Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

When Your Therapist is a Trainee

During the course of your treatment at RIT Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), you may be assigned to work with a therapist who is completing training to earn a master’s or doctoral degree in social work, mental health counseling, or psychology.  Working with a trainee can be a unique and valued opportunity to receive a comprehensive team approach to treatment, because therapists in training receive a high level of supervision from highly competent, licensed clinicians at the counseling center who review and influence every aspect of your treatment experience.  Supervision can involve direct observation of treatment sessions, review of taped recordings of treatment sessions, and frequent case consultation.  As is the case with all clients of Counseling and Psychological Services, you will benefit from your therapist having the opportunity to consult, both individually and in group settings, with other CPS staff or appropriate Student Health Center professionals on how to provide the best possible care to you.   Trainees are also often informed of the latest therapy approaches, and they are often energetic, motivated, and they often have fewer clients, and thus, more time to devote to providing individualized care. 

Of course, it is normal to have fears about working with a trainee – some considerations include the recognition that trainees are only here for a limited time.  Each trainee stays at CPS for one academic year, and then they move on to complete their degree and work elsewhere. They will not be around if you return to  CPS in future years, though trainees are supported in providing all the information you will need for, and in helping facilitate, a successful transfer of care.  It is important for clients of Counseling and Psychological Services to be aware that the office is committed to a short-term model of therapy, so even though trainees are at Counseling & Psychological Services for a limited time, this is not often problematic  – the vast majority of clients find that a few sessions (on average, 5) is more than enough to work on the goals they present to Counseling and Psychological Services with.  Also, many clients do benefit from working with a therapist for a defined period of time – this can be motivating and can speed up the process of working toward valued goals.  Some clients also worry that their trainee therapist may not have all the knowledge/training they need to provide good care.  Trainees receive a high level of supervision and didactic training to ensure they have the skills necessary to provide adequate care.   Also, great care is taken to only assign cases to trainees that they are adequately prepared for.  However, if you believe you are not receiving good care, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Training Coordinator, the trainee’s supervisor (you will be provided with names/contact information of supervisors at your first meeting), or anybody whom you feel comfortable talking to at Counseling and Psychological Services about your concerns.  These concerns are always taken seriously. 

Important Information to Know about Working with a Trainee:

  • All trainees are required to record sessions to allow for adequate supervision of their clinical work.  Any client of CPS working with a trainee must agree to having sessions recorded and must sign an A/V consent form (see below for the link to this form).  All recordings are used only for supervisory purposes and are destroyed immediately after viewing.  If a client does not feel comfortable with this, they can decline working with a trainee. 
  • Trainees are with CPS for the fall and spring semesters within one academic year. 
  • Trainees are closely supervised.  When you are working with a trainee, many eyes will oversee your therapy work to ensure that you are provided the best possible care.  All of these individuals are aware of and will respect your rights to and the limits of confidentiality.