The NC State University Counseling Center serves to support our students by offering personal, academic and career counseling. Our staff is multidisciplinary, and although staff members may have some specific areas of focus, are all considered generalists. We support trainees in virtually every area of center functioning to prepare them for practice as a generalist first, while supporting each trainee’s distinct professional interests and skills.
We have had a formal training program for a number of years, and we continue to look for ways to expand out training efforts. Our staff considers training as a way to contribute to the profession, but also as a way to ensure that we stay up to date on practice issues and to infuse our center with the energy and enthusiasm that new professionals bring.
Our training program is based on the values inherent in the Practitioner-Scholar model. As practitioners, we value the learning that comes through direct experience with others and thoughtful self-reflection. As scholars, we recognize the importance of theory, research and critical thinking. We believe that both practice and scholarship are essential in preparing new mental health professionals to work effectively with diverse individuals and groups in a rapidly-changing world. We value a lifelong commitment to the integration of self-reflective practice and scholarly examination.
We believe that becoming a competent clinician is a developmental process requiring graduated experiences and training. Consequently, the NC State Counseling Center offers training experiences from beginning practicums through postdoctoral fellowships. The didactic instruction and supervised practice opportunities vary according to the level of training and the readiness of the individual student. As trainees gain experience, expectations for more advanced professional skills, greater self-awareness and autonomous functioning increase.
We place a high value on the integration of one’s personal and professional identities. We strive to tailor each student’s experience to their individual needs within the structured activities of our training program. Ongoing self-assessment of one’s strengths and limitations is encouraged. When coupled with the supervisory feedback of multiple staff members who are committed to training new professionals, there is great opportunity for personal and professional development.
Trainees learn through direct experience under close supervision and are encouraged to also utilize their cohort group for learning and support. We expect all staff involved in training to serve as a mentor and positive role model. Interactive, skill-building seminars are used as an additional source of learning. Trainees receive on-the-job training in the full range of university psychological services including individual and group psychotherapy, intake assessment, urgent care, on-call, and program development and outreach services. Opportunities to initiate or continue the development of specialties or areas of interest are also provided.
We provide orientation and training when trainees begin. Presentations, trainings, and other activities are scheduled assist trainees in transitioning to our setting. Initial assessment of skills in various areas of professional functioning determines each trainee’s areas of strength and areas for growth. During this time we also explore each trainee’s goals for their training experience and discuss ways to maximize opportunities in individual areas of interest. We attempt to match trainees to supervisors based on trainees’ areas of interest and individual needs.
In addition to the variety of training activities offered during orientation, informal social events are scheduled to help trainees build group cohesiveness and to aid in meeting Counseling Center staff members.