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Field Placement Anxiety

On Field Placement Anxiety - Kanako Okuda
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What is Field Placement Anxiety?

Field placement anxiety is a normal reaction for social work students in their learning processes. It encompasses feelings of apprehension, nervousness, or uneasiness that relate to your field learning experience. It is distinct from the definition of anxiety in psychopathology, although some students may experience both.

What's Making Me Anxious?

(Click Comments for Explanations)

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Sources: Azuri, Ackshota, & Vinker (2010); Barlow& Hall (2007); Bogo (2017); Glassman (2016); Irwin (2018); Kanno & Koeske (2010); Katz, Tufford, Bogo, & Regehr (2014); Litvack, Mishna, & Bogo (2010); Okuda (2018); Pierce (2016): Vinton & Wilke (2009).

Elements that Influence Your Field Placement Anxiety

Four Elements - Kanako Okuda
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All elements in the chart below interact in a dynamic learning process that can be unsettling to students.

  • Known to Self and Known to Others

       The motivation for choosing social work 


       Reasons for choosing social work are often discussed

       throughout the learning process.     


  • Known to Self and Unknown to Others

    Barriers to learning and acquiring skills

    Students learn to practice and acquire skills as they gain field experience. Students recognize barriers to learning as they progress.


  • Unknown to Self and Known to Others
    Reactions/behaviors caused by emotional triggers

    Field instructors and peers observe reactions. Through feedback, students will increase their awareness of triggers and learn how to address and work with them.


  • Unknown to Self and Unknown to Others
    Challenges while learning and changing

    Field learning transforms students from informal to formal helpers. Many changes are expected during the process, and the transition is often difficult. Students may find their own "blind spots" and use them as tools for their transformation.



"Think of the anxiety not as something to be gotten rid of, but as something that is providing you with important information."

Caroline Gelman, Ph.D.

Relational Perspective on Field Placement Anxiety

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