Social workers play a vital role in the community as they help individuals to deal with unprecedented issues and manage the challenges that occasionally arise due to being exposed to risk factors. However, social workers also experience their fair share of problems because they are at risk of similar factors as their clients and patients. Thus, the following essay discusses how social workers can adopt the model and improve the social work practice. Social work has become increasingly demanding over the past few years. As a result, most service providers sacrifice their time and neglect self-care practices due to increased focus on their obligations. However, researchers point out that social workers can only succeed in their responsibilities if they are healthy and fit. Otherwise, they cannot deliver appropriate care to individuals who need it the most. The mindfulness and sanctuary intervention model is an approach adopted to manage mental issues and behavioral cases. However, social workers can adapt its guidelines to enhance their self-care practices since the model prioritizes reflection, a change in attitudes, and altering behaviors.
The social work practice has changed drastically over the past decades. Most recently, the Coronavirus pandemic altered individuals’ perceptions of the profession and introduced new responsibilities to the profession. However, service providers have significantly felt the impact of these changes since they are tasked with handling diverse issues, critical decision-making, and dealing with unique patient needs. As a result, a majority of workers experience aggravated stress, fatigue, emotional issues, and occasional burnout. To deliver high-quality social services, practitioners should have optimum health. Therefore, they ought to prioritize taking care of their mental, physical, and emotional fitness using evidence-based approaches. The following paragraphs describe the essence of self-care in social work, supporting that the mindfulness and sanctuary intervention model is practical in enhancing self-care among care-givers as it encourages them to prioritize their health.
Social work is a profession that involves caring for other people. As a result, service providers may forget to take care of themselves, especially when they face increased pressure to deliver on their job responsibilities. Most care-givers suggest that they do not have enough time to focus on self-care because their assigned tasks often exceed their working hours (Miller et al., 2018). As a result, most of them are forced to ignore critical aspects of their personal lives, including physical fitness, a good diet, and healthy social relationships. Nevertheless, effective social work practices require a robust workforce that can focus on tasks and deliver as required (Shepherd & Newell, 2020). Working with clients who face crises can become overwhelming for social workers. Hence, it is critical to plan and implement a self-care solution that limits stress and adverse events.
Social workers, like other individuals, have personal problems, psychosocial issues, legal risks and are exposed to disease conditions. Nevertheless, they are required to address other people’s problems and deliver the highest possible quality of care without letting their troubles interfere with their work. Since it is impossible to achieve social work goals without a clear mindset, researchers advocate for adopting a self-care model that comprehensively addresses workers’ well-being and prioritizes their interests (Shepherd & Newell, 2020). The mindfulness and sanctuary intervention model is an evidence-based clinical approach to self-awareness, widely adopted in mental health treatment plans and medical institutions (Pyles, 2020). However, the concepts of the model can help social workers to become aware of their selves and work on enhancing their abilities.
Being mindful refers to always staying aware of sensations or feelings and developing an attitude of acceptance even when faced with adversities. The mindfulness and sanctuary model equip individuals with the skills to familiarize themselves with their inner selves and control how they experience or react to factors in their environment. In turn, the knowledge about their thought processes and way of life positively influences their behaviors and gives them more control over distressing emotions (Griffiths et al., 2019). Nevertheless, mindfulness and sanctuary are not only prescribed when a person is going through a rough time. Instead, the practice should be adopted as a way of living. Consequently, applying its principles can allow social workers to live healthy, stay focused, and adopt better solutions to solving people’s problems.
The most recent research on the implications of mindfulness and sanctuary on social workers suggests several benefits. According to a randomized control trial research conducted on social workers in Ankara, Turkey, mindfulness-based approaches improves self-compassion and psychological flexibility, while reducing depression (Asl & Navid, 2021). Similarly, mindfulness and sanctuary interventions can help social workers reduce anxiety and increase compassion. The premise of this reasoning is that mindfulness and meditation increase individuals’ awareness of their thoughts and feelings, thus influencing their behaviors (Decker et al., 2019). As a result, it can help social workers to boost their social work skills and enhance professional values like managing strong emotions, enhancing thinking capabilities, and adopting good interpersonal skills.
Incorporating the Mindfulness and Sanctuary Intervention Model into Social Work
A reliable solution to incorporating mindfulness-based practice in social work institutions is providing support and access to programs that enhance mindfulness intervention skills. The study by Asl & Navid, (2021) established that a four-week mindfulness intervention program is sufficient to produce notable changes in social work practices. In addition, the researchers suggest that such a program is effective in identifying mental health indicators among workers and creating more targeted solutions to prevent negative outcomes. An educational and training program focused on the mindfulness and sanctuary intervention model can help create awareness among social workers on the benefits of sustaining a healthy lifestyle and guide them through assessing their status and working on their weaknesses (Beer et al., 2020). Thus, setting aside resources to support training programs is critical for collective development.
Managers and other players in social work institutions should also encourage workers to conduct research and learn from industry experts. The internet is a vital information resource and is easily accessible. Therefore, social workers can take advantage of the internet to obtain reliable information from scholarly databases or authoritative websites with guidance on how to apply mindfulness and sanctuary-based interventions to everyday living (Beer et al., 2020). In addition, social workers will learn the most effective mindfulness and sanctuary techniques that align with their routines and lifestyles. Subsequently, social workers will get the chance to join online communities, interact with other individuals in the field, and learn from more experienced people. With time, they will spread this knowledge to others, inform their clients of the best practices, and focus on improving social work service delivery.
Ethical and Practice Challenges that Might Arise During the Interventions
The mindfulness and sanctuary intervention model is widely applied in medical institutions, juvenile justice systems, mental institutions, and community-based social programs to guide individuals toward altering their behaviors for their benefit. According to research literature, the techniques adopted are easy to employ and incorporate into an individual’s treatment routine as they require individual efforts (Miller et al., 2018). Unfortunately, the lack of guidance can limit an individual’s adoption of the appropriate practices for self-care and improving health outcomes. Similarly, workers might develop a negative attitude toward the proposed practices as they require extensive meditation and reflection to identify shortcomings. As a result, the adoption of the model might be limited by resistance to change, which is a common factor in organizational institutions.
Although the mindfulness and sanctuary intervention model is recommended to help social workers identify and address their emotional, physical, and cognitive needs, they may not respond to the interventions or react negatively. Pyles (2020) suggests that individuals experience personal issues on a varying spectrum. Hence, some people might experience negative effects from practicing mindfulness and sanctuary interventions. Hence, social workers and trainers should approach these interventions carefully and occasionally evaluate their effects to ensure that they are aligned with the ultimate goals and objectives. Nevertheless, individuals who adopt the interventions experience high success levels as the practices allow them to reconcile their inner and external conflicts.
How the Model Influences Clients’ Intersectional Identities
Individuals in the community come from diverse cultural backgrounds and exhibit varying attributes. Thus, intersectionality is a concept that takes into account these overlapping identities, the implications of people’s characteristics, and associated experiences to understand the level and nature of prejudice they face. The mindfulness and sanctuary intervention model advises social workers to reflect on their own identities and note how they intersect. Oppression in society is a system created by norms that dictate and encourage the unjust treatment of others because of their differences (Pyles, 2020). However, social workers who acknowledge the existence of different personal identities and how they relate to each other are better positioned to become an ally to marginalized individuals and articulate their experiences. Consequently, social workers will be able to limit implicit bias as they will recognize individuals for who they are and point out the improvements they can make instead of stereotyping. Ultimately, the model can provide solutions to address individuals’ issues comprehensively and offer the required assistance.
Over the past years, social workers have experienced immense pressure due to increased client demands, changing processes, and unprecedented issues like the Coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, they are exposed to hectic working environments that interfere with their mental, emotional, and physical well-being due to neglecting self-care. However, researchers point out that it is impossible to deliver high-quality social care when workers are not at their optimum capacity. Thus, it is critical to adopt solutions like the mindfulness and sanctuary intervention model to help change attitudes towards self-care and improve workers’ behaviors and health-seeking habits. The mindfulness and sanctuary intervention model is an approach that prioritizes self-reflection and meditation to note errors, identify personal weaknesses, and make effective changes toward personal development. Hence, the intervention is recommended to enhance social workers’ attitudes, increase their compassion, and inform them of techniques to provide the highest possible quality of social work services by first addressing their wellness.
Asl, H., & Navid, R. (2021). A randomized controlled trial of a mindfulness-based intervention in social workers working during the COVID-19 crisis. Current Psychology, 9(1-8). Web.
Beer, O. W., Phillips, R., Stepney, L., & Quinn, C. R. (2020). The feasibility of mindfulness training to reduce stress among social workers: A conceptual paper. The British Journal of Social Work, 50(1), 243-263. Web.
Decker, J. T., Brown, J. L. C., Ashley, W., & Lipscomb, A. E. (2019). Mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises: reduced anxiety for clients and self-care for social work interns. Social Work with Groups, 42(4), 308-322. Web.
Griffiths, A., Royse, D., Murphy, A., & Starks, S. (2019). Self-care practice in social work education: A systematic review of interventions. Journal of Social Work Education, 55(1), 102-114. Web.
Miller, J. J., Grise-Owens, E., & Shalash, N. (2018). Investigating the self-care practices of social work faculty: An exploratory study. Social Work Education, 37(8), 1044-1059. Web.
Pyles, L. (2020). Healing justice, transformative justice, and holistic self-care for social workers. Social Work, 65(2), 178-187. Web.
Shepherd, M. A., & Newell, J. M. (2020). Stress and health in social workers: implications for self- care practice. Best Practices in Mental Health, 16(1), 46-65.