Psychology 202: Field Experience in Psychology
Field Experience in Psychology is designed to give Denison students first-hand experience working in some area of applied psychology. Typically, students and instructor agree upon a placement based on each student's previous human-service and academic experience, interests, and career goals. In recent years, students have received supervised experiences in hospitals and clinics, community mental health centers, residential and day treatment facilities, schools, correctional facilities, and other agencies in the Granville, Newark, and Columbus areas. Students have worked with a wide variety of individuals including psychiatric inpatients, adolescents with substance use problems, and children with emotional and learning difficulties.
Supervised field experience in psychology offers several benefits. First, field experience gives students the chance to integrate information they learn in traditional classes with work in the community. The scientist-practitioner model of applied psychology asserts that ethical and competent practice requires a firm understanding and appreciation for psychological science and research. At the same time, field experiences can lead to meaningful research and guide scientific discovery. The integration of applied practice and traditional coursework can lead to a better appreciation for psychological science overall.
Second, field experience can help students discern future career goals. For some people, field experience confirms their interest and passion in pursuing a career in the helping professions. For others, field experience helps them realize that such a career does not fit their personality or disposition. Both realizations are equally valuable to students' professional development.
Third, field experience can assist in students' personal development. Working in the helping professions can foster greater humility, compassion, empathy, and respect for the inherent rights and dignity of others. At the same time, field experience can allow students to recognize personal strengths and weaknesses, increase professionalism, and foster a sense of identity.
Finally, field experience can be rewarding to both Denison students and to the community. Most people who participate in field experience courses report a sense of satisfaction for the service they provide to people or agencies. At the same time, the community often benefits from the service they provide. Indeed, it is the responsibility of all individuals to use their talents to serve their community, whenever possible. The field experience course may initiate a life-long dedication to community service among those who participate in it.
In addition to participating in a minimum of four hours of field work per week, students participate in weekly didactic session at Denison. While the field experience provides students with important participant/observer experiences, the on-campus class meetings are an opportunity for a critical analysis of the work experience. In class, students read and discuss articles dealing with professional ethics, general approaches to counseling, and specific counseling techniques such as person-centered counseling and motivational interviewing. Students also participate in several simulated counseling sessions at Denison to practice active listening, motivational interviewing, and other basic skills important to the helping professions.
Students are graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory in this course. The course may be taken a maximum of two times for a total of four credit hours with the following stipulations: 1) only two credit hours count toward the 36 hour requirement for a Psychology major; 2) if taken twice, the two settings must be substantially different and approved by the instructor in advance. Participation must begin by the second week of the semester.
Students who are interested in Psychology 202 should contact Dr. Robert Weis during preregistration.