Updated: Oct 27, 2021
The culmination of my Master's degree is about to commence -- the practicum. The hands-on part of my training will take place at a small private practice in Minneapolis. To make certain I have enough sessions with clients during my internship, I'm trying to get a professional profile made on as many therapy web sites as I can. During this process, I'm learning quite a bit and want to pass on my experience to other counseling interns and practicum students so they can learn from my experience.
I'm going to organize the resources I find according to how helpful they are to practicum students and interns. First, I'll mention the highly recommended resources down through the highly not recommended resources. The resources I'm focusing on are web sites where practicum students and interns can advertise. I didn't receive any compensation from any of these sites for doing this. All of my opinions about these sites are mine and based upon how useful or unhelpful they were.
Why I love this site
I had no problems getting a profile made as a practicum student, and a great-looking one at that. I was able to include my supervisor's information, office location, contact info, photos, biographical information, and more. The complete profile gives anyone who finds me a very complete picture of my experience, status as a pre-licensed professional, and lots of other info that can help them make a decision about whether to contact me. Plus, I was given 6-months free, which is great for a student. The free subscription will cover almost all of my practicum time.
To be determined
Why I can't recommend this site
After initially being excited to setup a profile with the 3-month free offering, Good Therapy really let me down. I'd spent a lot time filling out all of the information only to be told I couldn't register in their directory as a student. They explained that their requirements are posted on the site, but a better user experience could include asking the questions up-front to notify potential subscribers of their eligibility before filling out five pages of registration.
Furthermore, though I understand the requirements, It's unfortunate that sites like Good Therapy and Open Path (under Highly Not Recommended) won't allow therapists starting their practice on their web site. As practicum students, we have fulfilled requirements to practice but we need client hours to graduate. It's certainly disappointing that when we are at our most vulnerable in our career that we are excluded from opportunities--at least on sites like Good Therapy and Open Path, not necessarily therapy sites in general--to market ourselves to get the experience we need.
This policy is not based upon any scientific understanding of therapist effectiveness. It's quite likely that a student therapist will be more effective than many therapists who not only have a graduate degree, but also those with many years of experience. Not only are students hungrier to have good outcomes, but we have our education fresh in our minds. This education is many times more recent and more informed than practitioners with many years of experience.
Goldberg, et al. (2016) say, "the present study, which to our knowledge is the first large-scale longitudinal examination of therapist professional development over time using patient outcomes, involved 170 therapists treating over 6,500 patients over an extended period of time (on average, almost 5 years)...The present analyses show that, in the aggregate, therapists did not improve with more experience, operationalized as either time or number of cases. Indeed, results suggest that therapists on the whole became slightly less effective over time."
Highly not recommended
Why I highly don't recommend this site
I don't recommend this site for same reason as Good Therapy, but even more so. The Open Path Collective policy is particularly disappointing considering that Open Path’s mission is to create affordable mental health access. Because they won't let pre-licensed practicum students finishing their Master's degree to be listed, there are many people who will not know about affordable services that can be provided by practicum students. Cynically, Open Path Collective states they want to make mental health care affordable and accessible to those without means, yet they charge those people $49 to have access to the list of providers.
Some feel that therapist directories as a whole are a waste of time and money. SInce I'm just starting out, I don't know. Here's a post that is critical of therapist directories in general, and explains alternative ways to market yourself online.
Goldberg, S. B., Rousmaniere, T., Miller, S. D., Whipple, J., Nielsen, S. L., Wampold, B. E., & Hoyt, W. T. (2016). Do psychotherapists improve with time and experience? A longitudinal analysis of outcomes in a clinical setting. Journal Of Counseling Psychology, (1),