If you are enrolling in the Positive Psychology Practicum, here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
Q: Will I be shadowing a psychologist?
A: This practicum does not consist of shadowing a psychologist due to ethical reasons as well as the language barrier. Instead, you will take an active role observing behavior and communication in various types of Danish organizations and facilitate different interventions inspired by positive psychology.
Q: How many times will I go to my practicum site?
A: In order to complete the course you will need to spend a minimum of 30 hours at the practicum site during the semester and in general, they are spread out over 10 weeks, and each visit usually lasts 3 hours. The visiting hours will vary depending on the site’s schedule (some are earlier in the morning, and others are later in the afternoon). We aim to provide sites that are open from approximately 8-18 on weekdays.
Q: What kinds of placements are there?
A: There is a broad variety of sites and discussions in class will give insight into the similarities and differences between the different organizations. We strive to lower the language barrier and find sites with a good concentration of English speakers. You can be placed in private companies, public organizations or NGO’s. The sites we offer provide the following:
- The opportunity to interact with staff and customers/clientele (if relevant)
- A chance to experience the internal communication of the organization
- The opportunity for practicum students to participate in staff meetings and similar activities
- An inspiring setting in which to develop your facilitation skills.
Q: How am I assigned to a site?
A: You will be placed at your practicum site based on the answers to a questionnaire that you will fill out shortly before the semester starts. Questions regarding age groups, specific topic areas of interest, and previous experience will help us determine, which of the sites available, it will be best to place you at. You will not be able to pick, choose, or individually request sites.
Q: Where are the sites located?
A: The sites are located throughout the greater Copenhagen area. DIS will provide you with additional transportation passes should you require it. Please expect a minimum of a 40-minute commute to your placement.
Q: Who is my site supervisor?
A: Your site supervisor will be a staff member from the site that speaks English, and who has been instructed by DIS to follow a set of rules ensuring you the best possible practicum experience. The supervisor is responsible for your well-being and safety, they are the one you can ask questions about everything you encounter, and they are responsible for signing your Practicum Time Card. The supervisor must always be present during your visits and if absent must appoint another staff member to cover for them.
Q: What is my role at the site?
A: As a practicum student, your role is to be there from an academic perspective. This means that you are neither to function as a professional staff member nor as a volunteer (no cooking, no cleaning, etc.). Overall, your role is to:
- Observe, analyze, investigate and explore concepts, theories, research and interventions from the core class and from the practicum course itself
- Engage in the daily routines of the site, interact with the people there, and be available for participating in a variety of activities and discussions
- Use the already existing activities at the site to interact with others, and also plan your own activities with the help from the site supervisor
Q: Will I experience language barriers?
A: In general, adult Danes speak English but at different levels. You will experience that most are able to express themselves while others struggle to communicate. The language barrier is part of the experience and you should discuss these challenges in supervision to understand non-verbal communication and if there are alternatively ways to understand how to overcome them and make use of non-verbal communication. Your assigned site supervisors speak English so should you have any questions or thoughts, it should not be a problem to discuss these with the supervisor or other staff at your site. This is a chance for you to get first-hand information about the ideas and theories you are learning in class. If you are unsure – always ask!
Q: How is my experience at the site connected to theory in class?
A: Once a week you will have class supervision, with a trained psychologist that will guide your practicum experience and help connect theory with practice. The main focus of positive psychology is to enhance well-being and growth, and your experiences at the site will inspire your work in supervision, and hopefully spark many interesting discussions about habits, comfort zones, flow etc. For more information, please look at the syllabus attached to the course.
Q: Do you have any advice from previous students that I can benefit from?
A: We certainly do. Here is a selection of useful tips from students who have completed the Positive Psychology Practicum:
- Be outgoing and apply yourself at the practicum site
- Be very open with your supervisor and communicate needs
- Many of us have a tendency to want to go into something/a task with a fully formed plan, but sometimes it takes getting to know a site, group, or experience a bit before we are able to know what steps to take. This takes patience but it is worth it for sustainable change. “In order to help someone, we have to learn from them”
- Be open to new possibilities. The practicum is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before and things might not always go right. However, stick with it and you will learn a lot
- Don’t hesitate, get out of your comfort zone!
- Be brave! The sooner you start talking to people and interacting with them, the sooner they get comfortable with you and you get comfortable with them
- Trust yourself and have some fun at the site
- Be comfortable with open situations where you won’t get strict instructions, it gives you freedom to do more and observe more
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions while at the site. There is so much to be learned by simply expressing curiosity and allowing conversations to take their natural course