Practicum Monday: Basic Competencies


Today starts our 3rd trimester of the 2007-8 school year and Cohort 3 begins their Practicum and Professional Orientation course and first fieldwork experiences of the program. Last year I ran across an article (see reference at end) trying to articulate the domains and levels of competence in focus in a psychology practicum experience. Though the article is directed to doctoral level practicums, I think the domains fit for any level of trainee and are a good reminder for both practicum students and their professors. The authors summarize the “Practicum Competencies Outline” and in turn I will quote/summarize/highlight them below. Click here for the whole document.

  • Baseline Competencies (for entry to practicum)
    • Personality Characteristics
      • interpersonal skills (verbal and nonverbal forms of communication, open to feedback, empathic, respectful)
      • cognitive skills (intellectual curiosity, flexibility, problem-solving, critical thinking, organizing)
      • affective skills (ability to tolerate affect and conflict and ambiguity)
      • personality/attitudes (desire to help, openness to new ideas, honesty, courage, valuing ethics)
      • expressive skills (ability to communicate ideas, feelings, ideas in multiple forms)
      • reflective skills (ability to examine and consider own motives, attitudes and behaviors and recognize one impact on others)
      • personal skills (ability to present oneself in a professional manner)
    • Knowledge from the classroom
      • assessment and interviewing
      • intervention
      • ethics and legal issues
      • diversity
  • Skills to Develop during Practicum
    • Relationship/interpersonal skills
    • Applying research (less so for MA level)
    • Psych assessment (not for MA level)
    • Intervention
    • Consultation/interprofessional collaboration
    • Diversity
    • Ethics
    • Leadership
    • Supervisory skills (not for MA level)
    • Metaknowledge/metacompetencies

This second major bullet point (competencies built during practicum) is fleshed out further by listing levels of competencies. The article illustrates relationship/interpersonal skill competencies by listing how it will show up with clients (e.g., ability to form working alliances), colleagues (e.g., ability to accept feedback nondefensively from peers), supervisors (ability to self-reflect), support staff (respectful of support staff roles), clinical teams (participates fully in team work), community professionals (ability to further the work and mission of the site).

Hatcher, R.L, & Lassiter, K.D. (2007). Initial Training in Professional Psychology: The Practicum Competencies Outline. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 1, 49-63.

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Filed under counseling, counseling skills, Psychology, teaching counseling

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