Thank you for your interest in a practicum position at the Vanderbilt University Counseling Center (VUCC) for the 2018-2019 year. The VUCC houses approximately 30 mental health professionals, including full and part-time staff (professional counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatric nurse practitioners), as well as trainees at multiple levels (e.g., practicum students, psychiatric residents, pre-and-post doctoral interns/residents). Training at the VUCC takes place in the context of a high-paced clinical setting. As such, we value readiness to function in a clinical role when considering applicants for all training positions.

The VUCC offers a wide range of services to full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. The majority of students seen at the VUCC fall within the young-to-middle adult range. These students are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, SES, religion/spirituality, and sexual orientation/identity, allowing trainees to gain exposure to the interplay between multicultural issues and mental health. There is also diversity in terms of presenting concerns, which typically range from moderate to severe in nature. Consequently, trainees have an opportunity to work with more complex clients, assuming that these opportunities are consistent with experience and skill level.

Our training program corresponds with the Vanderbilt Academic Calendar. Our  2018-2019 practicum training will begin the week of August 13th, 2018 through graduation in May of 2019.

To meet the needs of our students, the VUCC offers several treatment modalities. Students also have access to psychological and cognitive assessment services at the VUCC. We are offering two options of training for the 2018-2019 academic year: 1. Counseling Track 2. Advanced Practicum Crisis Care. 


Counseling Track:

Counseling Track: Individual therapy represents the primary focus of the VUCC’s counseling track. Throughout the course of the training year, practicum students are exposed to a variety of presenting concerns, which provides opportunities to engage in both short-term, solution-focused work, as well as depth-oriented, long-term psychotherapy. Adjustment, mood and anxiety disorders are among the most common presenting concerns seen at the Center, and specialty areas can include eating disorders, trauma survivors and substance abuse. Caseloads are generally built up through the initial intake process. Practicum students conduct initial interviews weekly, under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, who follows the student throughout the course of the year, sits in on intake interviews, assists in diagnostic formulation, and provides report edits.

Practicum students are also provided with opportunities to help facilitate process, support, and psychoeducational groups. The VUCC is very invested in group therapy as a primary treatment modality and has placed an emphasis on creating and maintaining a wide range of groups to meet the needs of our students. While group availability and the needs of the Center are factored into group placement, trainees’ clinical area(s) of interest and/or desired areas for growth weigh heavily in the decision making process. We encourage practicum students to let us know about specific groups in which they are interested, as well as provide ideas for new groups. An updated list of groups currently offered at the VUCC can be found here.

Practicum students will also be presented with opportunities to participate in outreach activities associated with the VUCC and larger Vanderbilt community. Please note that outreach may occur at times that fall outside of a student’s scheduled clinical activities at the VUCC and is not counted as direct face-to-face clinical hours. Therefore, it is incumbent on each student and his/her training program to decide whether such activities should be undertaken.

As a cohort, Practicum students participate in the mandatory weekly practicum student seminar, which currently takes place every Monday from 8 -9am. The seminar includes a combination of didactic lectures and case conference presentations by both students and staff. Topics are associated with the mental health field that address core competencies expected for professional development. Practicum students present on a rotating basis and are given the opportunity to integrate feedback from their cohort as well as the seminar facilitators.

Supervision is another key component to the practicum student training experience. All practicum students receive two hours of supervision per week, one hour from a fully licensed professional (primary supervision) and one hour of secondary supervision from a mental health professional who is: 1) at an advanced stage of doctoral training (pre-doctoral intern), 2) completing their post-doctoral residency, or 3) in the process of collecting their hours for licensure.

Prerequisites for Counseling Track: Prerequisites for Counseling Track: Completed graduate level courses in 1) Counseling Theory, 2) Psychopathology, and 3) Ethics. Monday morning availability to attend seminar and willingness to videotape counseling sessions are also required. Interview and vita are required. Not required but preferred: 1) Previous direct clinical experience and 2) Techniques of Counseling course.       

Advanced Practicum Crisis Care

Our Advanced Practicum Crisis Care position provides training on crisis assessment and skills. Our Crisis Care Team provides therapeutic support for students in immediate crisis and are available Monday through Friday from 10am to 4:30pm. Crisis Care sessions are brief assessments focused on addressing the present needs or concerns of the students. Advanced Practicum students are provided training in crisis assessment, solution focused care, referrals, and suicide assessment. This practicum training also provides the opportunity for a smaller clinical caseload or followup of students seen in crisis care. Advanced Crisis Care Practicum students are matched with a Crisis Care provider for supervision and engage in the practicum student seminar. Due to the presenting concerns for Crisis Care, this Advanced Practicum position is recommended for those trainees with prior clinical experience.

The VUCC does not identify with any specific theoretical orientation and is integrative in nature. Practicum students are not expected to adhere to any particular approach or orientation to therapy. However, the Center does place great emphasis on helping students cultivate an understanding of the interplay between one’s theoretical orientation, conceptualization, and intervention, as well as the centrality of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning when caring for others.

Time commitment:

15+ per week for Counseling & Advanced Practicum Trainees. Academic year commitment is mandatory for both tracks.

Number of Positions 

Counseling Track = maximum of 3
Advanced Track = 1 position


The office is located on Vanderbilt University Campus. Parking permits are available for a fee that provide guaranteed, on-campus parking. Off-campus, public parking is available within several blocks of the office.

Practicum Training Coordinators

Melissa Porter, Psy.D., HSP

Mary Clare Champion, Ph.D., HSP


Practicum Application Dates and Deadlines:

  • Applications are open for submission: January 8th, 2018
  • Applications are due: Wednesday, February 28th, 11:59 pm.
  • Candidates will be notified of selection for interview: March 5th to March 9th.
    • An email will be send out on Monday March 5th offering interviews, in which students will be requested to email or contact our office to schedule an interview dates.
  • Interview dates: Thursday March 15th   12 pm to 2pm and Friday March 16th 8am to 10am
  • Selection offers will be provided the week of March 19th, 2018.

Our application process is now closed and will resume again in January, 2019 for the 2019/2020 academic year.

If you have any questions about uploading our practicum application process, please contact Kay Brown at (615) 322-2571.  Please direct all other questions regarding our training program to our Practicum Coordinators, Melissa Porter, PsyD, HSP, and Mary Clare Champion, Ph.D., HSP.