Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Dr. Marcia Martin

Second Advisor

Dr. Lina Hartocolis



In 2019, The World Health Organization identified burnout as an occupational hazard and indeed this occupational phenomenon is especially amplified for many of those in the helping professions. The purpose of this two-paper dissertation is not only to understand the stressors and emotional exhaustion experienced by graduate social work students that often lead to burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma during their time in MSW programs, but also to develop a strategy to mitigate the occurrence of these circumstances during and following their educational experiences. Paper one explores perspectives on and causes of student burnout through an extensive literature review, an analysis of the structure of graduate social work education programs, and interviews with administrators at an MSW program in New York City. Paper two presents a practice manual that offers 14 flow and mindfulness strategies that can be adapted into different settings and formats in both online or residential MSW programs. Flow and mindfulness strategies are identified as tools to develop MSW students’ reflective awareness and innovative critical thinking skills in order to enhance their responses to the plethora of social injustices and traumas faced by many of the clients and organizations with which they work. This dissertation emphasizes the transformative nature of flow and mindfulness strategies while exploring critiques of their practice applications and ultimately highlighting the opportunity for applying these strategies in support of MSW students while enrolled in and following graduation from MSW programs in order to experience longevity in their careers.

Included in

Social Work Commons