Mindfulness, self-care, and wellness in social work: effects of contemplative training

Source:
SCIE Social Care Online
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Publication date:
01 January 2011

Abstract

Social workers engaged in supporting people through challenging circumstances can themselves be susceptible to high levels of stress. However, regular self-care practices may reduce the impact of stress while also serving as strategies for coping during particularly stressful times. This study investigated the effectiveness of eight weeks of contemplative practice training in increasing self-care, awareness, and coping strategies for 12 social workers in Canada. Analysis on pre- and post-training scores on the Perceived Stress Scale and the Mindfulness Attention and Awareness Scale showed that mindfulness was significantly increased and that stress significantly decreased over the course of the intervention. Participants suggested that time, permission, and place for learning and practicing mindfulness-based activities are necessary. The authors present a meditative model to highlight how enhanced awareness through mindfulness practice can increase self-care which can improve the service they provide to clients.