School Counseling Practicum and Internship: 30 Essential Lessons


Helen S. Hamlet

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  • Copyright


    I would like to dedicate this book to my husband, Dr. Thomas Spierling, and my children, Amanda Buchanan Scott and Sean William Buchanan. My family and friends are my world.


    This book is a result of collaboration, consultation, and an abiding respect for the integrity, expertise, and collegiality of my colleagues. No counselor educator works in a vacuum. Reaching out to colleagues and experts in the field is best practice. Not a day passes that I haven’t touched base with a colleague—“just to make sure.” My strongest recommendation as students prepare to enter the field of counseling is to network, consult, be humble, and know that none of us knows it all.

    Counselors are faced with unique circumstances and situations on a daily basis. After years of experience, I can attest to “not knowing” until a student walks into my office and presents the unique situation of his or her life and worldview. With this in the forefront, the 30 lessons in School Counseling Practicum and Internship are grounded in the knowledge that every interaction develops within and is influenced by the individuals’ context and frame of reference.

    School Counseling Practicum and Internship incorporates current information and resources from experts in the field of school counseling into a collection of lessons and techniques. These lessons and strategies provide critical information needed to work in the field of school counseling. This book especially provides resources for counselors who find themselves in those “not knowing” situations. For example, what if . . . a 15-year-old student decides that his identity is that of a transgendered individual and is seeking your assistance in managing the day-to-day challenges of his changing identity?

    • a 17-year-old student with high-functioning autism requests your support in deciding between going directly into the workforce or going to college?
    • the school district has assigned the development of the PreK–12 professional school core curriculum to your team?

    These situations challenge the school counselor to rely not only on his or her own knowledge, but also the input of other professionals. This book provides all of this in one resource.

    School Counseling Practicum and Internship is a practical guide to the “real” world of professional school counseling.


    The colleagues who have contributed to this book gave of their time, provided their support, and shared their expertise. Many thanks a gratitude to the following: Patti Brenner, Theo Burnes, Tricia Walsh Coates, Susan Hansen, Stacey Havlik, Margaret Herrick, Denise Horton, Leonissa Johnson, Christy Land, Cheri Lovre, Kristin Malott, Lauren Moss, Tim Poynton, Heidi Roselle, Diane Shea, Sarah Springer, Malti Tuttle, and Brian Wlazelek.

    My sincere gratitude goes to Dr. Fred Redekop. He encouraged me to write this book and provided a bridge for me to SAGE Publications.

    I would like to thank the reviewers of this book for their input, guidance, and time spent. And, I would like to thank Kassie Graves, Carrie Montoya, and Abbie Rickards for shepherding me through the publication process.


    “Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.”

    —Immanuel Kant

    Welcome to the field-experience phase of your graduate education in professional school counseling! The practicum and internship experiences and courses are a major component of the graduate training program in school counseling and are essential to the development of the requisite skill set. These field experiences are also a standard of practice identified by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA), Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Professions (CACREP), and many states’ Departments of Education. In light of the mandate for field experience, a comprehensive educational and field experience is essential. A guide providing structure, resources, and practical information from the field is a valuable resource. Hence, the purpose of this book is to provide you with 30 lesson plans, associated standards, and materials that you can take into the field and expand your knowledge.

    Chapter 1 is the only lesson that has two sections: a practicum section and an internship section. This chapter lays the foundation and specifies the requirements for each of these individual field experiences. In addition, it addresses the professionalism required of a professional school counseling practicum and internship student.

    Chapter 2 should be used for both practicum and internship experiences. This chapter focuses on getting to know the site and the site requirements, policies, and procedures. I have found that even if a counselor-in-training returns to the same site for internship, the site information they gleaned in practicum is far from comprehensive.

    The other lessons address information and practical approaches with resources for situations and topics specific to the role and responsibilities of the school counselor. Each lesson in this book is present in lesson plan format. This format provides a model for use in developing curriculum and lessons. In addition to the model of lesson plan development, this book includes a plethora of resources and reproducible handouts.

    Importantly, this book is based on years of experience in the field. It provides the information gained from hands-on, face-to-face interactions with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community stakeholders. Counselors-in-training will be prepared for the challenges that occur in the daily life of a school counselor. This book addresses the “oh my goodness” moments—the practical side of school counseling.

    Let’s begin with a self-awareness reflection. How do you feel as you embark on the beginning of the field-experience aspect of your professional journey?













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