Termination in Social Work Practice

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 1
Words: 462
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: Bachelor

The purpose of this blog is to explain how termination might be addressed during field education experience. Termination is an essential part of social work practice and the step in the planned change process finalizing the professional client-provider relationship. Social workers or field education students may conclude their generalist practice interventions in different ways.

Termination can be the result of a planned ending after the achievement of goals and objectives identified by the social worker and client. Planned and expected termination supporting the client’s motivation and encouraging future progress is the most effective way to finalize the intervention process. For example, the elderly client was referred to Vatsalya for counselling services to help her cope with psychological trauma and grief. She demonstrated positive progress and developed effective coping strategies after six weekly sessions with the social worker. The evaluation suggested that the goals of her treatment were achieved, so the decision was made to initiate termination. The termination process included the discussion of her progress and available resources to address potential problems in the future.

Unanticipated circumstances, such as the loss of program funding, employee transfers, or client non-compliance, can also result in abrupt termination (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2018). Moreover, the decision on termination might be considered when the social worker developed a good rapport and demonstrated the efficacy of the therapy, but the client intends to commit to long-term treatment in a different facility (Laureate Education, 2013). Regardless of its timing and nature, termination is important and should be addressed in an appropriate way based on a given situation. To increase the chances of a planned and steady termination, social workers and practicum students should demonstrate the highest level of professionalism. Effective termination process needs to involve the knowledge and skills required for micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work practice (Garthwait, 2017). An evidence-based approach is vital for all stages of the planned change process, including termination. Based on the progress data documented during the evaluation stage, the social work practitioner can determine whether the issues, risks, or gaps in service were decreased/eliminated (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2018). Client questionnaires might be introduced during the termination phase to collect the feedback on individual sessions or help the agency and its employees improve the quality of services. Finally, the social worker should consult the NASW Code of Ethics, which provides guidance on termination procedures and explains the cases when termination is unavoidable or recommended.

In conclusion, termination is a part of a planned change process occurring naturally when the goals are completed or abruptly due to unexpected circumstances. Social work practitioners might address efficient termination by reasonably applying social work skills and knowledge. Evidence-based termination requires the use of evidence to assess the client’s progress and the success of an intervention.


Garthwait, C. L. (2017). The social work practicum: A guide and workbook for students (7th ed.). Pearson.

Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H., Jr. (2018). Understanding generalist practice (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013). Termination [Audio file]. Web.