The Culture of Compassion in Social Service and Academic Settings:My Personal Experience

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Joshua Englefield


culture of compassion, self-care, productivity, agency culture, burnout


This article uses the Scholarly Personal Narrative method to explore the author’s own experience of compassion in social service agencies and academic settings. The idea of building a culture of compassion was born from this author’s experience of “agency culture,” the culture of different academic settings and the promotion of self-care and productivity. Lessons learned from this inquiry showed that self-care, as a concept in human services institutions, is an individualistic approach that does not solve the systemic/cultural problems in an agency. Further revealed is the fact that productivity is a utilitarian approach applied to human issues that dehumanizes the interaction between social workers, their colleagues, and clients. The author thus contends that creating a culture of compassion is an essential element that agencies and academic settings need to include if they wish to decrease social worker burnout and the negative impact of vicarious trauma and increase longevity.





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