"Why is this so complicated?"   


Supervisors (and students) frequently ask why navigating through COUN 239 - Field Placement in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling is so complicated. We have confusing rules about supervision and counting hours, which might make working with our students seem more complicated than working with other universities' students.

The crux of the matter is that Fresno State is serving TWO MASTERS where the other universities serve only one . . . We are the only university in the region that is accredited by the Counsel on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and it is a very BIG DEAL for us. CACREP accreditation sets us apart from the others and offers assurance that certain, specific training standards have been met by each student.

As we tailor our programs to meet both CACREP standards and regulations of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), some awkward scenarios tend to develop, particularly where our students are pursuing professional experiences in the community.

Below is a chart that explains the differences posed by CACREP and the BBS on several key points relevant to you. Keep in mind that while there are differences, it is essential that our student experiences meet BOTH sets of standards. We value our accreditation, and of course we want our student experiences to conform to requirements of the licensing board.

If, after reading this, you have additional questions, please let us know.

Master #1:
CACREP
Master #2:
BBS
Counsel on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
California Board of Behavioral Sciences
CACREP Terms:

As far as CACREP is concerned, our students placed in your agency are "interns"; they are post-practicum students who are working in an agency with primary responsibility to the agency and the agency supervisor.
BBS Terms:

The BBS considers a community placement for pre-Master's degree graduates to be another "practicum" rather than an "internship"; the terms "intern" and "internship" are reserved for post-Master's degree recipients and counseling experiences respectively. Technically, our students working in your agency are "trainees." The term "trainee" doesn't appear in the CACREP nomenclature.
Where is the locus of concern?

Students may be less attuned to the critical nature of CACREP standards than are the faculty, but our reputation is based on maintaining CACREP standards. Students are mostly concerned about making forward progress toward licensure and addressing the BBS rules and regulations. Our goal is to address both bodies' regulations and standards, simultaneously, and the rules are different for each. As one might expect, some adjustments have to be made along the way to accommodate BOTH entities. It's a challenge.
Where is the locus of concern?

Students are highly focused on gaining hours to apply to the required 3,000 hours of supervised counseling required by the BBS for the MFT license. They may not see how CACREP affects them directly other than by our response to heightened course content standards and internship regulations, or at least their vision may not be a as clearly focused as it is on the ever-present regulations of the BBS. It is essential that we meet BOTH CACREP and BBS requirements simultaneously, even though the requirements are somewhat different. It's a challenge.
Supervision Hours*:

Students may work a maximum of 40 hours per week and they must receive 1 hour of individual or 1 hour of triadic supervision each week. "Triadic" means 1 supervisor with 2 supervisees for one 60-minute hour of supervisory contact. "Group supervision" doesn't exist where CACREP is concerned.

Students in the Counselor Education Program at Fresno State typically have internship for two contiguous semesters (6 units, total). Over the course of the internship, CACREP requires students to provide 600 hours of service, 300 of which must be in the offering of direct counseling. In most cases, the "other activities" that interns perform will account for the remaining 300 hours.

At some point during their internship, students must lead a group counseling experience for 10 hours under supervision. If necessary, the group counseling requirement can be fulfilled elsewhere if your organization doesn't provide that treatment modality.


*1 supervision hour = 60-minutes; 1 clinical hour = 50-mines
Supervision Hours*:

Students may work a maximum of 40 hours per week counting all hours-generating activities, including counseling and supervision. They are required to have one "unit" of supervision during any week where hours are earned (even if only 1 hour). A "unit" consists of 1 60-minute hour of individual supervision, or 2 hours of group supervision with no more than 8 participants. Unfortunately, "group supervision" as described by the BBS DOES NOT meet CACREP standards, therefore we discourage it. Instead, to meet both BBS and CACREP guidelines, refer to this as TRIADIC supervision, which meets the BBS definition of "group supervision." CACREP defines "triadic supervision" as 1 supervisor with 2 interns for 1 hour; our extrapolation that meets both requirements consists of 1 supervisor with a maximum of 4 trainees for 2 hours.

Additionally, supervision ratios are in effect. A trainee needs to receive 1 unit of supervision for every 5 hours of client contact. For example, should a trainee have 15 hours of client contact in a week, they would require 3 units of supervision in any of the above mentioned configurations. Other than the 1 unit required in any week where hours are earned, the remaining units may be spread over the life of the traineeship.


*1 supervision hour = 60-minutes; 1 clinical hour = 50-minutes
Documentation:

Interns have a university-developed form for documenting CACREP internship hours on a weekly basis. Supervisors may wish to go over this form from time to time.
Documentation:

Trainees have a form from the BBS for documenting hours on a weekly basis. Supervisors need to sign-off on this form each week (the best time to sign-off is during supervision).
University Supervision:

Interns, while working under your guidance, are in the final phase of their CACREP-approved program. They will meet with their university supervisor on a weekly basis, and the supervisor will be available to work with you as needed. Typically, there will be a phone call once or twice during the semester to check on progress, and a visit to each site at least once during the life of the internship. We encourage you to contact us with any problems you may be experiencing with your intern, and of course, with any questions you may have on this confusing topic!
University Supervision:

Trainees working under your guidance are gaining practicum experience while acquiring hours toward their MFT license. We know that a great traineeship experience prepares them for "the real work" as a counselor, and we recognize that some things can only be taught in vivo -- that's where you come into the picture. You are our real-world representatives.
How are we different from Phoenix and National?

Neither the local University of Phoenix nor National University are CACREP accredited in Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling/Therapy; their students who are working in your agency may be having their only practicum experience, which may necessitate more frequent site visits and greater contact with the university supervisor. Our students have previously completed at least TWO intensive faculty-supervised practicum experiences, on campus in our counseling lab and at our university-owned agency (Fresno Family Counseling Center). While serving at your agency, they are pursuing hours related to CACREP accreditation and BBS regulations, and are functioning under YOUR primary guidance.
How are we different from Phoenix and National?

Students from the University of Phoenix and National University working in your agency are probably there for their only practicum experience, which may necessitate more frequent site visits and greater contact with the university supervisor. By the time our trainees reach your agency, they have already completed at least TWO intensive faculty-supervised practicum experience, on campus in our counseling lab and at our university-owned agency (Fresno Family Counseling Center), and their experience with you is considered a "third practicum experience."
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Updated: December 4, 2012

Take me back to the COUN 239 forms page.
Questions regarding this page can be sent via e-mail to H. Dan Smith at dans@mail.fresnostate.edu