The Resiliency-Focused Supervision Model

Addressing Stress, Burnout, and Self-Care Among Social Workers


  • Brenda M. Mack Bemidji State University



Stress, burnout, supervision, self-care, resiliency


Social workers often deal with complex, challenging, and emotionally exhausting situations that can negatively impact their mental and physical health. When a helping professional is in distress, client care may be compromised. Therefore, the necessity of wellness practices to reduce stress and mitigate burnout is gaining recognition in the social work profession. The National Association of Social Workers (2013) asserts that supervisors are responsible for recognizing and responding to supervisees’ work-related angst. However, there is little research published that addresses pre-burnout symptoms and self-care practices in the supervisory process. The Resiliency-Focused Supervision Model (RFSM), a culturally-responsive, strengths-based framework, was developed to assist supervisors in helping supervisees to manage stress, avoid burnout, and be successful in the workplace. The RSFM’s interrelated domain areas include: 1) structural/environmental, 2) relational, 3) work self-care, and 4) life self-care. The RFSM is a practical, pragmatic option for supervisors to use in partnership with social workers to promote good health, well-being, and resiliency.


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