THE INTEGRATION PAPER
Counseling and Psychological Services Program
1. The Integration Paper is comprised of three sections: A) Section I: Description of the practicum site and experience. (Outline provided) (Approximately 25 % of the total paper). B) Section II: An academic Literature Review of the research literature on the practicum-related topic identified by the student. (Approximately 50% of the total Paper) C) Section III: Statement of Competencies and Approach to Counseling. (Approximately 25 percent of the total Paper)
2. The content of the total Integration Paper should be a minimum of 30 pages and a maximum of 50. (Not counting title page, abstract, table of contents, and references.)
3. The Integration Paper must be typewritten, double-spaced, single-sided, and in 12 point type size. Papers must be written using professional standards for organization, sentence construction, spelling, and grammar. Papers must conform to the format described in the current Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Note especially, the standards for margins, headings, double-spacing, referencing, and unbiased language. A template is graciously provided by the Writing Center to streamline your process (See Student Blackboard Page).
OUTLINE FOR PREPARATION OF THE INTEGRATION PAPER
I. Description and evaluation of practicum experience
The purpose of this section is to familiarize the reader with the nature of the student’s practicum experience. While this section will focus on the practicum, other relevant clinical experience may also be discussed as appropriate. If the student has worked at two different practicum sites, both should be described. This section of the paper should include:
1. A brief description of the practicum site, including population served, staff, theoretical orientation and treatment philosophy, and other relevant information.
2. A description of the work the student did at the practicum and the nature of the supervision received.
3. A critical evaluation of the practicum site and the practicum itself. The practicum site is evaluated as to whether the agency is successful in meeting its goals and its success as a learning/training experience. Consider both strengths and weaknesses of the agency. The site does not receive a copy of the integration paper unless the student chooses to provide the paper to the agency.
4. A discussion of ethical/professional issues arising during the practicum experience. Students should reflect on these issues, describe them, and if possible, relate them to the Minnesota Rules of Conduct or the Ethical Codes of ACA or APA. Suggestions for handling such situations in the future may be discussed.
II. Literature review
The purpose of this section is to demonstrate the student’s ability to relate current research and theory to a specific aspect of the practicum work. This section of the paper will focus on a literature review as described in the following guidelines:
1. The review should focus on a specific aspect of the practicum experience (e.g., work with a specific population, treatment of a particular diagnostic category, the use of a particular technique of therapy, or the implementation of a particular theoretical model). The topic must be related to the practicum experience.
2. Carefully select a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow. The advisor will assist the student in defining a suitable topic.
3. The review should cover current research and theory about the topic, generally emphasizing the past five years but not omitting pertinent classic studies. Most references should be from recent professional journal articles and original sources. Excessive numbers of references from textbooks, self-help books, and the popular literature should be avoided. It is permissible to reference workshops, conferences, and other unpublished sources. For examples of published literature reviews see the Annual Review of Psychology or Psychological Bulletin. A minimum of 25 references is required.
4. As appropriate, the literature review should discuss the topic from a variety of theoretical
perspectives. Important controversies about etiology and treatment approaches should be presented. Methodological issues relating to empirical research on the topic should usually also be addressed.
5. The student is responsible for evaluating and drawing conclusions about the research and theory presented.
6. The student may discuss how the material reviewed in the literature relates to his/her clinical experience. It is appropriate to illustrate and evaluate studies with examples from the practicum work.
7. All sources cited in the text must be included in the reference list. The reference list must include only sources cited in the text.
III. Statement of competencies and approach to counseling
This section should be a description of the writer as a counselor and prospective practitioner. The section includes:
1. Competencies: A clear statement of areas of the student’s competence in terms of client populations and diagnoses, counseling techniques, and other areas of clinical practice. Support statements of competence with a brief description of training and supervised experience in each area. It is appropriate to make distinctions in terms of degrees of competence in different areas (e.g., competent to work with minimal supervision, competent to work with extensive supervision, etc.).
2. Theoretical Orientation: An articulation of the student’s theoretical approach to counseling and psychotherapy. Reference “standard” approaches as appropriate (e.g., family systems, feminist, cognitive, etc.). This section should provide a rationale for the selection of specific interventions, and should explain what guides therapy. Note that this section does not require an extensive general overview of a “theory of personality.” Examples from clinical experience are particularly appropriate in this section.
3. Strengths and Weaknesses: A brief statement of the student’s strengths and needs for development in the areas of counseling and related work.
4. Professional Development: A discussion of needs for professional development and plans for the future. Students should consider their future professional goals and the steps needed to fulfill them. A timeline may be included if appropriate.
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