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New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University

Competency Areas

Individual/Couples/Family Counseling and Psychotherapy

Interns maintain a recurring client caseload of 8-12 clients each week during the academic year, in addition to providing triage and intake services. Interns’ caseload is diverse both in terms of clients’ presenting concerns and cultural backgrounds.. Because the Counseling Center is the primary mental health provider for students in an area that is resource-poor, services are free for students. Accordingly, the Center follows a brief therapy model and clients have a limited number of sessions available for individual, couples, or family services. Group sessions are unlimited so long as it is determined that the client is continuing to benefit from group.

Interns have the opportunity to conduct couples and/or family counseling. Depending upon the intern’s prior training background, the intern may work alone, with another intern, or with a professional staff member in providing the couples/family therapy. Beginning in 2016-2017, couples counseling will no longer be a required competency. Instead, it will be offered as an Area of Emphasis.

Informal case presentations occur throughout the internship year in various seminars and clinical meetings. A formal case presentation is completed in January and presented to Center staff, highlighting interns’ work during the fall semester with an individual, couple, or family.

Psychological Assessment Competency

Assessment is defined as the holistic process of collecting quantitative (e.g., tests and measures) and qualitative (e.g., clinical interview) data, interpretation and report writing, communicating the results to the client and using that information as a therapeutic intervention. Interns have the opportunity to practice, enhance and master their skills in objective personality assessment , intelligence testing, career assessment, and other instruments commonly used in clinical practice (e.g., Beck Depression Inventory II; WAIS-IV; MBTI).  In addition, interns may elect to enhance their skills in using subjective personality assessment.

Triage/Intake Interviewing Competency

Interns are provided training in conducting triage (1 – 2 hours weekly) and intake interviews during the initial orientation to the internship and have regular opportunities to conduct these interviews during the internship year. Ongoing individual supervision will be provided throughout the year so interns can master their skills in conducting both triage and intake interviews, obtaining sufficient information for an initial diagnostic assessment, triaging client concerns, determining client disposition, and making additional and appropriate referrals. Interns will have two intakes observed (live or recorded) by their individual supervisor during the course of each semester.

Crisis Intervention Competency

Crisis intervention is a significant component of the internship experience at NMSU and interns are actively involved in the provision of crisis services provided to university faculty, staff, and students. Interns will be assigned a weekly four hour block of time during which they will provide on-call services for the Center.

Group Counseling Competency

Group counseling is viewed as an extremely effective means of addressing interpersonal, intrapsychic, and familial concerns and may be the primary treatment of choice for a number of our clients’ presenting concerns. Interns are expected to  co-facilitate either a process or structured psychoeducational group (1 – 1.5 hours) with a professional staff member during both the fall and spring academic semesters. However, while efforts are made for interns to have co-leading experiences during both semesters, there are occasions when groups are canceled due to a lack of participants. In the past, interns have co-led with one anther a professional development group comprised of master’s level students from the Counseling and Educational Psychology department during the fall semester.

Outreach and Program Evaluation Competency

During orientation to the internship, interns receive training in the creation, design, and presentation of outreach programs that are often requested within the campus environment, including the teambuilding low ropes course that is popular with incoming first year UNIV 150 classes. The Outreach & Program Evaluation Seminar in the fall semester provides an opportunity for interns to learn prevention theories/models, as well as program evaluation approaches/theories.  Interns are given the opportunity to develop their outreach skills by facilitating psycho-educational workshops/presentations or groups, being involved in informational tabling efforts, acting as an outreach co-liaison with a campus department/office, and implementing a program evaluation approach/tool as part of their seminar requirements. Interns will also receive individual feedback from the Outreach Coordinator throughout the year. Successful completion of this competency requires interns to facilitate a minimum of ten outreach presentations during the course of the internship year.

Consultation Competency

A highlight of the training program at NMSU is the goal of encouraging social responsibility and social action among staff and trainees. While individual counseling services provide many opportunities for facilitating change, we also believe that professionals must be willing to go beyond the comforts of the office. As such, interns will work together to create a consultation project  during the year that focuses on social action, responsibility, justice, or advocacy in order to address environmental and systemic means of facilitating change within the university setting. The group consultation project is presented to the Center staff during the Summer semester.

Multicultural Awareness Competency

The Center is committed to meeting the needs of culturally diverse students, staff, and faculty and the training program integrates multicultural awareness in counseling/psychotherapy, outreach and consultation, assessment practices, supervision, and staff development. We recognize that gaining and maintaining multicultural competency is an ongoing developmental process for interns as well as professional staff. To facilitate this process, a Multicultural Awareness Seminar is provided once a week throughout the academic year to provides knowledge and skill training, as well as a supportive environment in which to reflect, examine, challenge and express one’s beliefs and perspectives. Once a month, the entire staff comes together for the All Staff Multicultural Conversation Hour to offer an additional venue for continued growth towards multicultural competency and sensitivity. Another way to facilitate this process is having staff and interns serve as co-liaisons for various offices and units on campus.  These offices include:  Chicano Programs, American Indian Programs, Black Programs, Sexual and Gender Diversity Resource Center, Interfaith Council, College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), TRiO/Student Success Services/Upward Bound, Athletics Department, Military & Veterans Program, International Student & Scholar Services, Greek Life, and Housing and Residential Life. Successful completion of this competency includes a clinical caseload in which a minimum of 30% of clients/outreach participants are of identified minority status.

Supervision Competency

We have a strong commitment to providing quality therapeutic experiences as well as providing quality developmentally-based masters/doctoral practicum supervision to the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department students. We assist doctoral interns in their development as future trainers and supervisors by providing the Supervision Seminar, where there will be didactic instruction and discussion on both the theory and practice of supervision. In the fall semester the focus will be theoretical and in the spring semester interns will provide supervision to a masters-level intern or doctoral practicum student for a minimum of 15 supervision sessions. Additionally,  each intern will give a formal case presentation of their work with a supervisee during the spring semester of the Supervision Seminar.

The supervision competency covers not only the interns’ provision of supervision to the masters or doctoral practicum students but also the intern’s orientation toward receiving supervision from both a primary and secondary senior staff member as well. This aspect of the competency addresses the intern’s professional behavior in the supervision they receive including:

  • openness to feedback and readiness to learn
  • willingness to show one’s work in supervision and seminars
  • ability to initiate addressing needs on a session-by session basis in supervision
  • receptivity to self-examination as relevant to one’s professional work with not only clients but also in the other professional roles they assume
  • being willing to self-reflect and identify areas of strength as well as growth areas that lead to goals for the supervision experience
  • an ability to recognize when to consult (self-supervisory capability)
  • being able to appropriately express concerns directly with a supervisor and provide relevant feedback

Interns are required to receive a minimum of 30 individual supervision sessions during each semester (fall and spring) and 24 during the summer months. In addition, over the summer months interns receive one and a half (1.5) hours of group supervision each week for their work with individuals/couples.

Professional/Ethical Behavior Competency

We expect that interns will be knowledgeable about professional/ethical/legal issues within the field and will conduct themselves accordingly. This competency addresses the intern’s ability to be autonomous while recognizing the need to consult with others Interns are expected to be an effective and integral member of the staff, and this includes the ability to be a team member, to work well with other professionals, and to communicate openly with coworkers when differences arise. We understand that our work with clients is complex and can present ethical challenges. As such, we strive to create a work atmosphere in which objective feedback can be provided within a supportive atmosphere.