Fieldwork is essential for those looking to become registered professional counsellors. Throughout training at Rhodes Wellness College, students in our Professional Counselling Diploma program complete rigorous and comprehensive courses that explore the theories and methods behind counselling. At the end of the program, students enter into their supervised fieldwork, gaining experience in several settings to apply their skills and gain exposure.
Clinical experiences allow students to make a strong first impression with potential employers, serving as a learning experience and a stepping stone to a successful career upon graduation (Hudson, n.d.). Students earning their diplomas engage in professional and practical community and workplace-based projects, which allows them to apply their knowledge and skills as they add to their relevant experience. Continue reading to discover how students can best prepare for these placements during their training.
Practice Professionalism to Succeed in Clinical Counselling Training
Professionalism goes a long way as a new counsellor in training, and anyone entering their clinical weeks should brush up on their best practices for remaining professional in new settings (Hudson, n.d.). Students can prepare themselves by taking a few moments to brainstorm some of the situations they may find themselves in during clinical weeks. Whether students speak with another experienced counsellor, a business owner, or a vulnerable client, students should be prepared to give thoughtful and appropriate responses (Salinas, 2017). Each experience during a clinical placement allows room for students to express themselves and prove their professionalism, which can go a long way (Salinas, 2017). Other small details help students stand out professionally during clinical counselling training, such as presenting themselves as well-groomed, making sure their uniform is clean and ironed, displaying an attitude that is positive and open to feedback, and volunteering to take action when the opportunity arises (Hudson, n.d.).
Initiate Communication with Your Clinical Supervisor
Open and clear communication exudes professionalism, especially when interacting with clinical supervisors and other leaders at the facility (University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, 2020). Reaching out to clinical supervisors before the first shift can help students best prepare to meet their expectations (University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, 2020). Once the clinical begins, constant open communication with the supervisor about client care, case details, learning styles, and more, can help students thrive as they apply their skills in a clinical setting for the first time (Salinas, 2017). Showing receptiveness to constructive feedback and welcoming advice on how to improve will exemplify students’ willingness to learn and improve their skills as professionals in the field (Salinas, 2017).
Perform the Required Prep Before Your Clinical Begins
There is an essential step to succeeding during clinical placements as a registered professional counsellor student, which is to complete the required prep before the rotation begins. Spending time going over the expectations, the skills students are meant to explore, the details of the placement facility, and more can help them step into their role with confidence as soon as they arrive (BeMo, 2023). Running through sample scenarios during free time before clinical placements can help students get comfortable with taking a lead in the real world when their time comes (Prospect Health, 2018). Additionally, students who prepare before attending clinical weeks are able to more confidently show eagerness and interest in the situation, volunteer to take on a specific client, and actively participate in every chance they get (Salinas, 2017). Finally, reviewing the required prep beforehand can help students identify their areas of strengths and weaknesses as they enter their clinical placements, allowing them to express to their clinical supervisors what support they may need (Salinas, 2017).
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