Title

The Experiences of Social Workers with Organizational Support for Professional Burnout and Vicarious Trauma

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2015

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Catherine L. Marrs Fuchsel

Abstract

Social workers and therapists have been experiencing professional burnout and vicarious trauma for quite some time. However, the preventative measures, interventions, and responses of organizations to slow down or limit the symptoms of professional burnout and vicarious trauma seem deficient. The purpose of this research study was to explore the experiences of social workers with organizational support related to professional burnout and vicarious trauma. This qualitative study gained insight into the personal experiences of social workers. Eight social workers were interviewed, two of the participants were licensed independent clinical social workers (LICSW), one was a licensed independent social worker (LISW), and five were licensed graduate social workers (LGSW). The participants have experience working in domestic abuse agencies, residential treatment, hospitals, schools, outpatient mental health, child protection, prisons, community centers and homeless youth programs. The major findings from this study were the importance of teamwork, co-workers, and supervisors in lessening social worker's experiences with professional burnout and vicarious trauma. It was important for social worker's to be a part of an organization that was aware of professional burnout and vicarious trauma and offered trainings on the topic. It was also important for the participants to be a part of organizations that were structured in a way that promoted social workers having a voice. Implications for future research include the examination of the organizational responses and the impacts on professional burnout and vicarious trauma in order to differentiate where there are more positive effects.

Keywords

professional burnout, vicarious trauma, organization, support

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.