Training Program 

Training future generations of clinicians is a fundamental component of the mental health profession across disciplines including professional counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology, and psychiatry. All disciplines require practical experience in various treatment settings. Beginning in Fall 2015, CSU Channel Islands (CI) Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) initiated a clinical training opportunity for students from other CSU campuses. This collaborative relationship adheres to the mission of the CSU system.


The purpose of a training program at CSU Channel Islands (CI) Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is to provide trainees with clinical experience in working with students in a college counseling center setting. The training program at CI CAPS subscribes to a Practitioner-Scholar model of training, which emphasizes the development of professional skills among clinicians who use evidence-based practices and a commitment to the ongoing cultivation of multicultural competency. The training program is sequential and cumulative in nature and builds on the experience obtained at the agency.


The benefits to the trainees are that they are provided with substantive and integrated clinical experiences in a college counseling center setting while being supervised by licensed mental health professionals. Trainees practice individual and group therapy, crisis management, treatment planning, case management, outreach to the campus community in the form of workshops and tabling for CI students and stakeholders, and building skills in short-term, problem-focused treatment strategies while integrating mental health with primary care. The traineeship also provides an opportunity for personal and professional development. Further, following graduation, trainees will have skills to compete for employment opportunities within the CSU system and in a variety of jobs in the field of Behavior Health/Mental Health.

Who are the Trainees?

Trainees are students carefully selected to participate in our program, and may be placed from any of several area programs.  Students usually have a year or more of clinical experience prior to coming to CI CAPS.  They usually work 10-20 hours per week, which can be adjusted to meet the needs of each individual trainee. Full-time and part-time postdoctoral fellows will be considered. However, we are unfortunately unable to provide funding at this time for postdoctoral fellows. 


The staff at CAPS is an interdisciplinary team comprised of psychologists, social workers, a marriage and family therapist, a psychiatrist, and administrative staff. 

Progression of Training

The training program is designed to be a planned sequence of clinical experience.  Trainees will be given the opportunity to shadow senior staff in doing initial assessments, then begin to do their own assessments, and gradually build their own caseloads.  The size and breadth of caseloads are expanded as the trainee develops during the course of the year.  There are opportunities to do crisis counseling as part of the daily on-call rotation.  

Goals of the Training Program

The training program at CI CAPS follows the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the accrediting agency for social work education in the U.S., which mandates that all BSW and MSW programs develop and implement an explicit curriculum that prepares graduates for practice by mastering a set of 10 core competencies. These are:

  1. Professional Identity: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.

  2. Ethical Practice: Apply social work ethical principles to guide ethical practice.

  3. Critical Thinking: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments. Social workers are knowledgeable about the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and reasoned discernment. They use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity. Critical thinking also requires the synthesis and communication of relevant information.

  4. Diversity in Practice: Engage diversity and difference in practice.

  5. Human rights and Social Justice: Advance human rights and social and economic justice.

  6. Research Based Practice: Engage in research-informed practice & practice-informed research.

  7. Human Behavior: Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

  8. Policy Practice:  Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services. Social work practitioners understand that policy affects service delivery, and they actively engage in policy practice. Social workers know the history and current structures of social policies and services; the role of policy

  9. Practice Contexts: Respond to contexts that shape practice.

  10. Engage, Assess, Intervene, Evaluate:  Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

How to Apply:

Please contact Dr. Kirsten Olson, Director of Counseling and Health Services, if you are interested in applying to the CI CAPS training program for more information.