A new book to help social workers

A book to help social workers deal with stress has been published by world-leading experts at the University of Bedfordshire.

Research shows that the average social worker stays in the job for just eight years, with many leaving because they are unable to cope with the high level of stress they experience.

The book, Developing Resilience for Social Work Practice, provides them with strategies to help protect their well-being and continue their vital work.

The paperback, out this month, combines the research expertise of Professor of Occupational Health Psychology Gail Kinman, and Dr Louise Grant, a Principal Lecturer in Social Work at the University.

It will provide social workers with a step-by-step guide on how to develop a boundary between their work and home life, gain supervision from managers to discuss issues of concern and safeguard their well-being, improve their personal organisation and time management skills and change the way they react to stressful situations.

Professor Kinman said: “Social work is one of the most stressful professions and the drop-out rate is high. One of the most common reasons for this is burn - out.

“The term ‘resilience’ refers to a person’s capacity to handle difficulties, demands and pressure without experiencing negative effects.

“In the past, social workers have tended to focus on the nature and impact of resilience in children and adults who have experienced traumatic events.

“Employers clearly have an important role to play in safeguarding the well-being of their employees, but it is increasingly recognised that social workers need to develop their own resilience to manage the emotional demands of the job effectively and sustainably.”

Dr Grant said: “This book is about helping social workers appreciate what resilience is, and how to develop and enhance it to protect their well-being,” She also stated that

“It was carefully designed to provide pro-active guidelines to help social workers keep focus on what really matters.

“We are extremely keen to emphasise that this is not just an academic text book - it focuses on real-life experiences, and uses examples from specialists in the field.

“While it is has been written for social workers, using social work examples, the book could also be helpful for people working in the healthcare professions.”

Both have been conducting research in the area for several years.

There are also contributions from other experts at the University and social work practitioners, including academics in social work, Kelly Alexander, Richard Fountain and Kathryn Jones and in psychology, Sarah Baker and Isabella McMurray.