Activities and training

To achieve the goals of the internship experience, all interns participate in the services of the Counseling Center and a variety of training activities.

Counseling, psychotherapy, intake interviewing

Counseling and psychotherapy activities include individual, couples, and group sessions. Although the primary emphasis is on short-term treatment, interns also carry long-term cases. Case loads average 12 client contact hours per week. Video- and audiotaping are used. Interns maintain regular weekly openings for intake sessions.  Interviewing skills, diagnostic impressions, and appropriate disposition are all considered to be necessary aspects of the intake process. Interns are also responsible for a consistent weekly crisis walk-in coverage time. The Center uses an electronic scheduling and record-keeping system (Titanium).

Intern supervision

Quality supervision is viewed as the cornerstone of the training program and is highly valued by the staff. Interns receive two hours of individual supervision weekly for clinical cases and one hour for supervision of the intern's supervisee by a licensed psychologist. Interns also receive a minimum of 30 minutes of individual supervision for the intern's group therapy experiences and special focus rotations. Regular ongoing supervision is also provided for the assessment and outreach work conducted by interns. Staff are always available for assistance. Supervisory assignments rotate by semester. The following are expectations for clinical supervision:

  • Prepare for supervisory sessions by having questions and samples of therapy, by being open to feedback and by making available up-to-date files including intake summary, progress notes, case plans, release(s) of information, and any test data.
  • Video- or audiotape all counseling sessions and have them available to the supervisor.
  • Prepare and review audio or videotapes of counseling sessions during each supervisory rotation.
  • Reflectively consider one's clinical work, including one's own theoretical orientation, clinical strengths and areas for growth, reactions to clients, and client treatment goals.

Supervision of practicum

Every semester each intern supervises a master's or doctoral level counselor. Supervision is taped and supervised in a one-hour group seminar that meets every week. An additional one hour of supervision, provided by the intern's primary supervisor, focuses on the practicum counselor's cases and provides additional supervision of the intern's supervision activities.  There is didactic training and a time to informally discuss the supervisory experience.


Interns are introduced to the supervised use of a comprehensive collection of tests to address a wide range of presenting questions. A minimum of five assessment batteries is required during the internship year. Additionally, there is a required two-hour group seminar in assessment that meets every other week. This includes training in test administration, scoring, and interpretation, as well as assessment report writing.

Group supervision/case conference

This meeting is devoted to case consultation of cases brought to the group forum, with the goal of enhancing conceptualization, interventions and application of research to practice.  All staff rotate in presenting their cases at case conference, providing opportunities for modeling case presentations and giving and receiving feedback on challenging clinical issues.


Outreach training and experience are emphasized in the internship. Throughout the year all interns participate in structured workshops and training presentations for residential life, academic departments, student groups and other organizations on campus. There is an optional rotation in outreach and there are occasionally requests for consultation and team-building with university departments.

Professional development training seminars

Interns attend weekly training seminars conducted by staff and visiting presenters. The seminars are designed to offer perspectives in a number of areas of importance to emerging psychologists. Examples of past seminar modules include time-limited therapy, psychological assessment, ethics and legal issues, developmental issues, cross-cultural counseling, organizational consultation, crisis intervention, psychopharmacology, DSM-IV criteria, couples therapy, managed health care, visits to local treatment facilities and cultural attractions and professional development issues. Interns may also request topics of special interest to them.

Training Coordinator meeting

The Training Director conducts a weekly group meeting with interns during which interns are encouraged to discuss openly any aspect of their internship, and to share their perceptions of their training experience. The Training Director responds to any issues and works for resolution if a problem areas should arise.

Special focus rotations

Interns also select a special focus area each semester to achieve their own training goals and to broaden their exposure to activities relevant to psychological practice. Two to four hours per week are allocated to the focus area, and a staff member also supervises each area. Below is a sample of commonly selected areas of focus.  Interns may develop other areas and/or tailor activities within these areas. 

Special focus rotations (click for descriptions)


The intern completes additional assessment batteries and written reports, using tests that fit the client's needs and as appropriate, the intern's interests. Sources of referrals typically include Center clients, as well as the Assess for Success program. Assessment batteries conducted may address study skills, learning style, personality, learning disabilities, and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.


This rotation provides an opportunity to work alongside the Center’s director or training coordinator to learn about leadership roles in university counseling centers. Activities may include participating in the university case management team meeting, discussing students of concern; leading case staffing meetings; participating on a team to review and select future practicum students and interns; participating on various center and campus committees; providing input regarding ongoing development of the training programs; serving as a liaison to other campus departments or entities; and interacting with higher university leadership.


The intern participates in programming and consultation requests from faculty, staff, students and the community. The intern may focus on a particular campus population or topic, or seek out a varied range of outreach opportunities. There are opportunities to learn models of outreach program development, advertising/marketing, presentation skills and program evaluation. Interns may also take on leadership roles related to the coordination of mental health screening events or other campus-wide mental health initiatives. This is a concentrated focus versus the ongoing, year-long presentation opportunities.


This rotation emphasizes an in depth exploration of the multicultural factors of the clients we serve and of the UMKC campus as a whole. The rotation challenges the intern to gain more knowledge of multicultural theory and practice, provide outreach activities to a diverse student body, or design other unique activities that underscore our commitment and ethical responsibility to be multiculturally competent mental health professionals.

Specific disorder/topic

The intern has the opportunity to apply themselves for a semester on a particular disorder or topic they want to know more about, garner clinical experience in, and/or present outreach on, etc. Examples include trauma, diversity, sexual orientation, career/vocational concerns and international students.


While interns will typically have the opportunity to co-facilitate at least one semester of a process psychotherapy group during internship, interns may elect a special focus in groups to further expand their experience and training in group therapy. This could take many forms, including deepening knowledge of group by doing additional readings, creating new materials to enhance the group experience for members, or implementing a psycho-educational group on a topic of particular interest.


While all interns have the opportunity to provide couples/relationship counseling, they may also elect for more in-depth work in this modality, by taking more couples onto their caseload, studying theory, interventions, and research, collaborating in co-therapy with an experienced staff member, or other activities.

Eating disorders

The intern works closely with the Eating Disorder Treatment Team Coordinator, attending the monthly treatment team meetings. There is flexibility to have the rotation include direct clinical experience and supervision as well as didactic training on treatment and diagnosis related to eating disorders. In addition, there is an opportunity to focus on eating disorder related outreach ranging from program development and implementation to collaboration with other entities on campus.

Alcohol and other substance use

This rotation involves working closely with the coordinator of the drug and alcohol program at the Center and includes such activities as conducting individual alcohol and drug consultations (assessment and feedback sessions using the BASICS model) for students referred from campus sources, working with individuals in counseling with alcohol or drug concerns as primary presenting problems, conducting group sessions using educational and motivational approaches, providing outreach presentations to campus groups and classes, and assisting with program implementation for prevention efforts on campus utilizing evidenced-based prevention practices.

MindBody Connection

Work with the Center’s satellite MindBody Connection, which is a collaboration of the Counseling Center and Student Health and Wellness. It focuses on stress management and provides UMKC students with opportunities to enhance their emotional, mental and physical health in support of academic success. Rotation may include staffing the facility, collaborating with the leadership team to develop programs related to whole-body health, exploring the research literature on the interface between mental and physical health and applying findings to program development; learning biofeedback software and other stress management techniques; collaborating with the campus health educator about health promotion activities; and addressing the health and wellness needs of special populations (e.g., student veterans).

Liaison to campus groups/offices

Interns may serve as a liaison to a campus group or office, and work collaboratively to meet needs that are jointly identified by the group and intern. Examples include with the School of Medicine’s administration and student groups of interest to the intern, as well as opportunities to develop presentations directed toward a medical school population and staff), Residential Life, LGBTQIA Office, student organizations and others.


Interns and supervisors both participate in formal evaluation at the end of each semester, as well as engage in ongoing mutual feedback throughout their work together. Interns are evaluated on a number of performance criteria. Interns meet with the Training Coordinator to review their training needs, progress and evaluations of the program each semester.


Doctoral internship training, contact:

Arnold Abels, Ph.D.
UMKC Counseling Center
4825 Troost, Suite 206
Kansas City, MO 64110
Phone: 816-235-1218
Fax: 816-235-6350