Practicum & Internships: Community-based learning
Students in the Somatic Counseling Psychology program are required to complete a 200-hour fieldwork placement (100 hours of which must be completed before program entrance) and a 700-hour clinical internship. This requirement involves 70 hours of both group and individual clinical mentorship by a registered dance/movement therapist or body psychotherapist. If the student has not completed the clinical practicum after completing the required course work or is completing internship hours at a site during the summer, the student must enroll in PSYS 877, Extended Internship Placement, for every semester (including summer) until graduation or internship completion.
Many internship placement sites prefer or require interns to have previous community mental health experience. Fieldwork/community-based learning is an educational strategy that incorporates meaningful service and is meant to be an opportunity to observe and participate in the mental health community, and in the community in general, as a non-therapist.
This approach allows the student time to become acquainted with different populations as well as become more comfortable with his or her community. Fieldwork/community-based learning provides basic exposure to listening to the communities that the students live and creates an opportunity to ask questions about what the needs of the various communities are and how students studying Somatic Counseling Psychology can help.
Students begin projects in the mental health community that enable them and the community to explore what it means to be a citizen, an effective change agent and a therapist. They also receive assignments throughout the curriculum that reinforce the symbiotic relationship between the classroom and the community.
This model supports our intentions to understand the work of the somatic psychotherapist, not only as a professional career, but as public work that can contribute and participate with many aspects of a community.