Field Directors

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  • 1.  Guidelines for private practice practicum placements

    Posted Nov 20, 2023 11:16

    Hi everyone! My name is Kimmie Garner and I am a Field Liaison/Seminar Instructor for the University of Montana's Online MSW Program.

    We have been having ongoing discussions around private practice practicum placements and are curious about specific policies or practices in place to help guide these types of increasingly common placements. 

    We are curious: how are other Schools of Social Work approaching private practice placements? What policies do you have in place? If you already have policies in place, could you please share examples of your Memorandums of Understanding and/or policy guidelines for students requesting and completing private practice placements?

    Thank you so much!

    Kimmie Garner
    University of Montana

  • 2.  RE: Guidelines for private practice practicum placements

    Posted Nov 21, 2023 11:20
    Hi Kimmie,

    Thanks for bringing this question to our attention.  We have also been thinking about this question as well.  Here are some guidelines that we have used to decide on Group Private Practice settings:

    While social workers may choose to work in a private clinic after obtaining their licensure, these settings are generally not available for field placements. One of the requirements of a field placement agency is that they pay particular attention to the needs of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and/or living in poverty and that they provide learning opportunities to engage in social justice work in an agency-based setting. BSSW and MSW Foundation year placements must also provide access to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with many system levels (individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.) Select private psychotherapy clinics may be suitable for field placements and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Field Education. In order to meet the goals of field learning experience, private practices that wish to be approved should meet the following criteria:

    • Demonstrate a commitment to serving vulnerable, oppressed, marginalized, and/or diverse populations by accepting varied payment options such as Medicaid, sliding-scales, etc.
    • Engage with multiple external points of contact within the larger social service delivery system (e.g. schools, courts, human services, etc.).
    • Articulate a defined mission and agency policies and procedures.
    • Utilize a structured intake process.
    • Employ at least two practitioners, one of whom is a social worker with at least 2 years of post-degree work experience.
    • Provide opportunities for students to engage in differing treatment modalities (ex- individual, couple, family, group).
    • Serve a need in the community; address a social issue/problem affecting the community.
    • Provide a learning environment where students progress on a continuum that begins with opportunities to shadow/observe social work practice and move towards more independent practice.

    We continue to wonder about these settings given some experiences that we are having (some have gone really well and others there are challenges).  Kimmie, can you please share back with me the feedback that you get from other Social Work programs?

                                                         Best, Susie

    Susie Ryder, LCSW, LAC 

    (Pronouns: she, her, hers)

    College of Health and Applied Sciences

    Metropolitan State University of Denver

    Director of Undergraduate and Graduate Field Education | Social Work Department
    Metropolitan State University of Denver
    Campus Box 70, P.O. Box 173362, Denver, CO 80217-3362
    303-615-0555 (Main Office), 303-615-1091 (Direct line)


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  • 3.  RE: Guidelines for private practice practicum placements

    Posted Nov 22, 2023 08:34

    Susie, thank you so much for your comprehensive response! I appreciate the depth and breadth of the criteria MSU - Denver has created related to private practice placements. I will absolutely share back anything else I learn from others who respond to this thread and look forward to taking the excellent information you've shared back to our Field Education team! Wishing you a restorative holiday.

    Kimmie Garner
    University of Montana