in a university setting. As such we require Intern participation in outreach programming. Outreach programs and projects will offer additional exposure to a range of interventions with diverse populations. If there are special populations an intern would like to work with Outreach is another way to gain this experience.
There is training for all Fellows each August to prepare Fellows in outreach presentations. For those who have a special interest in outreach there is opportunity to work closely with our Outreach Coordinator to gain further experience.
Staff regularly consults with student, faculty, staff, parents, off-campus mental health providers and others. Most consultation requests come through phone calls, on-call, and walk-ins. Other times consultation will be around a particular student or issue of concern. Fellows will participate in consultation as circumstances arise and back-up will be available as needed. Consultation will offer further opportunities to work with diverse populations and student issues.
Our students have access to time-limited psychiatric services, including evaluation and medication management. Our staff can refer students to our in-house psychiatrists, and consult with psychiatrists about students. Additionally, there may be some opportunities to sit in with students during the psychiatric evaluation when a student is referred.
Our center is involved in some academic processes on campus, including withdrawal and course drop requests. While Deans make decisions about granting exceptions to academic policy, center staff is expected to provide assistance in assessing psychological issues that may impact a student’s performance in classes. We have staff that takes the lead in this area, but all staff may be required to participate in this process at times, particularly if a student a staff member is seeing needs to request a lower course load or to withdrawal from the semester entirely. Academic policies and procedures are covered in training in August.
In order to prepare to see clients and function as a Counseling Center staff member, Fellows will be introduced to Center modes of service delivery via an orientation process. This orientation will be completed within a two-week period. Orientation will consist of sessions in which Fellows will learn more about policy and procedure regarding Center functions, and will be given time and space to process any questions they might have. Fellows will also be introduced to the Center’s electronic record system (Titanium), will engage in orientation to available benefits, will have an “Onboarding” session in which important personal information is entered into the university system (i.e. banking information for direct pay deposit) and will have a chance to meet with the Administrative Team here at the Center.
Finally, orientation is also a very important piece of training in that Fellows will be exposed to many different staff here in the Center; thus, beginning the process of integration into the team through learning about staff interests and areas of expertise.
Fellows receive 1 hour of individual supervision per week with their primary supervisor. During the first year the Fellowship, the Fellow will have one primary supervisor. For the second year of the Fellowship, a secondary clinical supervisor can be assigned if the Fellow is interested in seeking supervision in a specialty content area (i.e. Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Trauma work, etc.)
Trainees will be supervised regarding their triage/intake work, during individual supervision. There will also be a monthly supervision meeting of all trainees providing triage services (in order to ensure understanding of policy and resources related to triage services). Trainees will be expected to provide coverage for triage services, and will learn how to engage students in timely and effective assessment of their risk and needs. Triage here at NCSU’s Counseling Center is the manner in which students enter the system, and is generally a short session focused on assessing current symptoms and directing students to services they need (whether that’s here in the Counseling Center or off campus). Trainees will also learn more about how to conduct an intake interview.
The intake Session is utilized as the student’s first session with their therapist here at the Counseling Center. Intakes are scheduled off of triage, and are longer and more involved than a triage session. Training regarding an intake interview will occur through live observation and through viewing audio/video tape. This session will allow the trainee to gather more information regarding the client’s history and general well-being. Risk will also be assessed.
Group Supervision meets 1 hour weekly to discuss clinical issues including: challenging cases, disposition issues, professional concerns, multicultural or ethical issues salient to a particular clinical situation and various treatment approaches. Fellows are encouraged to participate in discussions and to informally present cases throughout the year
Didactic Training Opportunities
For the first year of the Fellowship, there is a two hour weekly meeting during which topic-focused subjects are covered in areas such as ethics, theoretical orientation, multicultural competencies, professional issues, utilizing specific treatment strategies, crisis and risk management, psychopharmacology, etc. The seminar will be organized by the Training Director and the Training Coordinator, but will utilize center staff in their areas of expertise on a rotating basis.
This seminar will occur a few times over the semester. During this time, the Assistant Director of Outreach Services and Wellness Initiatives will assist trainees with discussions regarding their outreach responsibilities and will provide training/supervision as needed regarding the provision of outreach, liaison and consultation services. This seminar will also serve as a “check-in” regarding trainees’ progress with the outreach requirement (4 presentations per semester, 8 in all). Fellows will be expected to show increasing competence related to provision of outreach, liaison and consultation services.
Group Counseling Seminar
This seminar will occur during the semesters for clinicians offering group counseling. During this time, the Coordinator of Group Therapy Services will assist Fellows with discussions regarding their group therapy experiences. This supervision will not serve as primary supervision for the Fellows’ group experiences (this will be provided by the leader(s) of the group), but will serve as a processing and didactic space for Fellows to increase knowledge about group theory and process/learn more about group therapy interventions.
All staff participates in small-group case conference meetings and trainees are included. Case conference is every week for 1 hour. This is an opportunity for staff, including trainees, to present and discuss cases that are more complex or for which the staff member would like feedback.
Fellows will engage twice per month in an “all trainees seminar” during which they will (on a rotating basis) be asked to present a formal case presentation. Trainees will be asked to present from a written report. The presentation time allotted is 30 minutes, and trainees are encouraged to provide enough time for staff to ask questions and comment about the case. A format will be provided regarding this case presentation.
The goal of the presentation is to assist Fellows with developing their case conceptualization skills, along with an ability to share relevant details of client presentation and how theoretical orientation was utilized intentionally to guide treatment.
Additional Opportunities for Training
These are typically 2 hours every week. This is an opportunity for the entire clinical staff to get together and discuss center issues, policies, current happenings. Several times a semester this time will be used for CE activities to assist in enhancing the staff’s professional development or to work on the center’s planning, mission/goals, or cohesion.
The center provides a number of CE programs throughout the year on a variety of topics. Guests from other departments or from outside the university frequently serve as presenters for these programs. Most of these CE programs are approved by APA and NBCC for CE credit. The CE committee works in conjunction with the Multicultural Task Force to include topics relevant to multicultural training and competence. Additionally, some other professional development programs are offered by the center. This may include “lunch and learn” discussions, or webinars.
Fellows are invited to participate in at least one committee. Committees range from Outreach Committee, Groups Committee, Multicultural Task Force, Clinical Services Committee, CE Committee, Assessment Committee, Training Committee, and the Social Committee. Some committees meet weekly, while others meet bi-weekly or as needed.
Professional Training & Conferences
There is a budget set aside for Fellows to attend off-campus trainings or conferences. The amount available may vary depending on budget allowances each year. There are a number of trainings that are convenient based on our location (close to Chapel Hill and Durham) and the number of colleges and universities in the area. All requests need to be made directly to the Training Director.
There are some opportunities to take place in trainings available to staff on campus. For example, most of our staff has participated in Project Safe training that is offered by the GLBT Center on campus. If Fellows see trainings advertised for the campus community that are of interest, we encourage them to discuss participation in these with their supervisor or Training Coordinator.