Skip to Main Content

The University of Tennessee

The College of Veterinary Medicine

Frequently Used Tools:

Veterinary Social Work » Contact Us » Bios - MSSW Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice Concentration

Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice Concentration

The primary responsibility for a 2nd year students in the Interpersonal track is to provide crisis intervention, short-term and/or ongoing counseling services to owners who have an ill animal, may be anticipating a loss or have lost a companion animal. Secondary responsibilities include supporting and teaching veterinarians about the applicability of social work skills in a veterinary setting. This placement is much like a placement in a human hospital. This position includes:

  • Assessment, short-term and ongoing counseling and grief support (in person or via telephone sessions).
  • Helping owners with euthanasia decisions.
  • Being present with owners during euthanasia of their companion animals.
  • Providing crisis intervention on-site with owners who have intense reactions to euthanasia or diagnosis of illness of their companion animals.
  • Providing supportive services for owners with little social support who look to the Veterinary College as a support system.
  • Finding community resources for owners who have other needs (support groups, etc….).
  • Co-Facilitating bi-monthly Pet Loss Support Group meetings.
  • Developing and maintaining up-to-date pet loss resources.
  • Providing education and support to veterinary students, interns, residents, and faculty about the grief process, communication and social work skills.
  • Acting as a liaison between the client and veterinarian team to help facilitate non-medical communications.
  • Providing a minimum of one in-service training for the VSW Spring Educational Series on a human-animal bond or human side of veterinary medicine topic of your choice.
  • On a weekly basis, attending educational meetings to learn more about specific topics, skills and intervention techniques salient to both the social work and veterinary professions.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Students chosen for field placement in UT VSW for the school year will have demonstrated a good academic record, be adult learners, have an interest in the human-animal bond, be self-starters, independent workers, and have strong interpersonal and consensus building skills.

Current Student(s)

Goeltz_JosephJoseph Goeltz is a 2nd year MSSW intern from Knoxville, TN. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in August 2008. His interest in the field of Social Work comes from a desire to affect system-wide progress through evidence-based policy analysis. In the Veterinary Social Work program, he hopes to gain experience through implementing and evaluating services, organizing community outreach, and planning the 2013 VSW Summit. Joe is a HALT volunteer and practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu in his spare him. He has a cat named Mad Max.





Ragain_BryanBryan Ragan is a second year MSSW student with an interpersonal focus. Originally from Chapel Hill, NC, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2011 with a degree in psychology. His professional goal is to be a licensed therapist, so he hopes to gain experience working with grief and bereavement here. Zack, a golden retriever, is his proud owner.



Dog Bite Prevention Knox Cattlemen UT Veterinary MRI