The Catholic University of America



The Catholic University Counseling Center offers an externship program for advanced doctoral students in Clinical Psychology, Counseling, or Counseling Psychology and for advanced graduate students in Social Work. This part-time training program is ideal for students looking to hone their clinical skills, expand their theoretical knowledge, and collaborate in a multidisciplinary environment. The Counseling Center's externship program has an integrative theoretical perspective with a specialized focus on multiculturalism.


The Counseling Center serves as the primary mental health agency for Catholic University students. It provides a broad range of direct services, including individual and group therapy, consultation, outreach, and emergency response programs.


Schedule of Activities

This nine-month program requires externs to be on site for 16-24 hours per week, depending on the requirements of the extern’s home institution. Schedules are typically spread across three days in order to allow externs to interact with all senior staff members and engage in outreach programming.


Individual Therapy (7-8 hours)

Externs will see 7-8 individual clients for weekly therapy. All sessions are videorecorded on iPads for supervision purposes. Caseloads will include both short-term and long-term therapy clients. Common presenting concerns include anxiety, depression, relationships, identity, adjustment, eating disorders, trauma, and substance use.


Intakes (1 hour)

Externs will conduct one intake assessment per week. In consultation with their supervisors, they will make treatment recommendations based on the client’s presenting concerns and treatment needs.


Considering Culture in Case Conference (1.5 hours)

Externs will participate in a weekly case conference on Thursday mornings with the full extern cohort. On a weekly rotation, each extern will give a full case presentation and receive feedback from the cohort, the Director of Externship Training, and the doctoral psychology intern co-facilitator. Externs are encouraged to tend to issues of diversity and social justice and to incorporate multicultural conceptualizations in their case presentations.


Staff Development Seminar (1.5 hours)

Externs will participate in a weekly seminar on Thursday mornings. Presenters may include Counseling Center senior staff and doctoral psychology interns, staff from other university offices, and clinicians from the Washington, DC community. Topics will cover university support services, issues and treatments relevant to our university student population, and multicultural exploration. A biweekly "MC spotlight" will focus on issues specific to identity and culture as they relate to self-exploration and clinical work.


Individual Supervision (1 hour)

Externs will meet weekly with a supervisor who oversees the provision of clinical services. Social work externs will be supervised by a licensed independent clinical social worker, and psychology externs will be supervised by a licensed psychologist.


Group Supervision (1.5 hours)

Externs will be assigned to one of two supervision groups that meet weekly. Groups are co-facilitated by a psychology doctoral intern and a senior staff member. Externs will present a case on a weekly rotation and participate in group consultation.


Walk-In Coverage (1-2 hours)

Externs will have the opportunity to provide coverage during the Counseling Center’s walk-in hours. All externs will receive training in the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) model and will shadow senior staff and psychology doctoral interns in providing walk-in coverage. 



Externs are expected to participate in a minimum of one outreach program per semester. 


Additional Externship Information

The psychology externship provides a per annum stipend of $1000 to second-year graduate students and $1500 to graduate students in their third year and beyond. The social work externship provides a per annum stupid of $1000 to trainees.


Depending on availability, externs may have the opportunity to process observe or co-facilitate a therapy group. Recent opportunities have included serving as a process observer for the Mindful Living, Understanding Self and Others, and Confident Cardinals groups. 


By submitting an application, potential externs are agreeing to commit to the entire length of the externship program. Because of the compressed schedule of the externship, participation in all nine months is essential to the program. Any significant absence will jeopardize successful completion of the externship program. If a potential extern knows in advance that they cannot commit to being present for all nine months of the externship program for a given year, that applicant is encouraged to reapply in a different year.


Externship hours are scheduled over three days in order to allow for externs to maximize their interactions with the Counseling Center staff and to participate in outreach programming.


Externs are required to attend a two-day orientation prior to beginning the program. This orientation takes place on the Wednesday and Thursday of the week before the start of undergraduate and graduate classes at Catholic U. Please see the current Academic Calendar to find out the dates for the upcoming Fall semester. 


The 2018-2019 externship class has students from Catholic University, Chicago School for Professional Psychology, George Washington University, and University of Maryland.


Application Process

The application cycle for the 2018-2019 training year has closed.



Eligibility and Selection Process


Social work applicants must be entering their second year of their MSW program. Psychology externs are selected from APA-accredited Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology doctoral programs, as well as CACREP-accredited Counseling doctoral programs. Psychology students must be advanced students who are at least in their second year of course work.


In reviewing applicants, the training staff considers previous therapy experience, unique clinical skills, and the professional needs of both the applicant and the Center. In addition, the staff considers academic achievement, consulting/outreach experience, and nonclassroom learning experience. The most qualified candidates will be invited to an in-person interview. Final selection will be made on the basis of both the application and the interview.


Social work applicants will be notified of their acceptance shortly after the conclusion of in-person social work interviews, typically the third week of February.


For psychology applicants, please note that the Catholic University Counseling Center honors the Greater Washington Area Directors of Clinical Training's (GWADCT) regulations regarding the Universal Acceptance Date. The Center may extend offers following the conclusion of interviews, but students from programs represented by the GWADCT* may not accept an offer until 9 am on Friday, April 6th. Students whose programs are not represented in this consortium are able to accept offers prior to the Universal Acceptance Date. The Counseling Center asks applicants who do not plan to accept an offer on the Acceptance Date to kindly notify the Center of their rejection or withdrawal as soon as possible so that the Center may extend an offer to another applicant. 



*As of January 2018: American University, Catholic University of America, Gallaudet University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Howard University, Institute for Psychological Sciences, and Uniformed Services University.