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Cultivating Professional Resilience in Direct Practice

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Overwhelming empirical evidence indicates that new social workers going into child welfare or other trauma-related care discover emotional challenges. However, the revised CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) does not mandate the inclusion of content related to self-care in social work curricula. In a textbook that bridges the gap between theoretical and pragmatic approaches, Jason M. Newell provides a solution by conceptualizing self-care as the key to professional resilience. By examining four key constructs-stress, empathy, resilience, and self-care-from different theoretical dimensions, Newell offers an extensive, competency-based model. He describes a framework grounded in the ecological systems perspective conceptualizing self-care as a broader set of practice behaviors pertaining to the whole person. This comprehensive approach to self-care can help practitioners remain resilient and committed to social work in the face of trauma.

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments 1. An Introduction to Resilient Practice Through Holistic Self-Care Section 1: Theory, Conceptualization, and Measurement 2. Understanding the Connection Between Stress and Trauma 3. Chronic Empathy and Trauma in Human Service Work: Implications for Social Service Professionals 4. Understanding and Preventing the Effects of Professional Burnout and Indirect Trauma: An Individual and Organizational Challenge 5. Assessment and Measurement of Occupational Stress and Trauma Section 2: A Holistic Framework for the Application of Self-Care Practices 6. The Essential Practice of Professional Self-Care: The Key to Professional Resilience 7. Preserving Professional Resilience: The Ongoing Practice of Holistic Self-Care 8. The Ethical Obligation of Professional Self-Care, with James L. Jackson Jr. 9. Trauma-Informed Education, Training, and Professional Development 10. The Use of Mindfulness Practice as a Function of Self-Care Epilogue: Finding Balance in Social Work Practice: Self-Care as Practice Wisdom Worksheets Personal Reflection Exercise: Resilience and Self-Appreciation Personal Reflection Exercise: Engaging Group Discussion on Trauma Sample Assignment: Deep Breathing Exercise Sample Assessment of Organizational Strengths and Challenges Self-Care Process: Setting Organizational Goals Self-Care Process: Setting Personal Goals Professional Development Assignment: Construct a Plan of Personal and Professional Self-Care Suggestions for Developing a Comprehensive Plan of Self-Care Sample Goals and Objectives for a Plan of Self-Care Blank Template for a Comprehensive Plan of Self-Care Sample Self-Care Plan: Personal Table Sample Assignment: Journaling Mindfully Bibliography of Recommended Readings Bibliography of Suggested Internet Resources Glossary References Index

About the Author

Jason M. Newell is associate professor and director of the social work program at the University of Montevallo.


Newell emphasizes the importance of professional self-care as it relates to providing ethical and quality services to others who are vulnerable and needing help. Clearly, if as helping professionals we do not take the first breath of oxygen, how is it possible to help others breathe? -- Carolyn Szafran, Washburn University Jason M. Newell's important book is a wake call to the field of social work and its accrediting body; that self-care is the key to professional resilience. Awake and read this book! -- Charles R. Figley, Tulane University

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