Direct Service Activities

Individual Counseling

Interns typically see 18-24 individual clients per week.  Counseling & Psychiatry operates within a brief psychotherapy model (1-10 sessions) and incorporates a variety of theoretical orientations, such as humanistic, feminist, family systems, interpersonal, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral. Interns are expected to develop treatment plans with short and long term goals that address the presenting problem.  All interns will see a range of cases that include work with individuals who require very short term (1-6 sessions) problem-oriented interventions as well as brief psychotherapy (7-10 sessions) involving more complex therapeutic interventions.  Interns are encouraged to identify and service 3-5 individuals on their caseloads whose clinical needs require longer-term care (more than 10 sessions).  These longer-term cases must be approved by the individual supervisor and review of the utilization review.

Interns meet weekly with an individual supervisor and a group supervisor to review individuals on their caseloads.  Both individual and group supervision provide ongoing monitoring of case conceptualization, treatment planning, and interventions utilized.  Individual supervisors, however, are the primary individual counseling caseload supervisors for assigned interns and will co-sign interns’ notes. 

Couples Counseling

All trainees are encouraged to provide couples counseling when the opportunity is available.  Couples may be obtained through consultation with the couples counseling coordinator.  All trainees are invited to work with couples utilizing a co-therapist with senior staff for training purposes. More focused couples counseling training will occur during the training seminar. The clinicians who facilitate the couples training are also available for consultation on specific cases throughout the year. The Couples counseling policy will be available to you through the K drive on your desktop computer.

Group Counseling

All interns will co‑lead a minimum of two counseling groups per semester. If an intern has further interest in group they may arrange more group experience during the spring and fall semesters. There is an opportunity to potentially specialize in group as a track of training.  There are opportunities to co-facilitate general therapy, process-oriented, structured groups and/or support groups.  Interns will co‑lead a group with a professional staff member during the first semester.  As they gain confidence and competency with group counseling as a treatment mode, they may also co-lead with another intern or practicum student in the spring semester.  Supervision of group therapy occurs within the context of a bi-weekly supervision of group psychotherapy and with professional staff who co‑lead groups.  Interns will be assigned to groups for the Fall Semester; a list of available groups for the Spring Semester will be made available for interns to request involvement in or create particular offerings.

Clinical Assessment

The first method of clinical assessment utilized by Counseling and Psychiatry is the triage interview.  Clients are assessed for severity, appropriateness for services, recommended mode of treatment (individual, couples, group counseling, etc.), and referral options. While we have a full time triage coordinator, interns may receive triages on their schedule template during the semester.

If the client is being referred for continued services, the triage clinician will determine the severity of the presenting issue and schedule an initial counseling and treatment planning session with the clinician. If there is a need for clarification of diagnosis an intake appointment will be scheduled for the client. If their needs can be serviced through other campus partners such as health and wellness, Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence  Prevention, the Career Center, etc. a referral will be made. Trainees receive training on how to do triages and new client appointment assessments. 

Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention strategies and techniques are discussed by individual supervisors, in group supervision, and in the intern seminars.  Senior staff clinicians are always available for crisis consultation.  Crisis intervention service provision may emerge from Walk-ins, Triage coverage, intakes, on-going psychotherapy, or on an as-needed basis.  Interns are asked to make their individual supervisor or other available supervisor aware of a developing or in-process crisis situation before the client leaves CHDC.

Interns are expected to develop de-escalation and referral skills as an appropriate extension of assessment and counseling techniques.  During orientation, the interns become familiar with the supportive resources available on the campus and in the community.  A directory of such services is made available, and the procedure for referral is discussed.  All intern referrals are monitored by the individual supervisor.

All staff and trainees are provided with wireless “Panic Buttons” that signal USC Law Enforcement and Safety that an emergent situation is in process and law enforcement presence is needed.

Community-Based Services (CBS)

The Counseling & Psychiatry (CAP) offers Community Based Services (CBS) toward the improvement of mental health in the USC Community. These services generally occur outside of the traditional counseling center setting and in the USC Community where mental health issues often first arise. Our outreach programing generally focus on problem solving, support, psycho-education, advocacy, and resource enlistment and utilization toward improving the mental health and wellness of USC Students. Our CBS services broadly consist of Community Consultation & Intervention (CCI), Suicide Prevention Services, Community Support Meetings in response to traumatic campus events, and web-based services.

CCI affords mental health consultation to the USC Community (faculty, staff, students, relatives of students) for students of concern. CBS also comprises suicide prevention efforts in coordination with Mental Health initiatives, which include, but are not limited to, Campus Connect Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training and our current web-based service in The Interactive Screening Program (ISP) for suicide prevention, and Therapist Assistant Online (TAO).

Interns are responsible for coordinating with Mental Health Initiatives with permission of their supervisor to work on traditional outreach programming and innovative work done by this SHS department. working with each staff assigned to coordinate a areas of CBS in initiating programs and/or responding to requests received by the CAP for CBS.  Each intern is required to present a minimum of three (3) CBS programs (this does not include tabling) each semester. Staff will provide interns with 1-2 seminars on how to effectively create and/or deliver CBS programs.  Interns are required to provide participants with evaluation forms at each presentation.

Supervision of Practicum Student

While supervision of a trainee may occur it is possible that interns may not have this opportunity. Interns may be paired with a trainee to supervise during the second semester of the intern year; typically, this supervisee will be a graduate student trainee from the Counseling Education (Ed.S.) program in USC’s College of Education. Given the number of trainees from this program that we take it may be the case that the ratio of Intern to trainee is uneven. If this is the case an intern may be given the opportunity to engage in group supervision of the Counselor Ed. Trainees. Counselor trainees see approximately 15-20 clients each per week.  The interns serve as their secondary clinical supervisors.  Intern responsibilities include supervising up to 5 cases and coordinating with the primary supervisor of that trainee.  Interns attend a “Supervision of Supervision” meeting bi-weekly to discuss issues related to the provision of clinical supervision.  Interns can also receive individual supervision of their supervision during weekly sessions with their primary supervisor.