Sustainable compassion training for social workers and others in social service.
We acknowledge the reality of the toll that social justice work can have on people and organizations, including physical and emotional stress and exhaustion, poor physical health, and low work morale, ethical lapses and organizational dysfunction. To do this work often means to encounter violence, poverty, and all the ills that comprise human suffering. Without managing the tendency to only give care and not receive it, and without recommitting oneself to receiving and extending care to self, well intentioned social workers find themselves exhausted, with meaning and the original intention of their work more or less lost. They may instead become fueled by anger, scarcity, and sense of mere survival and shortsited giving, often having less capacity to give and connect with others. Under such extreme conditions, cognitive psychology confirms that the human brain is not able to access creativity, reason, and sustained compassion.
While the field of Social Work and Social Justice has named and studied burnout and self-care for about 40 years, dominant culture paradigms have yet to provide practical and effective tools for how helping professionals are to sustain themselves in this work, thereby perpetuating the belief that burnout is an inherent part of doing the job – a defacto occupational hazard.
We believe, however, that there is another way to practicing the art of compassion.
We believe that all beings are endowed with tremendous and tireless capacity for care, compassion, and good; and that with wisdom, these gifts can be shared with others in sustainable and sustaining, rather than debilitating and draining, ways. SCT for Social-Service Providers program provides concrete practices and skills, including meditation and peer support, to both heal and evoke this deep potential in all, achieving sustainability and balance in social justice work. In a society where so many have stepped up to be the voice for the voiceless, it is time to acknowledge and honor that social activists and social service providers too need our support and a voice, reigniting their capacity for generosity, empathy, compassion and creating opportunity for their longevity and social connectedness.
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