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Myths & Pitfalls

Myth or Fact?

Field placement is a job.


Answer 1 - Kanako Okuda
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I always need to know what to do.


Answer 2 - Kanako Okuda
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I just do what I'm told to do.

It depends

Answer 3 - Kanako Okuda
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Our expectations can either enhance or hinder our learning processes. It is common for many of us to be unaware of our expectations in the beginning, and they may emerge as we begin field learning. 

Source: Glassman (2016).

Possible Pitfalls

Unrealistic Expectations 

Inability to Embrace Uncertainties

Unrecognized Anxiety
False Assumptions 

Refusal to Ask for Help

Conflicting Personal and Professional Values
Overwhelming Triggers
Help from Unhelpful  Sources
Sources: Barlow & Hall (2007); Gelman (2004); Gelman & Lloyd (2008); Gelman (2009); Glassman (2016); Hemy, Boddy, Chee, & Sauvage (2016); Hughes (2011); Pierce(2016); Zeff, Kaersvang, & Raskin (2016).

How to Work with Pitfalls

  • Know what they are

  • Have someone you trust to keep you in check

  • Accept and make changes when you get stuck

  • Know that it's okay to be facing some pitfalls

  • Learn from your experiences

Photo Credit:

Myths and Pitfalls by the Phases of a Field Placement

  • Unclear or rigid expectations of the educational process

  • Limited readiness to start your placement

  • Problems with the interviewing process

  • Trying to negotiate your assignment without communicating with your field educators in your school

  • Problem with agency-required clearance processes

  • Needing to know everything before you start your assignments

  • Not asking questions 

  • Difficulty adjusting to the role of social work student

  • Difficulty establishing expectations of self and others

  • Misunderstanding the purpose of your performance evaluation

  • Missing field instruction meeting

  • Becoming complacent in following agency procedure

  • Feeling unenthusiastic or unreceptive  toward constructive criticism

  • Feeling unprepared
  • Being too critical of your field experiences
  • Difficulty letting go of your clients
  • Being preoccupied with life after graduation
  • Termination anxiety
Sources: Gelman (2004); Gelman & Lioyd (2008); Gelman (2009); Glassman (2016).

Interviews with Mentors

Carolyn Gartner, LCSW

Hospice Social Worker

Community Organizer

Cindy Bautista-Thomas, LCSW

Advice to My Student Self - Carolyn Gartner
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On Social Work - Esperanza
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My Journey to Social Work - Cindy Bautista-Thomas, LCSW
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