Counseling Practicum

Dr. Ria Baker, Counseling Practicum Director

Dr. Ria Baker

Dr. Ria E. Baker, Ph.D., LPC-S, has over 15 years of experience working in clinical, community, and university settings with diverse client populations. She believes that counseling is a medium to gain self-awareness and provides a forum to engage in a dialogue of self-acceptance, empowerment, and change.


Counseling Practicum experiences provide students with the opportunity to integrate what they learn in the classroom with practical experience.

Most students who come to HGST begin with some prior experience at the lay or professional level. However, most have not achieved a level of competency that comes with graduate-level counselor education and integration of new knowledge into a professional context. The practicum experience gives students further opportunity for supervised counseling in field settings so that they attain higher proficiency as reflective practitioners.

Counseling students are required to complete supervised counseling practicum courses (i.e., COU 751, 752, 753) that total a minimum of 150 clock hours per course. The practicum provides for the development of counseling and assessment skills under direct clinical supervision. The Counseling Practicum Handbook can be found here.

The student’s practicum must include all of the following:

  1. 50 hours of direct contact with clients, including experience in individual counseling and group counseling;
  2. No less than one hour per week of individual and/or triadic supervision** which occurs regularly over a minimum of one academic term by a site supervisor working under the supervision of the Counseling Practicum Director;
  3. An average of one and one half hours per week of group supervision that is provided on a regular schedule over the course of the student’s practicum by a program faculty member in a peer group setting; and
  4. Evaluation of the student’s performance throughout the practicum including a formal evaluation, Basic Helping Skills Evaluation, at the midterm and end of the practicum experience.

Students are required to pass and to complete all of the practicum requirements in order to enroll in fieldwork (post-graduate internship).

Prerequisite: Counseling students must complete pre-practicum coursework, submit all necessary paperwork, and complete at least six of the required twelve hours of individual counseling before enrolling in the counseling practicum.

Counseling Practicum Handbook

The Office of Field Education


Houston Graduate School of Theology
Dr. Ria Baker, Counseling Practicum Field Director
Phone: 713-942-9505 ext. 217
Email: rbaker@hgst.edu