Welcome to the student-run“Field Experience Preparation Group” for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Walden University.
Please note that this site and this group have no affiliation with Walden and represents an independent effort run by students, for students.
Purpose and Goal:
The CMHC program at Walden University is a CACREP accredited on-line graduate program that provides excellent clinical opportunities; with an interactive techniques course, two required on-site pre-practicum experiences and a dynamic group lab. The school also has an independent, faculty-run practice group through the ‘Ducks’ program that is held on Thursday nights by Dr. Nina Spadaro. However, as graduate students working toward counseling degrees, we should have every opportunity to practice and improve upon our clinical skills, especially as we prepare to enter into the formal field experience portion of our program (Practicum, Internship 1 and Internship 2).
Walden also requires its students to pursue field experience on their own and to take full personal responsibility for locating and procuring an appropriate work-site. Because there may be questions and anxiety surrounding the field experience portion of the program, students are likely to benefit from working together to share insights, suggestions, tips, tricks, and approaches that have been useful in the preparatory process, locating suitable field experience sites, and being hired into clinical internship roles. By coming together in a shared collective context, we can remind ourselves that we are not alone and learn from one another.
This student-run preparation group is focused on addressing both of these issues in a weekly, two-hour, on-line format. The general idea is that student participants will get together and spend time talking through portions of the Field Experience Handbook, offer ideas and feedback to one another as it relates to field experience topics, and then divide up into triads to practice counseling skills. Not only does this offer an opportunity to gain insight from other students and to practice clinical skills, but it also gives participants another way to demonstrate to potential employers that they are committed to learning, practice, and growth as student-counselors.
Sessions are open to all Walden students in the CMHC program who have successfully completed pre-practicum 1. This means that you have already completed the “Techniques of Counseling” course and successfully demonstrated a basic command of these techniques in a supervised setting.
Timing and Format
This group gathers together via the Zoom telecommunications platform every Monday night, from 8pm to 10pm (EST). The format includes four key components: the opening, field experience discussion, triad breakout, and conclusion:
We will usually spend 5 to 10 minutes opening up the Zoom session, reviewing the purpose and goals of the group, and checking in with group members to see how things are going.
Field Experience Discussion
- 10 to 15 minutes – reading a section of the Field Experience Manual
- 10 to 15 minutes – specific discussions around the section read
- 10 to 15 minutes – group questions and dynamic sharing
Note: We are not advisors and these sessions are not an alternative to contacting your Walden advisor. Suggestions or advice taken is to be used ‘at your own risk’ and should be formally confirmed with your Walden advisor!
- 5 minutes – Triad introductions and member assignments
- 10 Minutes – Triad member A as counselor, member B as client, and member C as observer.
- 10 Minutes – Triad member B as counselor, member C as client, and member A as observer.
- 10 Minutes – Triad member C as counselor, member A as client, and member B as observer.
- 15 Minutes – Triad members share observations with each other and discuss outcomes.
Note: In some situations, it may be necessary to have two or four members participating in the breakout sessions. Please be sure to adjust the time accordingly. Also keep in mind that these are practice sessions ONLY – and should not be viewed as an alternative to professional counseling!
We will spend the remainder of our time coming back together in a group format to discuss how the triads went and address any issues or concerns that the group would like to explore.
We will add to this section as the group progresses and it becomes evident that additional caveats are necessary.
To Sign Up
We are using a Facebook group to share details and coordinate information sharing. You can sign up to be a part of this private Facebook group by visiting: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2447809592099801/
Can we do it on a different night or at a different time? No, we cannot focus on accommodating schedules. If you are interested in participating, you will need to work around the date and time planned.
Can we use a different platform other than Zoom? No. Zoom is ideal for the purpose of this group. It is free to all participants and can be run from any type of computing device.
Why do I need to have finished Pre-prac 1? Participants are here because they want to practice, learn, and grow. In order to do so we must all be working from the same minimum baseline.
Is there any instruction provided? No. We are not professors, we are students. We are here to share, learn, and grow together as a like-minded community of student-practitioners.
Do I need to use any specific techniques? You are advised to draw from techniques covered in the Walden curriculum and encouraged to experiment with evidence-based theories and practices.
Playing the role of a client, should I be ‘real’ or act a part? Please be real, but try to stay focused on manageable issues that are appropriate in a learning format. This is not an alternative to therapy.
Will these sessions be recorded? No. Only member participants will be allowed to participate and there will be no recordings made.
Is there a release form I need to fill out? No. If you choose to participate, it is assumed that you are a mature adult making an informed decision. This is a student-led effort and we don’t want to get bogged down in paperwork.