Innovating Vocational Resilience: Getting a Second Start at Work through the Ignatian Examen

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Stephen Edward McMillin


Examen, Ignatian, Jesuit, Prayer, Resilience, Vocation, Optimism, Optimistic Bias, Positive Outlook


The Ignatian Examen is a tool that can build vocational resilience for social workers. It has  five components: 1) praying for light or becoming aware of the presence of God, 2) gratefully reviewing the events of the day, 3) reviewing the feelings and emotions that surface when events are brought to mind, 4) choosing one of those feelings, either positive or negative, and praying from it, and 5) looking toward the future. Although it is often used as a bedtime prayer, St. Ignatius of Loyola designed the Examen to occur twice, at noon and after supper, with an additional remembrance of the evening Examen upon rising. The noon Examen may actually be the most important practice to build vocational resilience for social workers because the noon Examen allows for calming the workday and for making course corrections and attitude adjustments as needed. 

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