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SOC-OFE Masters Students - Field Experience Manual: What is Field Experience?

What is Field Experience?

According to the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), field experience (or professional practice) “provides for the application of theory and the development of counseling skills under supervision. These experiences will provide opportunities for students to counsel clients who represent the ethnic and demographic diversity of their community.” Field experience consists of a practicum (one term) and a consecutive internship (two terms) experience.

The field experience is designed to provide you with

  • The opportunity to apply and integrate the knowledge acquired throughout your program.
  • A real-world experience of direct practice.
  • Mentoring from faculty and experts in your area of study.
  • The chance to make a difference in your field.
  • Proficiency with necessary skills for professional practice.

Practicum

Practicum is defined by CACRE as "a distinctly defined, supervised clinical experience in which the student develops basic counseling skills and integrates professional knowledge." The purpose of practicum is for you to orient yourself to professional practice and begin working directly with clients while under the supervision of an approved supervisor. Practicum is your first experiential training component during field experience and consists of one term of enrollment. Practicum is completed prior to internship.

For more detailed information about practicum, please refer to Section 4. Participating in Field Experience.

Internship

Internship is defined by CACREP as “a distinctly defined, post-practicum, supervised clinical experience in which the student refines and enhances basic counseling or student development knowledge and skills, and integrates and authenticates professional knowledge and skills related to program objectives.” The purpose of internship is to build on the foundational experience of practicum and consolidate your knowledge, skills, and dispositions as competent and confident counseling professionals. Internship is completed after you have successfully completed all practicum requirements and consists of at least two terms of enrollment.

For more detailed information about internship, please refer to Section 4. Participating in Field Experience.

Supervision

Supervision is a tutorial and mentoring form of instruction in which a supervisor monitors your activities during practicum and internship and facilitates the learning and skill development experiences associated with them. The supervisor monitors and evaluates your clinical work while monitoring the quality of services offered to clients. There are three types of supervision:

  • Individual Supervision—a tutorial and mentoring relationship between a member of the counseling profession (supervisor) and a counseling student.
  • Triadic Supervision—a tutorial and mentoring relationship between a member of the counseling profession (supervisor) and two counseling students.
  • Group Supervision—a tutorial and mentoring relationship between a member of the counseling profession (supervisor) and more than two counseling students.

To learn more terms used to describe field experiences, see Appendix A. Field Experience Terms.