Counselling Service Vocational Placement Program

The RMIT Counselling Service Vocational Placement Program offers postgraduate psychology students a stimulating, nurturing and professional placement experience.

What is the RMIT Counselling Service Vocational Placement Program?

The RMIT Counselling Service Vocational Placement Program is for provisionally registered psychologists. We offer training experiences for postgraduate students at different levels of their psychology careers. We offer approximately 7-9 intern psychologist places each year.

The RMIT Counselling Service seeks to provide a quality experience for provisionally registered psychologists who need to complete a supervised vocational placement to fulfil postgraduate academic course requirements.

If you are a Masters or Doctoral candidate studying relevant counselling, clinical or educational psychology courses, you can apply to do a vocational placement with us (scroll down for application details).

About our placements

Intern psychologists are based at one of RMIT’s metropolitan campuses – City (3-5 intern psychologists), Brunswick (2 intern psychologists), and Bundoora (2 intern psychologists).

Vocational placements run for 10 months, from February to November. We will consider candidates wishing to complete a one semester vocational placement (6 months), although we prefer applicants who are able to commit to two semesters (10 months). If we offer one semester vocational placements, they will correspond with semester times (Feb-June and June-November).

What to expect

RMIT offers a stimulating, nurturing and professionally challenging vocational placement experience for our intern psychologists. Supervisors are an experienced team of counselling and clinical psychologists. Intern psychologists are an important part of our team.

Clients who attend the Counselling Service have a wide range of issues. Many are from different cultures and issues include adjustment and transition difficulties. There are a large number of clinical disorders (DSM diagnosable), and family, social and relationship issues. There is a very high clinical component regarding presenting issues related to mental health. Provisionally registered psychologists with some previous experience are most suited to this vocational placement.

Training experiences include:

  • Offering short-term individual therapy
  • Providing group training and interventions
  • Involvement in projects and counselling service initiatives
  • Having individual and group supervision
  • Working with psychologists in various orientations to counselling and psychology.

Intern psychologists are expected to participate two days a week at the Counselling Service plus attend the monthly supervision/professional development group that occurs on Wednesdays from 9.30am to 12pm at our Brunswick campus (when in face-to-face delivery mode).

Client contact

The Counselling Service endeavours to provide an appropriate level of client hours to allow intern psychologists to achieve course requirements. We manage the workload so that intern psychologists also have adequate time for case notes, follow-up and research during the working day.

At the beginning of vocational placement, intern psychologists observe counsellor sessions with clients before offering appointments of their own to begin counselling work. Intern psychologists are not usually assigned to new client sessions in the first two to three weeks of vocational placement.

We inform our clients that they have an appointment with an intern psychologist.

The optimum number of clients is three per day for intern psychologists although this may increase to four clients per day as the intern psychologist gains confidence. The minimum number of clients we expect our intern psychologists to see each day is two.

Supervision, support and group meetings

Experienced psychologists provide comprehensive supervision and support in the service.

Intern psychologists have a weekly one-hour supervision meeting with their supervisor. All intern psychologists will also have a back-up supervisor who will also meet with them regularly.

Intern psychologists also meet monthly for a two and half hour group supervision session run by a rotating member of our supervision team. This provides valuable peer support, networking and information-sharing opportunities. Besides the discussion of case material and other pertinent issues, RMIT psychologists present on specialist topics chosen in consultation with our intern psychologists.

Intern psychologists have access to their supervisor, back up supervisor (or another RMIT psychologist) outside the formal supervision hour for consultations regarding clients, as required.

Orientation and training days

All intern psychologists must attend orientation and training days on 7, 8 and 9 February 2022 from 9.30am-4.30pm. This provides an introduction to the Counselling Service and the Students Group area of RMIT.

In addition to individual client contact, intern psychologists are encouraged to take part in other training activities:

  • Participating in and delivering workshops to students during orientation and other special events such as R U OK? day
  • Participating in running therapeutic or support groups on issues such as anxiety management and enhancing happiness.

Working remotely

In line with University COVIDSafe processes, the RMIT Counselling Service has currently suspended face-to-face appointments. Due to the evolving situation, it's unclear when face-to-face delivery may recommence and there is a possibility that it may continue into 2022. Should this occur, placements will continue but delivery of services will be via telehealth (phone or video counselling) and intern psychologists will be required to work from home.

Intern psychologists will require a computer or laptop, headset, internet connection and a private space in which to work. The University may be able to provide equipment on loan, if required. 

Intern psychologists will continue to receive a high level of support including:

  • Individual supervision via online video meeting application Microsoft Teams once a week
  • Group supervision and professional development sessions once per month via Teams
  • Fortnightly peer supervision meetings via Teams
  • An open channel between intern psychologists and supervisors so that they can check in with each other during the day and for incidental supervision as required
  • The ability to observe counsellors in session via Teams and for supervisors to observe interns to check in on their work and their growth/development
  • A morning meeting, three times a week with the entire team between 9-9.30am to check in and raise any issues they may be having
  • Access to the allocated duty worker each day. Staff are rostered on to duty work for each day (morning and afternoon shifts) and are able to support intern psychologists who might have concerns about a client.  The Counselling Service Manager is also available to intern psychologists as back-up support
  • A rolling Teams meeting for the full day that counsellors and intern psychologists can dip in and out of to connect, catchup or get some support.

The above system has been in place for 2020 and 2021, and has therefore been effectively trialled.

Eligibility

To apply for vocational placement at the Counselling Service, applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled in a postgraduate psychology training program
  • Have a current Working with Children Check
  • Have had at least one clinical or counselling vocational placement and/or equivalent clinical or counselling work experience
  • Not be a currently enrolled student or current employee of RMIT University.

How to apply

The closing date for 2022 applications is Friday 7 October 2021. Late applications will be accepted, but only if we cannot fill positions from first-round applications.

Email the following to elizabeth.matjacic@rmit.edu.au:

  • A letter of application stating:
  • Your reasons for applying for a vocational placement in the Counselling Service
  • Whether you are applying for the full ten month vocational placement or just one semester and, if the latter, which semester
  • Your area of specialisation (e.g. Clinical or Educational Psychology)
  • Campus preference (City, Brunswick, or Bundoora)
  • CV or résumé, with referees listed (including previous vocational placement).

The application and selection process follows formal procedures similar to those required when applying for a professional position in a large organisation.

Interviews

If you are short-listed for an intern position, you will be asked to attend a 30 minute interview. The interview involves questions and a 10-minute role play. If you are selected for interview, you will be notified by 14 October 2021. Interviews may be conducted via video (Microsoft Teams) or face-to-face depending on state health advice. Candidates will be interviewed by their potential supervisor.

Contact us

For further information, contact the Vocational Placement Coordinator, Elizabeth Matjacic via email elizabeth.matjacic@rmit.edu.au.

If you are a Vocational Placement Coordinator from a Masters or Doctoral program, we are happy to arrange a visit for you. Please reach out to the contact listed above.

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