Counseling Practicum Program Overview

CAPS Overview

CAPS provides mental health services to the UCSB student community. Services include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, outreach/consultation, testing, and mental health peer services.

Training Program

The counseling practicum is designed to provide an introduction to psychological services within a university counseling center and facilitate the development of clinical skills required for these services. Practicum students will gain experience in individual and group therapy (subject to interest and availability) under the supervision of staff psychologists and doctoral psychology interns.



  • At least one year experience in a supervised practicum setting (preferably with adult population). 
  • Course work in psychotherapy, psychopathology, assessment, and groups. 

Time Requirements

A minimum of 10-12 hours per week for one academic year (three consecutive quarters).

Application Requirements

  • Application deadline: April 15, 2024
  • Cover letter describing interest, special skills, and a statement of personal and professional goals for this training experience. 
  • Most recent CV

Please email these two items to:
Juan R. Riker, Ph.D. (
Training Director
Counseling and Psychological Services
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-7030

For more information, please email Dr. Riker.

Description of CAPS Practicum Training


During the practicum experience, developing clinicians begin to formulate their own counseling style, refine their therapeutic and assessment skills, and grow in personal and professional areas.

The training program is designed to support the skills the practicum student possesses, as well as challenge the student's self-awareness and how this impacts the therapeutic process.

The practicum experience is a time for clinical skills to be integrated with conceptual/theoretical knowledge. This involves developing a sense of one's personal style, and blending that style with the counseling process and with the skills of assessment and conceptualization.

Training Program

The practicum training program provides clinical experience with a student population through CAPS. Over the course of the year, practicum students will be expected to develop their skills on both a personal and professional level through individual supervision, discussing clinical cases and professional issues in the training seminar, and working with clients individually and in groups.


Practicum students will be developing a sense of the ongoing therapy process, including building rapport with clients, assessing and setting counseling goals, and continuing through the process to termination.

By the end of the year, students will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Conceptual skills - being able to generate an overview of client dynamics within the context of therapy and the client's world.
  • Assessment skills - being able to accurately evaluate the client's primary conflict areas, personality dynamics, and background.
  • Treatment plans - utilizing assessment and conceptual skills to formulate appropriate goals and a time frame for counseling.
  • Group skills (if applicable) - develop a beginning level of understanding of group dynamics and develop the ability to function as a group co-leader.

Personal growth will also be a primary area of emphasis, with students expected to demonstrate:

  • Affective/cognitive components of self in relating to the client and understanding the therapy process.
  • Knowledge of self dynamics and how these impact oneself, the client, and the process.

Professional development is the final area of emphasis. Students will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Ethical awareness of client/therapy issues, including one's own limitations with clients, and how to make appropriate referrals.
  • Articulation of professional knowledge and presentation of case material to one's colleagues.

Training Activities

  • Individual Counseling/Psychotherapy
    • Brief Therapy
    • Longer Term Therapy
    • Weekly Individual Supervision
    • Quarterly Case Presentations
  • Group Counseling/Psychotherapy (optional, dependent upon availability)
    • Co-leading
    • Weekly Supervision with group leaders
    • Final Group Presentation
  • Intake Interviewing and Write-ups
  • Clinical Documentation 
    • Case Notes
    • Treatment Summaries
  • Training Seminar/Group Supervision


In addition to seeing clients, the practicum student will have one hour of individual supervision and two hours of training seminar/group supervision per week. In Fall quarter, the practicum student will sit in on intake interviews with staff members before conducting intakes on their own. The opportunity to co-lead a group will be provided based on availability, interest, and skill level.


Practicum students will be required to produce video recordings of their counseling sessions for use by their individual supervisors. Case presentations will be required at the end of Winter and Spring quarters.

Evaluation forms will be completed and discussed each quarter by the practicum student and the individual supervisor. Informal evaluations in the form of feedback will be an ongoing part of the process both in supervision and in seminar.