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Alternative Title

Forced termination in the internship setting

Publication Date


First Advisor

Joanne Corbin

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School for Social Work


Termination, Forced termination, Relational intersubjectivity, Affects


Forced termination precipitated by interns’ departure is prominent yet challenging due to the way it feels to leave clients prematurely. Educators endorse a triadic, relational, supervisory matrix for interns’ in vivo learning, which situates instruction at the cleavage of the technical and affective aspects of the forced ending process. Lack of studies on supervisory practice is a gap in the literature investigated in this quantitative study of 119 supervisors’ instruction of intern initiated forced termination. Both synthesizing and expanding upon the literature, key findings include a statistically significant model for teaching affective engagement in the ending process. Aligning with advancements such as, early disclosure, transcending historic tendencies foregrounding loss and separation, and relegating strong feelings to engagement, supervisors’ high degrees of comfort, satisfaction and adequacy approaching feelings were ultimately discordant with less frequent employment of in vivo methods. The low frequency of the critical variable- teaching interns to share their own feelings and responses about ending with clients, also negligibly correlated with supervisors increasing sense of benefiting from more clinical/theoretical knowledge. Furthermore, overall trends leaned toward a favoring of technical over clinical/theoretical knowledge, despite clinical/theoretical knowledge deemed of high value and influence. Intern initiated forced termination was supervised most frequently: 81.5%. all the time/often. Findings suggest future study foregrounding supervisory perspectives on integrating theory and practice, views on engaging with “parallel” phenomena, while investigating supervisors’ use of existing conceptual knowledge operational in general practice.


©2021 Catherine Balletto Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




vi, 225 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 199-204)