Social Work


Spring 5-2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Type of Paper/Work

Banded Dissertation


Robin R. Whitebird


This banded dissertation focuses on reducing stress and burnout among social workers and the critical role that supervisors play in building their resiliency. While the National Association of Social Workers recognizes the importance of supervisors addressing job-stress and self-care with supervisees, there is limited research and frameworks to help guide them. This dissertation highlights a newly created model and strategies for supervisors use to enhance supervisees’ overall health and well-being.

The first product of this dissertation is a conceptual paper describing the Resiliency Focused Supervision Model (RFSM). The model includes the structural/environmental, relational, and work/life self-care domain areas. The RFSM is meant to be used by supervisors in the supervisory process to help supervisees deal with job-related pressures.

The second product of this dissertation is an exploratory, qualitative study conducted with twenty-four supervisors of social workers on how they address stress, burnout, and resiliency with supervisees. This author identified five themes and ten sub-themes through the data analysis process and offered recommendations based on findings for higher education, national organizations, and community-based agencies to consider.

The third product of this dissertation highlights a peer-reviewed presentation titled Addressing Stress, Burnout, and Self-Care in Supervision: A Resiliency-Building Model. The oral presentation was given at the Minnesota Association of Children’s Mental Health Conference in Duluth, MN on April 29, 2019. This author offered suggestions and strategies for supervisors to use in the supervisory process with supervisees to address their health and wellness.

This dissertation focuses on helping supervisors address stress, burnout, self-care, and resiliency among supervisees in a variety of agency and organizational settings. The author invites the Council on Social Work Education and social work programs to consider requiring these topics be embedded into the accredited social work curriculum to better prepare students for their internships and first jobs in the profession. In doing so, the goal of building a resilient, energized, compassionate workforce may be more easily achieved.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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