Conversations with Mary Tinucci, LICSW

Helping Social Workers Avoid Burnout

I have been interviewed about my work several times by Valeria, author and host of the podcast entitled, Fit for Joy, a Quest for Well-Being. You can listen to the full hour-long interview about how I encourage social work students and new social workers to practice self-care and do their healing work here on: episode #190 of “The Quest for Well-Being” podcast

A Brief Animated Audio Clip: Self-Care for Social Workers

Enjoy this brief portion of the audio in a video animation where I describe various practices for well-being, including mindfulness, meditation, and journaling. The transcript of this animated is included at the end of this blog post.

Transcript of the Conversation:

Valeria: Speaking of social groups and their needs – that’s what you do, right, you integrate healing strategies that can help them, yeah?  How do you do it?  What groups need the most of this kind of healing work?

Mary:  Oh wow! Each one of us marginalized populations, you know, right?  We all have our own dilemmas.  And that’s one of the gifts I feel like I have been able to offer my professional arena, my professional world. My own internal personal process of coming out in my young adulthood and kind of navigating a world in which lesbian and gay people are marginalized it’s had a particular importance and meaning to me, especially early in my career.  I worked on behalf of lesbian and gay young people in the school system.

In this moment in time, my interest is really supporting young professionals in social work and really operating out of this belief that, until we do our own work as practitioners in mental health, we cannot possibly walk with another and or or to do so at all effectively.  

And so I really challenge those who I teach – as I said I’m a social work professor – and those who I provide clinical supervision for – that I really challenge them and also provide them opportunities to try out these healing methods for themselves and to think about how will they bring that forward into their work and whatever context in which they work. 

And that feels very powerful to me –  that I’m shaping and I have an opportunity to shape emerging professionals to step into the profession having done their {healing}work and with an understanding that that work never ends, of course, but as social workers it is our responsibility.  

I tell my students, “You’re not going to school to be an accountant, you are going to school to be a person in the helping profession, a person in mental health, a person in human services and that calls on something different from you.”  And then I give them chances to practice these things {healing practices} that have mattered to me.

Valeria: Right…That sounds really good because I have been hearing a lot –  this term called “burn out.” But the effect, especially for social workers – so that is great that you’re doing that because you’re creating this awareness for healing because that’s true… you can’t really heal others if your’re not healed yourself or not doing the healing work.