Practicum and Internship Placement Resources, Supervisors and Support

National University (NU) is a leader in online and distance-based Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) education. NU’s Master’s degree program in MFT was the first primarily distance-based MFT program to receive COAMFTE accreditation. The doctoral program was the first distance-based program accredited by COAMFTE and the first program approved by AAMFT to offer the AAMFT Approved Supervision course in a distance-based format. The MFT program is one of the few programs today that do not require a local residency, meaning students are not required to travel to complete the academic course work.

NU MFT faculty work with students to secure appropriate practicum/internship sites in their local areas. We recognize that not all applicants live in areas that have the behavioral health infrastructure necessary to complete the clinical training required for the NU MFT programs; thus even before students enroll in the program we begin to work with them during the application process to help determine whether there are appropriate sites and supervisors in their local area. In the vast majority of cases students are able to locate appropriate placement sites and supervisors in their local area. On average our Master’s degree students locate a placement site in 15 weeks from the time they begin their search. In rare cases students may elect to relocate during the practicum/internship portion of their program in order to complete this requirement. If during the application process it becomes clear there are very limited options to secure a supervisor and site in students’ local areas (and relocation is not an option) we strongly recommend applicants put forth extra effort to make connections with providers at local sites before enrolling in the program. We recognize that for some students locating and securing a placement site and supervisor can be a challenging, and at times stressful process. The following information is designed to help applicants and students understand the process of securing a site and supervisor. This information is in addition to the support provided directly by NU faculty and staff.

Program Application Process
During the application process MFT applicants are asked to research potential placement sites and supervisors in their local area. During the one-to-one interview with an MFT faculty (an integral part of the application process), faculty review applicants’ placement plans including the possible sites and supervisors they have identified. Applicants that live in more remote areas or have fewer options are strongly encouraged to spend more time and effort contacting potential placement sites to determine if they will be able to secure a position during their practicum/internship.

Throughout the application process, applicants are encouraged to contact the Director of Clinical Training (Email) to request additional support and help determining the best possible sites and process for securing a placement. In addition, the application packet has multiple resources that can be helpful to potential students. To start the application process and review these resources, visit the MAMFT Application Packet or the PhDMFT and MDFT Application Packet.

Practicum Preparation Process
The Practicum Preparation Process (PPP) at National University involves two separate, but parallel processes: 1) Clinical Readiness, and 2) Site and Supervisor Vetting and Contracting (SASVAC). Both of these processes are designed to ensure that the sites, supervisors, and clinical experiences are the best fit for NU students. While students are ultimately responsible for finding clinical sites and supervisors, the NU clinical faculty and staff bring to bear considerable experience, comprehensive support, and tremendous resources in facilitating the identification, vetting of, and contracting with agencies and supervisors.

Clinical Readiness Process
The Clinical Readiness Processes helps to ensure that students are clinically prepared to see clients and consists of the completion an Ethics Essay and a Clinical Readiness Quiz, providing documentation of Liability Insurance, and completion of a Technology Checklist to ensure that you will be able to participate in the weekly Practicum/Internship groups. When the Clinical Readiness Activities and the SASVAC are completed, students and their Qualified Local Systemic Clinical Supervisor (QLSCS) will meet with the Director of Clinical Training for a Clinical Readiness Interview prior to starting Practicum.

Site & Supervisor Vetting & Contracting (SASVAC)
The NU SASVAC process is designed to facilitate the vetting and contracting with Practicum/Internship Sites and QLSCS. Once students have identified a potential site and supervisor they provide the contact information and electronic forms are sent to the Agency Director and QLSCS to collect information about the setting and the supervisor’s qualifications. Students will also upload copies of the supervisor’s license, proof of liability insurance, resume, and any documents related to supervision training or experience. Once the site and the QLSCS have been deemed qualified, Supervision Agreements are distributed to all parties for electronic signatures. At the end of the SASVAC process students submit a Walkthrough Video showing where they will be working and how a clients might experience coming to the clinical site.

Additional Resources for Students
The School of Marriage and Family Science is constantly improving its ability to provide students with the foremost clinical experience in MFT training. Currently, students have access to Tip Sheets and videos on how to be successful in finding and contracting with sites or supervisors. There is a Clinical Training Handbook that students utilize and share with their supervisors. We are also building a comprehensive database with sites and supervisors who have either worked with NU students previously or have expressed an interest in doing so.

Support Staff and Resources
NU has multiple faculty and staff that are resources and support for students and applicants. Please feel free to contact any of these team members if you required additional support. Faculty Directory

Sites and Supervisors Interested in Collaborating with NU
As noted above NU has created and maintains a comprehensive database of Qualified Local Systemic Clinical Supervisors and potential clinical placements sites. If you are an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, an Approved Supervisor Candidate, or if you are qualified to supervise MFTs for licensure in your state and are interested in working with NU to provide supervision to currently enrolled MFT students, please send an email to [email protected].

If you work at, own, or manage a clinical placement site that accepts MFT student therapists completing their Master’s or Doctoral degree and are interested in become an approved placement site for our students, please send an email to [email protected].