Field Instructor Training
Module 1: "Setting the Stage for Field Instruction"

Developmental Stages of an Internship

The field internship is characterized by developmental stages that most interns seem to experience - a sequential process of encountering both challenges and opportunities that impact both growth and learning. The following is based on the work of Sweitzer & King (2004) and their model for Framing the experience: the developmental stages of an Internship.


  1. associated with a generalized anxiety about the unknown,
  2. anxiety about personal preparedness, expectations of supervisor, coworkers, staff, clients, etc.


  1. characterized by a process of questioning,
  2. unexpected emotions, disappointment with supervisor,
  3. disappointment with the agency setting, dip in morale


  1. revisiting expectations,
  2. clarification of interpersonal and intrapersonal issues,
  3. increasing self confidence


  1. high levels of accomplishment,
  2. high morale,
  3. potential for increase in balancing demands of home, school and internship


  1. issues with termination and endings,
  2. redefining relationships with supervisor, coworkers, faculty, peers, clients

Source: Sweitzer, H., & King, M. (2004). The successful internship: Transformation and empowerment in experiential learning. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Developmental Stages of an Internship (7 Minutes)


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Contact Information

For questions about the School of Social Work field program, this training module, or to provide feedback, contact the School of Social Work Field Office by phone (512) 471-6207 or by email at

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