Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Separation of Employment and Internship/Practicum

Separation of Clinical Training Requirements from Current or Prior Mental Health, Psychology, and Related Jobs and/or CredentialsCMHC students completing COUN 5543: Counseling Practicum and School and CMHC students completing COUN 5923/5933: Counseling Internship I/II are not allowed to complete their practicum or internship experiences at a site (including any affiliated offices of the site in the same or other city, county, or state) at which they currently work (e.g., as a behavior health rehabilitation specialist, case manager, etc.). Furthermore, it is preferred that students not complete their practicum or internship experiences at a site at which they have worked in the previous 12 month period. However, students who are no longer employed by an agency or its affiliates for less than a year requesting to complete their practicum or internship experience at the same agency shall have their request considered on a case-by-case basis. Factors considered regarding such requests include, but are not limited to: (a) whether or not a different supervisor at the agency will serve as the practicum or internship supervisor; (b) the length of employment and the nature of prior work completed at the agency; and (c) the agency’s understanding that billing for services provided by practicum or internship students is prohibited under any circumstances (regardless of mental health credentials already held by the student). Students are reminded that the opportunity to complete the best possible clinical training experience will be considered at the forefront of such decisions, and that only the practicum and/or internship instructors shall be permitted to render such decisions.

This boundary is established to avoid possible conflicts of interest (due to potentially divergent evaluation requirements and/or priorities) between employers and/or supervisors at the facility and the student in any of these courses. This also serves to protect practicum or internship candidates and clients from potential role confusion as the student assumes different roles at different times for the same facility.

In addition, no counseling practicum or internship candidate may charge fees or bill clients and/or any third-party payers for “indirect counseling services” (as defined in the Counseling Practicum or Internship Supervision Contracts), even if the candidate is credentialed to do so. Said candidates are also prohibited from charging fees or billing clients for any “direct counseling services” (as also defined on the Counseling Practicum or Internship Supervision Contracts), as they are not properly credentialed to do so. “Proxy billing,” wherein a supervisor “signs off” on work completed by a practicum or internship candidate for billing purposes, is considered insurance fraud and improper billing practices for clients who are private pay. Such practices will be immediately reported by the course instructor to the proper authorities (e.g., licensure board(s), Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services,  private insurance company, etc.).

Failure to abide by any portion of the aforementioned policy may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course and/or being required to discuss the nature of his or her action with the Graduate Counseling Coordinating Committee. In addition, site supervisors and the agencies for which they work may be prohibited from having future field experience, practicum, or internship students placed under their supervision and/or at their sites.