Are you teetering on the edge of personal and professional burnout? Is your social worker self-care plan a mess?
I hear you. . . I’ve been there before.
Good news. You can do something about it.
Education is a first step in prevention and treatment for burnout.
Reading what subject matter experts have to say about self-care is a great place to start learning.
Today I’m going to share with you five books (not ranked in preferential order) you should read if you want to prevent or recover from social worker burnout.
Are you ready? Let’s do this.
Erlene Grise-Owens,Ed.D., LCSW, LMFT, MSW, MRE, Justine “Jay” Miller, Ph.D, Mindy Eaves, MSW, CSW
Author Erlene Grise-Owens and editors Justin “Jay” Miller, and Mindy Eeaves use the A-Z Framework (Awareness. . . ZZZ Sleep) as a primer to teach essential social worker self-care skills. This handbook culls contributions from social workers in a range of fields and at various stages of their careers. Chapters are short and practical covering topics like:
The S chapter on supervision is arguably the strongest in the book. The authors even manage to make the “X“chapter work. Bravo 😎!
2. Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work: A Guidebook for Students and Those in Mental Health and Related Professions
SaraKay Smullens, MSW, LCSW, CGP, CFLE, BCD
Smullens wrote a widely popular 2013 article What I Wish I Had Known: Burnout and Self-Care in Our Social Work Profession which eventually grew into this book. She shares research on which social workers are most susceptible to burnout and the “arenas” of where burnout occurs. Smullens skillfully shares stories and case studies from her decades of clinical work to teach healthy coping skills to go from compassion fatigue to compassion satisfaction.
Dr. Brenè Brown, Ph.D., LMSW
I’m a huge fan of Dr. Brown’s work. In this book, she blends unique stories with data from her research to help readers tackle dark emotions and learn to be “enough”. Brown provides ten guideposts that social workers can use in their journey to a fulfilling life and social work career. This book should be required reading for any social worker. Seriously, we can’t be friends until you read this.
Dr. Danna Bodenheimer, LCSW
Dr. Bodenheimer provides a practical and insightful guide for new clinical social worker practitioners. The chapters range from exploring different theoretical orientations to practical considerations like work settings and salary and income. If you are thinking of choosing a clinical career path, this book will be essential. As one astute reviewer noted, “This book is a life raft for embarking on the profession!”
Kathy Cox, Ph.D, L.C.S.W & Sue Steiner, Ph.D, M.S.W
In their book, Cox and Steiner self-awareness and self efficacy. The authors guide readers in identifying whether they are suited for the structure and work culture where they are employed. They also emphasize the important role that organizations play in fostering a supportive culture that emphasizes social worker self-care.
You should check out their accompanying website that includes additional resources and worksheets for burnout and self-care.
Practicing self-care daily is essential for anyone, especially social workers. A $10-$30 book is a ridiculous bargain if it sparks you to take action with your self-care needs. You never know when one sentence or concept can bring you the “a-ha moment” that leads you to take action. Or maybe you reread it in the future, when you are ready for the book’s message.
What are some of your favorite books about social worker self-care? Leave a comment below and tell me about it.