Practicum Program

The Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) Practicum Program offers advanced clinical or counseling psychology doctoral students a quality experience in providing time-limited, outpatient psychotherapy in a university counseling center. The practicum experience is coordinated by Jennifer Kestner, Ph.D. The coordinator's responsibilities are to monitor the progress and needs of each trainee, encourage professional and personal development, and facilitate supportive interactions and communication between practicum students and CCS staff. Kestner also serves as the liaison with the trainees' home programs for the purpose of recruitment and evaluation.

Practicum students receive 1.5-2.5 hours per week of individual supervision over the course of the academic year and they also participate in group supervision for one hour per week with their cohort and the practicum coordinator. Ideally, each practicum student will have two or three individual supervisors over the academic year for a breadth of supervision experiences.

Presenting problems of clients seen by practicum therapists include: anxiety and stress, depression, trauma, interpersonal and family issues, eating and body image concerns, substance use/abuse, and other concerns common in a college student population.

The practicum experience includes:

  • Individual therapy with clients
  • Initial consultation (triage) appointments
  • Possible group therapy co-facilitation
  • Bi-weekly training seminars on various clinical and professional development topics
  • Weekly individual and group supervision
  • Participation in CCS outreach presentations, programs, and tabling events on a volunteer basis
  • Professional development training opportunities offered to all CCS staff

Practicum students will have a 22-25 hour placement each semester that is finalized with the practicum coordinator based on schedule availability, individual training goals, and availability of CCS training opportunities. We require all practicum students to be at CCS for at least a half-day on Friday mornings for group supervision and training seminars. We also value taking time for lunch and interacting with our colleagues, and that time is included below.

A typical breakdown of weekly hours is as follows:

Activity Hours
Individual Therapy 8-10
Group Therapy 0-2
Supervision (individual and group, varies based on clinical activities) 2.5-3.5
Initial Consultation (Triage) Hours 2
Training Seminar (every other week) 2
Administrative Tasks (clinical documentation, case management, etc.) 5.5
Lunch 2-3
Total Hours 22-25

Consistent with the Association of Chicagoland Externship and Practicum Training (ACEPT) guidelines, the CCS practicum program will follow the dates below for the 2021-22 application and interview schedule:

  • Application dates: Friday, Jan. 29 through Friday, Feb. 12, 2021
  • Interview notification: Week of Feb. 22, 2021
  • Video interviews: Monday, March 1 through Tuesday, March 9, 2021
  • 2021-22 practicum program dates: Practicum orientation will begin on or about Monday, Aug.2, 2021, and the practicum year will end on May 13, 2022.
  • ACEPT conduct pledge
  • Cover letter
  • Current vita/resume
  • Three (3) reference letters from individuals who can speak to your clinical potential and/or abilities
  • Copies of graduate school transcripts (transcripts should be current but can be unofficial and scanned)

Please email all application materials (or have your reference letters emailed) to Jennifer Kestner, Ph.D. at jkestner@niu.edu.

Contact Us

Counseling and Consultation Services
Campus Life Building, room 200
815-753-1206
Monday-Friday
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Initial Consultation Hours

Monday-Friday
Noon - 4 p.m.

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