Back to top
Be Immersed in Clinical Work

From the moment you enter the program, you will be immersed in clinical work. Our "learn-by-doing" model exposes you to clinical practice while providing complementary academic coursework.

The Standard Curriculum is a two-year intensive program for students entering the Counseling field with academic and experiential background in psychology or human services and prior clinical experiences. Standard students complete a Practicum and Internship.

The Two-Plus Curriculum is a three-year program designed for qualified students entering the Counseling field following a career in another discipline and/or with minimal academic and experiential background in psychology or human services. Two-Plus students complete a Pre-Practicum prior to the Practicum and Internship.

Pre-Practicum (Two-Plus Students Only)

Approximately 12-16 hours per week for 10 months

The pre-practicum course, COUN 479-1,2,3, Introduction to Clinical Practice, is the beginning experiential component of professional training designed for students entering the Two-Plus Curriculum. It introduces basic concepts related to the practice of professional counseling. Students train in psychosocial rehabilitation centers (PSR) or partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and are exposed to a range of clinical activities, client issues and an interdisciplinary group of mental health professionals. Students observe and co-lead support groups, skills-based groups and treatment groups, interact with clients and assist staff with milieu and case management activities. They participate in case consultation meetings and can be assigned individual case management clients.

Practicum

Practicum students are required to accrue a minimum of 60 hours of face-to-face contact with clients and a minimum of 40 hours of clinically related activities including but not limited to: record keeping, personal growth, triadic supervision, etc., for a minimum of 100 hours total.

The Practicum course, COUN 481-1, 481-2, 481-3, Supervised Practicum in Counseling, is designed to teach practicum trainees how to provide direct clinical service to clients and to apply a basic repertoire of clinical skills. All Practicum students train at one of three clinics at The Family Institute. Students obtain a general introduction to supervision and the supervisory relationship. Students meet weekly with an assigned clinical supervisor.

Required Practicum Experiences*

There are 38 weeks in the Counseling Program Clinical Training Year.

Students participate in Practicum activities for 35 weeks. The remaining three weeks are during Northwestern's school breaks. Students participate in Practicum experiences for approximately nine hours per week.

Description of Experience Minimum Total Hours Required
Face-to-Face Client Hours

60 hours minimum required, with the following guidelines:

  • Students accrue 20 Face-to-Face Client Hours by Winter Break
  • Students accrue 40 Face-to-Face Client Hours by Spring Break
  • Students accrue 60 Face-to-Face Client Hours by the end of the Practicum year
Triadic Supervision Triadic supervision is when the supervisor and two students participate in supervision together
Individual Supervision Practicum trainees will receive a minimum of one hour of individual supervision each quarter
Record Keeping Record keeping hours include those activities that pertain to paper or computer-based clinical behavioral health records as well as review of digitally recorded sessions
Personal Growth

Personal growth hours include participation in professional organizations, seminars, Grand Rounds at The Family Institute, workshops or other activities that contribute to personal growth

These hours also include attendance at conferences and giving presentations

Preceptorship Experiences
Activity Total Hours Dates
Preceptorship Group 66 hours 2 hours/week during the 10 weeks of each quarter of the Practicum Year
Preceptorship Meetings 4 hours

Fall Quarter Orientation
Fall Quarter Wrap-Up & Winter Quarter Orientation
Winter Quarter Wrap-Up & Spring Quarter Orientation
Spring Quarter Wrap-Up

  70 total hours  
Required Internship Experiences*

There are 38 weeks in the clinical training year.

Students will participate in Internship activities for a minimum of 35 weeks. The remaining three weeks are during Northwestern's school breaks.

Students participate in Internship experiences for approximately 17 hours per week.

Description of Experience Minimum Total Hours Required
Face-to-Face Client Contact

240 hours required, with the following guidelines:

  • Face-to-face hours include but are not limited to the following: intake; assessment; individual, group, family and couple counseling
  • phone contact; IEP & outreach; advocacy; prevention and making referrals & sharing community resources

Targets for accrual of hours:

  • 80 hours RECOMMENDED by Winter Break
  • 175 hours RECOMMENDED by Spring Break
  • 240 hours REQUIRED by end of Internship Year
Individual Supervision

35 hours required (1 hour/week x 35 weeks)

Individual supervision is when the supervisor and the student participate in supervision together or when the supervisor and two students participate in supervision together (triadic supervision)

Group Supervision and/or Case Consultation

52.5 hours required (1.5 hours/week x 35 weeks)

Group supervision includes supervision with one supervisor and any number of students greater than two

This requirement may also be met by participation in the Case Consultation Group Experience

The Case Consultation experience includes exploring of challenging or difficult cases, learning how to assess their therapeutic effectiveness and learning to articulate areas of concern that can be addressed in consultation in order to increase efficacy

Record Keeping

Record Keeping hours include but are not limited to: record keeping; learning, scoring and interpreting assessment instruments; information and referral; in-service; staff meetings; research; reviewing recordings of counseling sessions; case-related consultation and case-related peer consultation

Personal Growth

272.5 hours required

Personal Growth hours include but are not limited to: participation in professional organizations, seminars, workshops or other activities that contribute to personal growth

These hours also include attendance at conferences and giving presentations

  600 total hours