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Originally from the UK, I lived in Northern Ireland in my 20’s where I completed my professional Social Work studies and had my eyes opened to the world through grass root Community Relations and front line Child Protection work. A career break just before I turned 30 resulted in me visiting Sydney and falling in love with Australia and I have never looked back. As a highly driven professional woman I returned to work on my own terms a year or so after having twins but necessity later drew me back into full time work in the Child Protection support arena. It was a combination of all these elements and 20 years of exposure to human need and abuse that eventually led me to reaching breakdown point. I now understand why you need self care in social work.
I get you, I was there… but there is a different way!
Self Care in Social Work
Because YOU Care
SOS – Saving Our Social Workers.
Online supported training program increasing awareness, knowledge and practical resources to prevent the long term impact of Moral Distress, Vicarious Trauma and Burnout.
What you get with the ‘Because YOU Care‘ Program
24/7 access to Online training materials
4 modules of specialised training
Weekly live Q&A sessions
Private Facebook group
All Social Workers are vulnerable to emotional stress but when we are unable to do what is right because of organisational constraints we experience something more. Andrew Jameton coined the phrase ‘Moral Distress‘ in 1984 in the field of Nursing describing it as developing in situations “when one knows the right thing to do, but institutional constraints make it nearly impossible to pursue the right course of action’. In today’s World it is increasingly difficult for Social Workers to balance their professional and moral aspirations with the reality of service provision.
Vicarious Trauma results from chronic exposure to traumatic materials and a negative shift in the Social Workers cognitive schema. Consistent repeated exposure to the secondary trauma experiences of others leaves the Social Worker vulnerable to shifts in their frame of reference, impacts on their identity and world view as well as changes in their self perception and psychological needs. Symptoms can mirror those related to PTSD but the Social Worker did not experience the trauma themselves. The compounding effects of Vicarious Trauma impacts the Social Workers capacity in practice.
Burnout is the serious result of chronic stress and can impair the Social Workers effectiveness and capacity to practice. Burnout is not a product of one off stress but the impact of prolonged exposure to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job. Burnout has dimensions of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced feelings of personal accomplishments. Both Moral Distress and Vicarious Trauma can be factors in the eventual Burnout of a Social Worker. Burnout requires professional intervention and support.
“I am going to do the daily practices tomorrow as I go through my day. I am certainly learning a lot about myself doing these exercises and hopefully what I need to fill my cup. I would like to say thank you for this program – it has come at the right time for me”
“Thank you Helen, I really needed to hear this…. really appreciate your practice wisdom!”