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Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work: A Guidebook for Students and Those in Mental Health and Related Professions

Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work

A Guidebook for Students and Those in Mental Health and Related Professions

SaraKay Smullens

ISBN: 978-0-87101-462-7. 2015. Item #4627. 152 pages.

Paperback $37.99   ePub $30.99

Are you exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed? Or do you feel that these reactions are very close, waiting in the wings? If so, Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work is the book for you. Burnout, one of the primary reasons why committed social workers leave the profession, is a grave and pervasive problem with glaring impact. Those entering social work and all related fields, as well as those already deeply involved, must be educated about its toll and prepared to address and prevent the depletion it causes. This book provides valuable insights for all who carry complex and divergent responsibilities. SaraKay Smullens addresses both burnout and self-care from a professional, personal, social, and physical perspective. She integrates research, case studies, questionnaire responses, and her seasoned experience to identify three major root causes of burnout—compassion fatigue, countertransference, and vicarious trauma—and defines creative strategies for individual self-care opportunities. This resourceful guide offers clarification, direction, and opportunity for reflection to help students and professionals in social work, related fields, and beyond find balance in their personal and professional lives as well as ease work-related stress to better serve clients—and, in this way, achieve professional equilibrium, success, and personal fulfillment.

Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work is a vitally important and timely book by an extraordinary individual who has been on the frontlines of this issue for decades and writes with deep insight, clarity, and unparalleled empathy for all concerned. I was pleased to be president of Scribner when SaraKay published her first book.

Franklyn Rodgers, BS

University of Pennsylvania


Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work is an engrossing and comprehensive treatment of a most critical and complex topic in social work today. Service providers will undoubtedly benefit from SaraKay Smullens's insights into recognizing and overcoming burnout and equipping oneself with the tools to build self-care into the heart of one's practice. This fundamental self-actualization is the cornerstone of any truly successful individual within the social work profession and beyond.

John L. Jackson, Jr., PhD

Dean, School of Social Policy & Practice

Richard Perry University Professor

University of Pennsylvania