Resilience and Personal Effectiveness for Social Workers
Publication Year: 2016
Social work in the 21st century is facing great change and upheaval in a period of Government austerity measures. From worsening pay rates to limited resources, these are increasingly challenging times in which social workers practice. It is therefore important that social work students are prepared for the realities of working within the modern social care system - that they have the tools and skills to care for themselves, and not just others. This book is a straightforward guide on how to cope with the stress and pressures of today’s social work environment by developing the right skills and knowledge. It will help students learn from a very early stage how to be at their best; from developing strategies to look after themselves and making ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Stress and the Social Work Role
- Chapter 2: The Psychology of Resilience
- Chapter 3: Valuing Our Own Health and Wellbeing and Improving Work/Life Balance
- Chapter 4: Time Management
- Chapter 5: Making Effective Use of New Technology and New Work Styles to Enhance Practice
- Chapter 6: Facing up to Conflict, Discrimination and Bullying in the Workplace
- Chapter 7: Making the Most of Supervision and Other Sources of Support
- Chapter 8: Leading and Following for Effective and Efficient Practice
- Chapter 9: Choosing Mindful Practice and Building a Resilient Career
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© Jim Greer 2016
First published 2016
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015960260
British Library Cataloguing in Publication data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978-1-4739-1917-4 (pbk)
Editor: Kate Wharton
Editorial assistant: Lucy Dang
Production editor: Katie Forsythe
Copyeditor: Clare Weaver
Proofreader: William Baginsky
Indexer: Silvia Benvenuto
Marketing manager: Camille Richmond
Cover design: Lisa Harper-Wells
Typeset by: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd, Chennai, India
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY
To my wife Liz: Who has accompanied me on my whole social work journey and had a key role in starting it. Thank you![Page vi]
About the Author
During the period in which this was being written there has been an increasing focus on the importance of resilience in social work and other professions in health and social care, including workshops at conferences and online seminars. This is partly as a result of the high staff turnover rates in these professions and partly as a result of the growing awareness of the additional stresses which cuts have placed on public services and those who work in them.
The ambition of this book is to provide guidance to social workers not only in dealing with the impact of stressors in the workplace but also in managing the sources of stress. The book has a highly practical focus and, to get the most from it, readers should set aside time to do the reflective exercises contained in each chapter. No amount of reading or resolve is going to help change how we cope with work unless it is backed up by action. Unproductive and unhelpful work habits are hard to break and new approaches can only become established behaviours with conscious repetition and perseverance. I would recommend keeping a journal to record progress which you make in achieving change in your relationship with work and your ability to cope with it.
The book is structured in a way which will enable workers to evaluate their own relationship with work before looking at how they can develop practical strategies to make their work more productive and less stressful.
The first three chapters of the book are all about the direct physical and psychological impact of stressors. The first chapter begins with a guide to identifying the signs of stress and burnout and the consequences for one’s health and wellbeing. The second chapter moves on to define resilience and why it is important for social workers and the third chapter considers how social workers can achieve a satisfactory work/life balance. The emphasis in all three chapters is on the reader exploring for themselves what constitutes resilience and an ideal work/life balance. Wellbeing has different meanings for different people and work has a different role and a different degree of importance in each person’s life. For these reasons each reader has top find their own answers about how they achieve balance and harmony in their lives. The interactive approach of the chapters is designed to help each reader to explore these issues and come up with answers and strategies which meet their objectives and are achievable for them.
Chapters 4 and 5 move the focus away from wellbeing and towards personal effectiveness. Readers will be helped to make better use of time and make maximum use of the capabilities of new technology. Effective use of time can reduce the likelihood of having to take work home and free up time for meaningful interaction with service users and other elements of the job which social workers find satisfying.
[Page x] Chapters 6, 7 and 8 explore the interpersonal aspects of effective and fulfilling social work practice. Chapter 6 highlights the fact that managers and co-workers can sometimes be sources of stress. Social workers normally enter the profession with a positive view about the integrity and values of their colleagues. However, bullying, discrimination and conflict occur in social work just as they do in other professions and this chapter considers how workers can deal with interpersonal problems in the workplace. Chapter 7 considers how good quality reflective supervision is essential to social work and looks at the roles of social workers and their supervisors in maximising the benefits of supervision. Chapter 8 explores the relationship between managers and their staff and how to be a good leader and a good follower. The chapter also looks at the role of effective management and good leadership in creating a healthy and productive workplace where staff feel valued and supported.
The final chapter sets out how social workers can manage their career over the long term to ensure that it meets their goals while achieving positive outcomes for the people they work with.
The book is informed by psychological ideas ancient and modern. There is a growing rediscovery and appreciation of the Buddhist mindfulness by modern psychologists and therapists. There is also a reappraisal of ancient philosophical traditions such as stoicism by modern management writers. Parallel to this, concepts such as lean management, which comes from the automotive industry are being successfully applied to human services. This book applies ideas from a range of traditions in therapy, psychology, philosophy and management in a way which is compatible with the values of social work and the realities of modern social work practice.
I hope you find this book readable, informative and helpful and value your feedback.
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