Do You Suffer from Practicum Panic?
Check email, send out a cover letter, look up new clinics, check email, send out inquiries, look at practice’s websites. This cycle has been on repeat for the last month of my life. Being a master’s student and looking for a practicum placement is stressful. I am doing my Master of Counseling Psychology and in our third year of school we get to experience hands-on learning by taking clients and being supervised in a real counseling clinic. However, finding that practicum placement during a global pandemic where everyone’s time and resources are spread thin is difficult. I have had places ask for my resume and then I never hear back from them. I get ghosted from placements that I reach out to and ask if they are interested in taking on a student intern. I understand that many of these small private clinics do not have the resources to respond to every applicant, but it is still disheartening to email a place and then never hear back. It feels like there is no location out there that is willing to take you. Our program tells us not to stress and that everyone will find a placement but when there are so many of us students and so little placements you can’t help being stressed. Everyone wants a placement that specializes in their interests. One of our instructors told us that even if you get into a placement that isn’t ideal, you will learn and grow from the experience. This is something that I have been trying to remind myself as I apply to placements that feel like they may not be the ideal location for myself.
The process is lengthy. I start by looking up websites and seeing if they take practicum students or if they might be a place that would meet the qualifications to take a student. If they get my interest, I send out an inquiry email letting them know my interest in interning at their center. After that, I hope that they are talking and I send my CV/resume, cover letter, and the requirements of my program so they can make sure their center meets my needs. If I seem like a good candidate, then I get an interview. Preparing for interviews is hard, you want to showcase yourself but also how you are a good fit for their counseling center. I have a list of all the places I have inquired at, if I sent them my CV, and if I got an interview. Every day that list gets longer as I hear back from placements that they are unable to take a student or that their positions are already full. It feels like an uphill battle, but I know if I keep searching and applying, I will find a placement that will help continue my education towards becoming a therapist.
All this being said, if you are like me and on the hunt for a practicum placement, or a job, or trying to get into an educational program, it might be a long and slow process. At times it might feel like you are not going to get accepted anywhere but it will happen. You can work hard and find a place that will appreciate your experience and skills and will help you on your learning journey through life.