Our practicum students talking with David Epston
Practicum Students FAQ
1. Yes! We love working with practicum students and we accept applications throughout the year! Please know that the CNC is unlike other practicum sites. We are entirely committed to providing you a rich and personalized training experience that will support you in your client work at the CNC and prepare you well for your career in the field. Just as an example, all our students have 4 hours of practice-focussed supervision a week. Your supervisor will review a verbatim transcript of your client work each week and write you personalized guidance, better questions to ask of your client, and a plan for future sessions. You see why we choose our practicum students with care - given how much work and soul and support we commit to your learning... You and the clients you see here matter unlike anything else to us!
Our past students have come from various programs, from the University of Calgary, from Athabasca University, from Yorkville University, from City University, and Wilfried Laurier University etc. We consider applicants from Master's programs in Psychology as well as Social Work. Most of our past students have applied for the Fall/Winter Terms from September to April, but we have accepted applications for a January and May start as well. We get many applications throughout the year, so if you are interested in a practicum with us - please read on to avoid the following rat-traps. Hint: sadly, all of these things have really happened!
2. No! We are not your "usual practicum site." Here's a hint: it's not called Calgary Narrative Collective for nuthin'. Enough said? It is better if you consider us a training center specializing in Narrative therapy and think on whether that is a good fit for you. Please don't write to us that you're hoping for practicum training in psychometrics, DBT, behavioral approaches or fitness coaching etc. If it feels burdensome to consider reading books and articles about Narrative, writing Narrative documents to all your clients, or practicing Narrative questions with your clients and having Narrative supervision because you had your heart set on something else- then maybe just skip this application. We understand that students are sometimes placed in a desperate search for "any practicum site, - doesn't matter which one." For some sites, it might not matter as much - but we really live and breathe Narrative therapy and will ask you to walk the talk from the get-go. Hint: you're going to have to write something about Narrative therapy in your email and cover letter. That was clear, right? Right.
3.Yes! Our supervisors are registered psychologists and an AAMFT-approved Marriage and Family therapist and all our supervisors have years of experience working with students. If you really want to stand out, please do research the person who is receiving the application on your practicum portal if you have one and don't call them "Hi there" or "Jason" or "To Whom It May Concern." Some clever students without a snazzy practicum portal provided by their university have addressed us "Dear Narrative Collective Team." Now that works too, see? So write us an actual non-spam, non-generic email and maybe consider not starting it with: "Good Day, I hope you're having a good day." Because why. I'll leave you to puzzle that out.
4.No! Please don't write "Dear Addictions Agency" on your application to us when our name is Calgary Narrative Collective. It's awkward.
5. Yes! Please do research what is important to our agency and how we practice and whom we serve. This information can be found on this website so it's only a few clicks away and doesn't require special Sherlock skills unless you live in Rogers outage area - then wait for internet connection to come live again before applying. A hint: some practicum applicants figured out that we've published some of our work and are able to comment on it.
6.No! Please don't start out by writing a list of demands of what we'll contribute to you ("I will need XYZ amount of hours of supervision blahblahblah")- maybe consider starting out by writing what you want to contribute to us. We are looking for people who have some talents in relationship building. Hint: "being unconditionally loved" is not a contribution of yours - loving you is a contribution of our agency. Be clear on who is the protagonist in what action and the definition of a contribution.
7.Yes! Please do remember the person who will review your email and supervise you does not get paid for participating in this important part of your education. They are likely serving students out of a commitment to an ethical principle or as a labor of love. On top of that, the CNC is a non-profit organization serving marginalized clients, so perhaps that gives you a sense of an attitude to take. Please do address your potential future supervisor accordingly. If you don't care about this practicum - then hell yeah, address them however you want, and maybe get super upset at them for not providing you more guidance about how to write a thoughtful application.
8. No! Please don't write "Do you take students and how do I apply?" - these are difficult icebreakers, because first of all, the answers are already here and second of all, because these icebreakers require your counterpart to do the labor of the icebreaking FOR you ("did you know we are a Narrative and feminist agency? Could you maybe speak to that?" etc.)
9. Yes! When your possible future supervisor responds to you - consider maybe responding back. In fact, maybe consider responding back ASAP - I don't know, that seems reasonable, no? In particular, maybe even respond to the thing that they said to you or asked you more about, not some thing they didn't ask you about. If the person asks you "when does your practicum terms begin?" or "can you attach a cover letter?" - consider apologizing for not thinking of including this info in the first place, and attach this info NOW. Maybe consider not leaving your potential future supervisor hanging in "sent" for 3 weeks - I mean what would a reasonable person conclude you would do to clients who don't inspire you?
10. No! If you called the person you're emailing "Jason" and they reply to you with a signature of "Sanni" - maybe don't pretend you didn't notice. Say "oh I'm sorry." That's very simple. Oh, you don't need to add "well l wasn't clear on the portal whom I'm addressing." And for heaven's sake, don't persist in calling this person "Jason." One hint: Sanni knows no Jason works here, even if you try to pretend that he does. Who is Jason anyway????
11. Yes! Most importantly: please do remember the field of therapy is about aspiring to become a master of language, relationships, tactfulness, wit, kindness, the high ability to respond well to mistakes and originality in moral thinking - all set in fairly tricky and stressful human circumstances. Please proceed with your email accordingly. Hint: your application starts with your first email.