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Practicum Training Collaborative
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MPA Practicum Training Collaborative


Dear Training Colleagues,                                                                                                                          

As you may know, for the past several years, the Training Committee (TC) of the MPA has been developing the Practicum Training Collaborative among doctoral programs and training sites in Massachusetts and surrounding states.

The impetus for a Practicum Training Collaborative (PTC) came from students, doctoral programs and training sites, who voiced concerns about the problematic practices they had experienced and desired a system that was more organized, structured, and fair.

In response, the TC gathered information in a variety of ways, including dinner meetings among representatives of academic programs and training sites together, and separately; through surveys and other feedback; from the MPA general and Training Forum list serves and from consultation with a similar collaborative in greater New York City. We also ran a pilot program during the 2015-16 training year and gathered input from participants on their experiences.  Throughout, the TC and a sub-group working on the PTC, discussed the information we received and the various pros and cons of different approaches.

We now present what we believe is the best way to move forward. Although there are still details to be worked out, a number of "basic ideas" have emerged.

1. Students, academic programs and training sites want an organized collaborative system.
2. A transparent process and open flow of information are necessary.
3. A collaboration requires good will and good faith practices; however, rules and regulations and a system of accountability are also required for success.
4. The PTC may not be right for all programs or sites, who may choose to join or not. Further, programs and sites may not choose to join at present and may do so in the future. They may also choose to leave the PTC if this no longer meets their needs.
5. A website will be useful to inform participants about the PTC, its practices, and the different options for practicum training.
6. Compromise will be necessary. For example, there are a variety of opinions as to what the "best" or most convenient timeline for interviewing and selecting students will be.

    The MPA Training Committee will

    *      Create and maintain a central website with PTC procedures at

    *      Encourage training sites to advertise their training spots on the website

    *      Create a mechanism on the website whereby training sites can indicate whether they are still looking for students after the notification date

    *      Reach out to training sites to disseminate these guidelines to all relevant sites


    Doctoral programs are asked to  

    *      Reach out to sites they have worked with before and ask them to participate

    *      Ask students where they want to apply for next year and reach out to those sites to ask them to participate

    *      Consider discouraging their students from applying to non-participating sites

    *      Consider requiring students to apply only to participating sites   

    *      Ask their training sites to use the central website at

    *      Clarify with training sites which students are being placed into reserved spots (and not applying elsewhere) and which students are applying for competitive training spots and thus competing with other students (the PTC applies only to competitive spots)

    *      Provide support to students who are applying, e.g., lists of current and recent placements so students can see where students have trained before, meetings or email groups where students can exchange information, assistance with CV and applications, etc.

    *      Approve practicum sites for each student in advance

    *      Help students consider the pros and cons of various sites, to help them get ready for the notification day so that each student can quickly accept an offer without having to check back with faculty

    *      Designate a faculty member such as a Director of Clinical Training or Practicum Coordinator to be available on the notification day to help students navigate decision making quickly if needed

    *      Communicate to their students that they are asked to follow the guidelines (below)

    *      Remind students that there is no such thing as a perfect practicum site


    We want to remind doctoral program faculty members that the proposed guidelines do not apply to training spots such as a faculty member's research study, to "in-house training clinics" maintained by the doctoral program, or to students who are being placed at a site and not applying elsewhere.

    Training sites are asked to

    *      Use the PTC guidelines if interviewing multiple students or even a single student who is applying to multiple sites (who will therefore benefit from receiving all offers on one day)

    *      Create a profile on the central website at

    *      Confirm with students when they receive an application, provide several options for interview dates, and tell students as early as possible if they will not be receiving an invitation to interview

    *      Set your application deadline no earlier than Wednesday January 3rd, 2018

    *      Use the Monday, Feb. 12 notification date: Inform all students of offer, waitlist status, or rejection between 8am and 10am

    *      Ask students to confirm by email that they received the offer right away

    *      Remember that there is no perfect trainee and hold "rankings" lightly

    *      Notify via email all students they interviewed as soon as they have filled all training spots  


    Participating sites are encouraged to respond to students asking about their status and tell them where they stand if the student has a bona fide early offer in hand (in writing/email) from a non-participating site.  

    Students are asked to

    *      Work closely with faculty to get approval for each site applied to upfront

    *      Discuss pros and cons of each site with faculty ahead of notification day

    *      Confirm that they received the offer right away

    *      Hold only one offer at a time and release back additional offers right away

    *      Accept or decline within max 4 hours of receiving an offer, or if an offer is made after 6PM then by 9AM the next morning

    *      Remember that there is no perfect training site

    *      Notify all other sites they interviewed at as soon as they have accepted an offer


    The Notification Day on Monday, Feb. 12 will work as follows:

    1.     Sites will make offers by email between 8am and 10am.

    2.     Sites will inform all students they interviewed whether they are getting an offer, are on the waitlist, or are no longer under consideration

    3.     Some students will receive multiple offers, accept one offer, release back the rest, and tell other sites they interviewed at that they have accepted an offer elsewhere

    4.     Some sites will get their first choice students right away, and tell other students they interviewed that they have filled all their training spots

    5.     Sites will go down their lists in a cascading manner until they have filled all their spots

    6.     Students are allowed to hold an offer max 4 hours from when they receive it

    7.     Sites can update their profile on the central website to indicate that they are still looking for students and reach out to doctoral programs to spread the word

    8.     Students can check the website to see which sites still have open spots

    9.     Doctoral programs will continue to support students still looking for placements


    Send Us An Email for More Information

    If you have questions and feedback, please contact Steve Broder, Patty Challan, or Lotte Smith-Hansen


    The MPA Training Committee

    Steven Broder, Training Committee Co-Chair, Counseling Psychology, Boston University
    Patricia Challan, Training Committee Co-Chair, Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services
    Richard Amodio, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center
    Robin Cook-Nobles, Stone Center Counseling Service, Wellesley College
    Heidi Levitt, Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts-Boston
    Lorraine Mangione, Clinical Psychology, Antioch University
    Melissa Rideout, Wheaton College Counseling Center
    Lotte Smith-Hansen, Clinical Psychology, Suffolk University
    Shellee Robbins, William James College
    Steven Vannoy, Counseling Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston
    Christine Williams, Salem State University Counseling Center

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