Last updated December 2, 2014 
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Self-Care in Social Work

A Guide for Practitioners, Supervisors, and Administrators

It was an easy read, and full of accurate and thought-provoking information.

As a practicing social worker for about 40 years, I have worked with all age groups and a full range of populations. I have always loved the work, but I do remember the emotional exhaustion that accompanied a huge commitment to do good work without effective or appropriate personal boundaries. Social work is not for everyone. Thank goodness for those wise people who can provide guidance along the way.

As a recently retired leader in a nonprofit agency, I especially appreciated the chapters about organizational culture and the question of "fit." Just as each of us is different in terms of our needs and preferences, organizations are just the same. There is a lot to think about in terms of training supervisors and even more that is relevant to strategic planning for the whole organization. This book is a worthwhile read.

Lyn Farr, LCSW

Former COO of EMQ Families First


This well-written and comprehensive volume, filled with vivid real-life experiences, is a guide that all those in the helping professions can use to improve the quality of their lives. The personal strategies for self-care are grounded in the most recent science. The exercises at the end of each chapter can serve as a self-care regimen for anyone whose job or life involves levels of service and stress that can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Self-Care in Social Work is a valuable tool for any reader who faces the classic problem of burnout.

Karen Gerdes

Associate Professor School of Social Work

Arizona State University


Cox and Steiner provide us with a well-articulated, accessible, and welcome resource on a topic that is all too often minimized in our field. Replete with compelling and sometimes disturbing case examples of the impact of cumulative stressors on the daily health and functioning of social workers in all areas of the profession—including, unfortunately, the stress we cause each other—the authors argue persuasively for the ethical responsibility of all of us to pursue and find our own ways to support ourselves and our colleagues in the often “emotionally trying occupation” of social work. This book is a welcome new addition to the growing literature on the impact of stress, burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma on social workers’ lives. It is an important reminder to all of us that if we cannot care for ourselves we cannot truly help those we are committed to serve.

Jennifer Goldenberg, PhD, LCSW

Senior Researcher, Transcending Trauma Project

Coauthor of Transcending Trauma: Survival, Resilience and Clinical Implications in Survivor Families (Routledge Press, 2012)

Part-time Faculty, School of Social Work, University of Maine