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Alfa Rodriguez

Final Reflection
The road of Practicum was one filled with ups and downs, insecurities, confidence, confusion,

doubts, self-reflection but must importantly with satisfaction when receiving positive feedback

from a client. Knowing that someones life has had a slight or big positive change because of a

minor or major assistance from you is a very rewarding feeling. However, getting to this point

was not an easy task as at the beginning of Practicum, my head was filled with a lot of doubts

and insecurities about what I was going to do as I this was going to be my first experience seeing

real clients. As mentioned previously on other reflections, working on this site was a bit of a

challenge as well due to the amount of paperwork that needs to be completed during intake and

the lack of guidance I was experiencing at the beginning of the semester. I eventually began

learning the entire process and meeting with the site supervisor, who alleviated the stress I was

having by not knowing what to do in terms of the paperwork.

This process has definitively been a learning experience where I was able to acquire knowledge

from the teachings in class, from chapter readings, from my own research, from supervision, but

most importantly from seeing clients. One of the major learnings was completing all the

paperwork required by the site, this includes completing the bio-psychosocial information with a

client. Another major learning was writing DAP notes which is the type of progress notes used at

the site. The DAP notes instructions provided on the syllabus assisted me in the beginning, but I

am also in the process of improving my DAP notes after receiving feedback from my site

supervisor and the instructor. Something else I learned is how to write a diagnosis. Even though I

had practice doing this on previous coursework, it is very different to actually write a diagnosis

for a client based upon your interactions and assessment of them. Another area of learning for

me includes dealing with groups, specifically the Drug & Substance abuse group that I work

with. It was a very challenging experience for me working with this group as it is composed of
Alfa Rodriguez
Final Reflection
clients who were forced by the court to attend due to issues with drugs, DUI or DCPP related

issues. One of the major things I learned in this group was building rapport with them. I found

this to be one of the most important steps as this is what would open doors for them to feel

comfortable enough to share information about themselves and other group members. Something

else Ive learned is that there will be times where one as a counselor will face rejection from a

client and one has to learn not to take it personal. I learned this from a particular group member

who was reluctant to have me in the group regardless of anything. At the beginning, I was taking

this personal and kept analyzing why he would not want me at all. However, I eventually learned

not to take it personal and to understand that from his perspective, I am only a counselor in

training and as he said to the group leader, he signed up to the group to be with her and not with

me. However, he eventually gave up a little when he agreed to participate in one of the group

activities I did.

When analyzing my growth in terms of counseling skills, at the beginning of the semester, I had

indicated I would like to be better at reflection of meaning. I was able to improve this skill

during my counseling sessions. This is evident by the times I have utilized this skill and make a

mental note to myself. Another growth Ive experience is in reference to building rapport with

clients. This skill, which was a challenge for me, specifically at the beginning of the group, was

evident based upon the feedback I received from my classmates after showing the group audio.

As per their review, my classmates acknowledged that the group members felt comfortable

participating in the session and disclosing information to me. This skill was also evident during

the videotaped session with my now 8-year-old client who felt very comfortable with me as it

can be seem on my recording. Another area of growth in my counseling skills is probing, which

is something I had to do a lot particularly with my 16-year-old client who is very quiet. I had to
Alfa Rodriguez
Final Reflection
do a lot of probing in order to keep the conversation flowing and to learn more about his

thoughts and ideas.

During these five months of Practicum at The Bridge, Ive gained many things on a personal

level as well as a counselor in training. One of the things Ive learned was to organize myself and

my time better so that I would be able to complete the requirements of the site. Ive gained

knowledge in terms of site requirements for programs utilized by the court system, for instance, I

now know the process of FCIU (Family Crisis Intervention Unit). This program supports many

residents of Essex County such as children having behavior issues in school to people with drug

and substance abuse issues by providing free counseling services. Ive also gained a lot of

knowledge in terms of court related processes. When it comes to my site supervisor, I have

gained knowledge from him in terms of how to utilize and manage the Footholds system, which

is the electronic system the site uses for a wide array of things such as, to manage clients, book

appointments, write progress notes and treatment plans, process intakes and admissions and

many other things associated with the services provided by this site. My group supervision has

been minimal, however, from the group leader, I have also learned how she manages the group

and the importance of checking in at the beginning of each session.

When thinking about Internship I & II, I am concern about how I will manage to complete all the

required hours. I am stressing over this as Practicum has been affecting personal areas of my life

due to the amount of hours I had to be at the site plus the class time. Even though I already

planned my calendar for Fall, working from 5:30pm-9:00pm Monday-Friday and from 9:00am-

9:00pm every other Thursday will not be enough for me to complete the required hours.

However, I am hoping to find a resolution to this prior to the beginning of the semester. In terms

of the areas of growth for Internship I and II, I would like to become an expert on writing DAP
Alfa Rodriguez
Final Reflection
notes, making sure all the appropriate information from the sessions is documented properly and

placed on the correct section of the DAP notes. Another area of growth would be to learn more

how to do sessions with children by incorporating the correct techniques according to their

unique needs. In addition, I would like to gain more knowledge on the overall counseling

experience; including bettering myself in areas such as, reflection of feeling, reflection of

meaning, probing and building rapport.