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Fight Burnout in Social Work

Fight Burnout in Social Work

Peter Vogt, MonsterTRAK Career Coach

Think Mind, Body and Spirit

We all have psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical needs. But some social workers and similar professionals fall into the trap of focusing almost exclusively on others’ needs in these areas at the expense of their own.

More on Social Work


Salary: $32,590 - $48,420
Min. Education: Master's
Related Careers: Psychologist, Rehabilitation Counselor

Social workers who stay in the field for years or even decades, however, tend to take care of themselves as well as they take care of others. You can do the same. Set — and obey — limits on your time and energy.

Learn to Ask for Help, Not Just Offer It

Social workers face a double problem when they’re experiencing burnout: They are negatively affected, of course, but as a result, their clients may be as well.

“Since the ability to perceive situations clearly and objectively is pivotal in social work, impairment may compromise performance and thus jeopardize the rights of clients and treatment effectiveness,” according to the National Association of Social Workers, a major professional organization in the social work field.

Quiz: Are You at Risk for Burnout?

1. Whats more important?

Career success
Family harmony
Falling in love
Being true to myself

If you feel you’re starting to burn out — if you’re chronically exhausted and increasingly cynical and detached from your work (all signs of burnout, according to Maslach and Leiter) — seek professional assistance. In the process, you’ll help yourself and your clients.

To learn more about burnout among social workers and other helping professionals — and what you can do to prevent or deal with it — check out Fried Social Worker, a site with information, self-tests and resources.


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