Date of Award
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Social work’s heritage involves valuing relationship-based work, while attending to social justice issues. The emotional intensity inherent in social work practice, combined with the stress that is currently characteristic in managerial practice environments, can diminish capacity for relationship-based work, and relegate social justice issues to the periphery. Mindfulness practice has recently has been the subject of investigation for potential benefits that might accrue to helping professionals.
Through an interpretive social science and social constructive lens, a small qualitative study was undertaken to explore the experiences of social workers who have a personal practice of mindfulness, with a view to understanding what mindfulness offers to social workers. The seven participants had extensive social work experience, as well as their own well-developed practice of mindfulness.
Informed by grounded theory, findings suggest that mindfulness complements the traditional roots of social work. The phrase, ‘bringing yourself home’, is utilized as a central metaphor for an explanatory model for what mindfulness offers to social workers. Mindfulness is a practice that can ‘bring social workers home’ in two significant ways. Firstly, mindfulness can assist social workers in the personal realm by nourishing their connection to their inner self so that they can be authentic and empathetic in doing solid relationship-based social work practice. Secondly, mindfulness can help bring social workers ‘home’ to the roots of social work practice, by keeping them attuned to their professional values in terms of social justice issues.
Doxtdator, Mary Lou, "Mindfulness: Helping Social Workers 'Bring Themselves Home'" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7351.
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