The heart of the social work profession calls for treating clients with respect and not viewing their problems as pathological. Consistent with this value, trauma-informed social work as a model encourages social workers to explore with clients how behaviors and/or problems that surface may be a result of traumatic events (Kawam & Martinez, 2016). It focuses not simply on symptom management but on skill building (Wilson & Nochajski, 2016). This model can be incorporated into both micro, mezzo, and macro work. For example, on an organizational level, trauma-informed care looks to see how the service delivery system can offer an environment that is safe for clients, social workers, and staff.
Based on Buddhist principles, mindfulness interventions focus on helping clients to increase their attunement and acceptance of the self (Cacciatore, Thieleman, Osborn, & Orlowski, 2014). Because social workers often try to help clients reduce distress and increase well-being, mindfulness has found its way into social work. It can also be used for social workers to increase their own well-being as part of their self-care regimen.
This week, you apply two more models: trauma-informed social work and mindfulness.
Apply trauma-informed principles to social work practice
Apply existential questions to identify growth opportunities with clients who have experienced trauma
Compare personal and client beliefs and values in relation to trauma
Apply mindfulness principles to social work practice
Evaluate empirical research studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions
Evaluate the strength and limitations of mindfulness principles to social work practice Discussion 1: Existential Questions and Post-Traumatic Growth
Upon hearing the stories of sometimes horrific atrocities clients or client families have experienced, you as a social worker may find yourself confronting existential why questions. For example: Why do horrible events happen to good people? Why do people abuse their children?
Trying to make sense of such trauma is not easy, and you may seek answers to these existential questions your whole life. And yet, there are opportunities for growth despite trauma for both clients and social workers. This is known as post-traumatic growth, where a renewed sense purpose or a more profound outlook on life is the by-product.