Social workers are often asked to do a lot with little resources, leaving people in this career vulnerable. There is a high risk of burnout in the field of social work as we work with challenging and complex individuals and systems. It is important for social workers, and other clinicians, to practice self-care and use skillful behaviors in order to continue to be able to help those we treat in effective ways. One way to do this is through skills – the same ones we teach others – to decrease our vulnerability to burning out. In fact, in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), it is believed that not only patients, but also therapists, should continuously practice skillful behaviors, since therapists can get out of balance and need support.  

DBT teaches four skills modules: Mindfulness Skills, Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills, Emotion Regulation Skills, and Distress Tolerance Skills (DBT Skills Training Manual 2nd Edition, Linehan). One section of the emotion regulation skills module is aimed at decreasing vulnerability to emotions and burnout. In DBT, emotion regulation skills are taught and grouped into 4 segments: understanding and naming emotions, changing unwanted emotions,...

My Sheppard Pratt journey began as a University of Maryland, Baltimore social work intern in 2012 on the Adult Co-Occurring Disorders Unit. The internship opportunity at Sheppard Pratt was highly recommended to me by a social worker at my previous internship, who told me, “Go to Sheppard Pratt! They’ll hire you when you’re done!”

Well, turns out that she was right; I was hired as a social worker on the Ellicott City co-occurring unit just a few months after graduation (many thanks to the connections I made during my internship!). The co-occurring population has always been my favorite so that remained unchanged, but in conjunction with my clinical duties, I also found myself putting out a lot of fires. Of course, social work by nature is all about advocacy and support, so a fire here and there was expected. However, as I listened to my patients, I realized that I wanted to find a way to help them address their concerns.

Behold, a patient advocate position opened up. I was a little hesitant about leaving clinical work so early in my social work career, but I made the transition to the Quality & Evaluation Services (QES) department in Towson (complete with new daily trips on 695,...

IMG_4706.jpgI first entered the doors of Sheppard Pratt this past fall as a graduate student and eager social worker-in-training. Although nervous and apprehensive, I made a commitment to put my best foot forward every day and remain open to new learning experiences and challenges. The internship experience in itself is unique: it provides learning opportunities through the guidance of the supervisor and at the same time pushes the student to become autonomous in the social work role. My supervisor, Cindy Frank, has not only been a guide and a source of comfort for me, but she has helped me show myself what I am capable of. I am well into the second semester of my internship, and find myself working with families and patients with newfound confidence in my skills. The learning curve has been steep, but learning how to navigate uncharted waters has been an invaluable experience. 

One of my biggest challenges as an intern at Sheppard Pratt regards my preoccupation with doing everything “the right way.” I had a strong desire not only to prove myself, but to draw upon and employ everything learned in the classroom. I feverishly took notes during supervision and prepared countless talking points...

coffee_social_work.jpegI drink coffee. A lot of it. I’ve considered intravenous coffee.

I admit it:

Sometimes I need some extra motivation throughout the course of my day.

Do you know what I mean? Are ya feelin’ me??

But here’s the BIG ONE: 

When I need a distraction from work and life, I enjoy watching YouTube videos. Yeah, I said it. You. Tube. It’s in my Wellness Toolbox.

I have watched everything from makeup tutorials, to dog training videos, to making the best chili. Mind-numbing. 

But then...I came across TED talks. Whoa. What in the sweet world? These videos are funny, entertaining, AND educational and inspirational.

youtube.jpg15 minutes a day. I challenge you to go to YouTube, search ‘TED talks,’ and pick from a variety of topics. Healthy eating, addiction, time management, parenting. The list goes on. The possibilities are endless. Watch one while you’re eating your bean sprout salad at lunch. 

But, my all-time favorites are the TED talks specific to Social Work. They speak to my heart. They resonate in that place in my mind that wants to “fix” all that is wrong in this world. They lift me back up from the depths of despair that all Social Workers fall into at some point.

I grab...

Sleep_Blog_Feb_2018.jpegAs children, the words “bedtime” and “nap” were dirty words that we wanted to avoid for as long as possible. Staying awake all night was rebellious, or proof that we were growing up. Now, as adults, we long for a good night’s sleep, and treasure any time we can sneak in a quick nap.

Sleep is crucial for both your physical health and your mental health. When you sleep, your body and mind rest and reenergize. When your body is resting, it has time to process nutrients. While you sleep, your body grows and thrives. Your mind also needs time to be quiet, to relax, and de-stress. During sleep, your brain also grows by storing memories and sending important messages to your body. 

But sleep isn’t always easy to come by – for many of us, it can be difficult to fall, or stay, asleep. Our lives are busy and stressful, and turning off is difficult. Though the world is quiet, your mind may be loud with many thoughts running through it. When sleep does not come naturally for you, it can be aggravating, and that can lead to even more trouble falling asleep.   

Since you need sleep to balance your mind and body and be your best for the next day, try these tips to restore and...

Please visit our social media policy page for more information.


Newsletter Signups