Resources for Success

Succeeding in Fieldwork

As a graduate student beginning your traineeship, you are entering a new environment where you are asked to take the skills and theories that you have learned about in a classroom setting, and use them in an interactive style with clients. It will take time for you to figure out your own rhythm within the process and to learn about how you work.
Important Reminders:
Professionalism: Remember, you are now in the role of the professional and are expected to act accordingly. That means, your dress, conduct and speech should all come across professionally to your client.

• Following all university and agency guidelines.
• Adhering to the professional codes of ethics set forth by the American Counseling Association and American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and following all California laws that apply to the practice of marriage and family therapy.
• Being open to feedback from supervisors and university faculty.
• Dressing professionally at all times when at the field placement.
• Arriving on time for supervision and 10-15 minutes prior to scheduled client sessions.
• Completing progress notes each day before leaving the site.
• Communicating concerns and problems to the onsite supervisors and university faculty when they arise and monitoring areas of concern closely to prevent problems from escalating.
• Handling cancellation of sessions due to illness or emergency per Agency policy.
• Requesting vacation and holiday time off in a timely manner.
• Monitoring and managing personal issues that may interfere with their ability to provide professional services to clients or otherwise affect their performance.

Client Confidentiality: Of utmost importance as a therapist (in training) is remembering that most of your clients have come to you because they are having issues that they cannot deal with by themselves. It is crucial that their confidentiality be respected in order to build a therapeutic alliance and form a relationship in which the work of therapy can be done. If you find that you do want to speak about a case outside of your supervision at the agency at which are your doing your traineeship, (for example, in Practicum), make sure to change names and any identifying information in order to fully protect the confidentiality of your client. It is normal to want to talk about your cases, especially as this will be your first direct contact with clients, so seek advice, but do so with respect for your client and the therapeutic relationship.

Keep informed: While you will learn a lot about your traineeship and your requirements from this handbook as well as from your fieldwork instructors, it is your sole responsibility to keep informed of any and all BBS changes that may have to do with your hours being earned and supervision etc. Visit regularly to stay appraised of all the current regulations.

Self-Care: Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your own needs throughout this process. Doing therapy can cause a mix of reactions to different people and it is crucial that you’re aware of what you need to do for yourself in order to do your best work with your clients. For some people this might be doing their own work in their own therapy, working out, spending time with loved ones, getting massages etc. Whatever it is for you, make sure to create the time to take care of yourself!

To be patient with yourself and use the resources you have available to you both at the agency where you are doing your fieldwork, and at school in your practicum classes. As you try to assimilate all of the information that you have received in this website and the MFT handbook, as well as all of your studies from your classes and your real life experience at your fieldsite, please keep in mind these resources that are available to you and can only help you on this process.

Don’t Forget
Your work at a center/agency is the work of helping people, and being present and available for your clients. You are making a difference!