Master of Counselling Psychology: Art Therapy

Transform lives through 
creative expression.

Transform lives through
creative expression.

Community Service Practicum

What is the Community Service Practicum?

Students in the Adler University’s M.A. Programs complete a non-clinical community service (CSP) practicum at a community agency or organization. Students have the opportunity to learn the work of the agency at a ‘grassroots’ level and will also complete a project that benefits the agency and the student’s learning objectives. Through service learning, students have the opportunity to help effect change in the community and also become aware of some of the systems that may make change challenging. 

Why is it a requirement of the M.A. program?

Alfred Adler was the first psychologist to acknowledge and include the social nature of all people in the development of his psychological theory. He was interested in the health of individuals and the community, and surmised that healthier individuals led to healthier communities. He believed that all individuals could make a contribution to the lives of others and that in doing so, they would enhance their own lives as well. The term Adler used was “gemeinschaftsgefuhl” which means a feeling of community and connectedness to others. Adler was interested in social change and intrigued by the idea that even the actions of one individual could provide a lasting benefit to society.  

The Adler University seeks to develop socially responsible practitioners and to assist all students in the development of an understanding of the concepts of social justice, social change, and community based interventions. The Community Service Practicum (CSP) is a key component in the development of socially responsible practitioners. Students are immersed in a service learning opportunity in which hands on experience is supplemented with academic coursework to assist students in their efforts to integrate theory and practice.

In addition, the CSP has several other objectives:

  • To assist students in learning about the effectiveness of community-based interventions
  • To understand the impact of social institutions and social injustices on human well-being
  • To evaluate and understand the role of the mental health professional in initiating social and systemic change
  • To learn how to function as part of a team and work within an organization
  • To learn ways in which social change can be created

When do I start the CSP?

The Fall Cohort begins their CSP in January of their first year. The Spring Cohort begins their CSP in June of their first year.

How long is the practicum?

The practicum is 150 hours completed over a minimum of six months. Students spend 6-8 hours per week at their CSP placement.

What can I expect from the CSP?

Students initially familiarize themselves with the organization through observation and then learn the work of the organization. Through discussion with the agency they will decide upon a project that fits into one or a combination several of the following areas:  

  • Grant Writing & Fundraising
  • Community Needs Assessment
  • Advocacy, Social Action Research & Publication
  • Community Outreach, Intervention & Education
  • Program Development and Evaluation

Examples of previous projects include:

  • Development and delivery of educational programs such as critical incidence training, gender awareness, life skills training & parenting groups
  • Organizing community focused events to raise funds or awareness of relevant issues
  • Development of research tools, conducting research for on-going, long term projects
  • Production of psycho educational, awareness building plays, videos on various social justice issues
  • Evaluation and development of marketing tools such as websites and newsletters.

 How do I find a CSP placement?

The Adler University works with a wide variety of organizations throughout the Lower Mainland. Several of these sites are long-term partners, meaning that we seek to have a student placed with them at all times. Other sites accept our students on a regular basis. We are continually working on developing new sites and often students suggest sites that they would like to work with. During your first term, the CSP Coordinator will visit your Professional Development (200) class to discuss CSPs. After that each student will meet with the CSP coordinator to discuss sites they are interested in. Some students may have ideas that do not specifically fit within one organization and may wish to develop their own self-directed practicum. After discussing this with the CSP Coordinator, students would then make an application to a site.

Besides the practicum, are there any other requirements?

Yes, students will present at a CSP Poster event near the completion of their CSP practicum experience. Information on the Poster Presentation and required impact statements are available online for current students and in addition, there will be short workshops on the Poster Presentation made available to students. Students are also required to complete programmatic CSP forms throughout their CSP. These are also available on Moodle in the CSP Handbook for current students. 

Clinical Practicum FAQs

What is a Clinical Practicum?

A Clinical Practicum involves students providing psychological services to clients under the direction of competent clinicians. The goal of this training is for students to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values needed to become competent practitioners. A Clinical Practicum complements classroom education, provides the opportunity to work with experienced clinicians and helps students acquire a professional identity.

What kinds of sites are available?

Approved sites include a range of settings, such as university counselling centres, community mental health agencies, substance abuse treatment programs, schools and private practices.

Can I create my own site?

Yes. If there is a site you’re interested in that isn’t currently approved, you need to provide the Vancouver campus Training Department with contact information for that site and the Training Department will follow up to determine if the site meets our requirements for quality training.

How many hours are involved?

Students must complete 700 hours of clinical practicum, 200 of which must be direct clinical service (face-to-face contact). Students are typically at their site 2 to 3 days per week for a period of 8 to 12 months.

Can I condense my Clinical Practicum and complete my hours in a few months?

No. The Adler University is committed to providing students with a prolonged practicum experience that maximizes professional skill development, and therefore does not approve block practicum experiences.   As such, students must take a minimum of eight months to complete their Clinical Practicum – and a maximum of twelve months.

What type of supervision will I get?

Students will receive weekly individual supervision from their training site supervisor, and will also enroll concurrently in practicum seminars led by faculty members at the University. These seminars will meet for approximately 4 hours every other week for eight weeks each semester. Supervision will involve student process with clients, discussion of cases, listening to or viewing tapes of sessions, and case presentations designed to enhance clinical skill development.   

When and how do I apply?

Students generally begin their practicum after they have completed the first year of coursework and the Community Service Practicum. All students must attend a workshop several months before practicum begins to address the Clinical Practicum application process and outline the specific steps to be followed in the application process. The Director of Training and Community Service Practicum Coordinator will set the dates for these workshops.