At the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, we are committed to helping students succeed by gaining the necessary practical experience in their respective fields. We work with students in the Counseling and Psychology and Expressive Therapies programs to find field placement sites that are right for them. Field experience is an invaluable component of each student's professional development, and often leads to career opportunities after graduation.
Counseling & Psychology Students
In the Division of Counseling and Psychology, Lesley students benefit from the full-time services of a Field Training team and access to a database that includes a variety of internship sites. We will guide you through each step of the internship search, application process, and completion of your internship requirements. Specific services that you will receive from the Field Training team include: an orientation to the internship search process, internship-related advising, a year-long Clinical Practice and Supervision course, and ongoing licensure support after graduation.
Lesley’s Counseling and Psychology students benefit from the full-time services of a Field Training team, committed to student success. We guide you through:
- Orientation to the internship search process, including maintaining a database of hundreds of internship sites to choose from that meet licensure requirements
- Advising during the internship application process
- Support during your internship, including a weekly on-campus Clinical Practice and Supervision course with a clinical instructor who will make site visits and support your progress. We’ll monitor practicum and internship documentation so that you’ll have the necessary paperwork when you apply for licensure.
- And licensure support with our licensure advisor even after graduation.
We’re also responsible for seeing that your experiences meet the competencies and standards articulated by program policies, state licensure requirements, and the ethical codes of the ACA, ASCA, and AMHCA.
All students preparing for an internship are required to attend an internship search orientation meeting in the fall prior to your year of internship. In this orientation, the Field Training team explains the search process, provides resources, answers any questions, and offers helpful tips for how to secure an internship best-suited for your career goals while juggling the many demands of graduate-level interning.
In addition to your faculty academic advising, the Field Training team is available for consultation, either in-person or via phone or email, regarding any aspect of your internship experience. Feel free to reach out with a question or schedule an appointment with us.
Clinical Practice and Supervision
Every Counseling and Psychology intern is assigned a small-group Clinical Practice and Supervision course that meets concurrently with the field placement experience. These two-semester long group supervision courses are run by experienced clinicians, working in the field, whose licenses match those that the students are seeking.
The Field Training team includes a Licensure Advisor whose role is to provide expert support for Counseling and Psychology students and alumni. Whether you plan to obtain a license in Massachusetts or are curious about how to get licensed in another state or country, the Field Training Licensure Advisor is available to help you navigate your journey.
Field Placement Process
All Counseling and Psychology internships follow the traditional academic year, beginning in the early fall and ending in the spring.
Prior to internship:
October/November - Your field placement work begins in October of the year prior to internship. At this time, you will be invited to attend a mandatory Internship Orientation meeting. Once you complete this orientation, you will be able to start your internship search.
December-March - It is recommended that you contact prospective sites no later than December or early January and that your interviews are completed by March.
April - All completed internship contracts for the fall are due to the Field Training Office by early April to ensure that you can be registered for an appropriate section of the Clinical Practice and Supervision course (CP&S).
June - The Field Training Office assigns students to CP&S courses in June, based on their internship type and location, as well as the student’s availability, noted on documentation found in the internship application packet.
August - In August, Field Training staff send students the Field Training handbook, which contains all of the forms and documents needed for the successful completion of internship requirements.
Late August/early September: All 600- and 700-hour internships begin (students are able to begin their internship as early as the third week in August); fall Clinical Practice and Supervision (CP&S) classes begin
October/November: CP&S instructors conduct first site visits; mandatory internship orientation meetings are held for students interested in interning the following academic year (see “Field Placement timeline” below)
December: fall semester ends; fall practicum/internship paperwork due
January: spring CP&S classes begin
March: on-campus meetings with the student, CP&S instructor, and site supervisor are held
April: the final on-site visit is conducted for all school counseling and school adjustment internships
May: Spring CP&S courses end; spring paperwork is due; all students intending to graduate in May must complete their internship hours prior to graduation deadline
June: All 600- and 700-hour internships finish by June 30th.
Internship Database Portal
Once you attend an Internship Orientation meeting, you gain access to the Counseling and Psychology Field Training database. This is a web-based portal which allows students to search for good-match internship sites from our list of hundreds of active sites. The Field Training team vets all internship sites to ensure that the experience will meet both Lesley graduation requirements and the state licensing board requirements.
Site locations range from the Boston metro area and eastern/central Massachusetts to locations in all other New England states. Sites cover all areas of clinical work – from elementary schools to colleges; hospitals to day programs; and all ages – from working with youth to working with elders.
Students are encouraged to both explore the database and examine their interests. To this end, the Field Training team is available as an ongoing consultation resource during the internship search process. If you find a potential internship site that is not listed in our database then the Field Training team will work with you to facilitate adding the site to our list of approved placements.
All Counseling and Psychology graduate students, with the exception of students enrolled in the 48-credit school counseling program*, are required to complete at least one 700-hour clinical internship. This field experience meets the pre-masters’ requirements for Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) licensure in the state of Massachusetts. The 700-hour internship combines the state’s 100-hour practicum requirement and 600-hour clinical internship requirement into one seamless field experience in which a student is supervised both by an on-site supervisor and by a Lesley University Clinical Practice and Supervision course instructor.
For programs with a specialization (School and Community, Trauma Specialization, Holistic Specialization), a second 600-hour internship is also required.
In addition to meeting the requirements for LMHC, students in the School and Community programs also meet the criteria for initial licensure from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), either as a School Adjustment Counselor or School Counselor, by completing their second internship in a school setting and completing the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) Communication and Literacy Skills test prior to the start of their school-based internship.
*Students in the 48-credit school counseling program complete one, 600-hour, school-based internship and qualify for the DESE School Counseling licensure (for either grades PreK-8 or 5-12) upon graduation.
Becoming an Internship Site
Are you interested in hosting our students at your site? Download the following forms for information field training opportunities and to learn more about our site requirements:
Expressive Therapies Students
Our Field Training Office, located in Sherrill Library on Brattle Campus, works closely with students, placement sites, and instructors to facilitate your learning experience. Placement sites include, but are not limited to, medical and psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centers, day programs, schools and after school programs, community centers, and more.
Support and Guidance
In addition to being supervised by expressive therapists, you’ll generally work with multidisciplinary teams and receive supervision from licensed psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, and other mental health professionals. A small-group seminar accompanies all field-training experiences to provide additional supervision and support.
If you’re a low-residency student, you’ll receive a comprehensive field training orientation at your on-campus summer residency and can request addition advising via email.
Required Field Training Hours
On campus: Our 60-credit master’s degree programs are designed to support both counseling licensure and expressive therapies credentialing. The programs generally require you to complete 1,200 total hours of field experience over the course of two, nine-month internships. In the second year of field training, you’ll accrue a minimum of 700 hours under the supervision of a Massachusetts Licensed Mental Health Counselor Approved Supervisor.
Low-residency: If you’re a low-residency student, you’ll establish your own placements in or near your home community. In the second year of your program, you'll engage in 450 hours of fieldwork experience. In your third year of the program, you’ll complete a second 700-hour placement. A hybrid clinical skills and supervision course will accompany the fieldwork and internship process for the duration of your placement.
Preparing for Counseling Licensure
State boards for professional licensure oversee counseling licensure. After graduation, you’ll have to provide information about both your “pre-masters” experience (i.e., the experience and coursework you complete in your training program), as well as “post-masters” hours under counseling supervision (the work you do after graduation, but before attaining licensure).
No pre-masters training can guarantee counseling licensure in any state. The Expressive Therapies Division’s field training program requirements incorporate current “pre-masters” state requirements for Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
While the Massachusetts pre-masters counseling licensure requirements mirror those of some other states, please be aware that licensure requirements are a matter of individual state legislation and are constantly evolving.
Lesley University makes no representations about counseling requirements in states other than Massachusetts; if you’re seeking counseling licensure outside of Massachusetts, you are responsible for fulfilling your state requirements.
Field Training Application
Download our Expressive Therapies Field Placement Application and Site Guidelines (DOC) document to apply for field training opportunities and to learn more about our site requirements. To submit your site application, email it as an attachment to:
Laura Orshaw, Assistant Director of Field Training, at firstname.lastname@example.org.