I’m SaraKay Smullens, And This Is My Dharma…

I’m SaraKay Smullens, And This Is My Dharma


SaraKay Smullens (www.sarakaysmullens.com) MSW, LCSW, CGP, CFLE is an award-winning, best-selling author and psychotherapist whose private and pro bono practice is in Philadelphia. SaraKay coined the phrase “emotional sense of direction” to explain what she believes is necessary in order to have a rewarding, fulfilling life in love, friendship and work. We are interviewing her today about her new book, her third, “Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work: A Guidebook for Students and those in Mental Health and Related Professions.”

SaraKay, why did you write this book?

I have been so upset that social workers and other mental health professionals, who are committed and well trained to work with our most vulnerable families, are leaving a field they care about deeply, due to burnout.

Your book has gone into a second printing, and is being bought by those not in mental health professions. Why has this happened?

I am very moved that this is happening. My six years of research into burnout have shown me that burnout is now in the wings for us all. The reasons for burnout are the same ones for homemakers, volunteers, and those in every single professions. Also, unlike depression, which is complicated to treat, burnout can be cured and prevented by self-care strategies that are chosen by each individual. It is important to know that the strategies that may work for one will not work for all. Therefore, it is important to pick those strategies that work for you. People are excited to learn about this because understanding what is going wrong and what to do about it reduces stress and restores energy.

What goals do you hope to meet in this latest book?

I want people to recognize the early signs of burnout — feelings of overload; not caring for oneself; withdrawing from friends, loved ones, and activities that used to bring joy and pleasure; a loss of patience; taking no pride in accomplishments — and address them. Burnout can occur in ones personal, professional, social and physical worlds, and evidence-based safe care strategies remove burnout in each of these worlds.

Actually, each of my three books has had concrete goals that I hoped could lead to greater self-awareness and self-confidence: In my first book, “Whoever Said Life Is Fair?: A Guide to Growing Through Life’s Injustices,” I shared why some survive injustice, unfairness, connivance, betrayal and loss while others fall through the cracks of life. In my second book, “Setting YourSelf Free: Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Abuse in Family, Friendship, Work, and Love,” I addressed breaking the malignant hold of the main invisible patterns of emotional abuse: rage, enmeshment, complete neglect, abandonment/rejection, and overprotection/overindulgence, and the necessary of developing one’s own reliable “emotional sense of direction” to offer guidance in love, friendship and work.

What specifically are you offering in your third book on burnout and self-care to help readers understand themselves better and know what they can do?

At the end of most chapters carefully chosen question are asked. Responding to these questions can help one see where any of their problems and potential problems are. In the first part of the book the reasons for burnout are clearly described. The questions can help readers see what descriptions apply to them personally. Case studies shared also help to shed this light of understanding. In the second part of the book self-care options are discussed. Once there is understanding of what is going or has gone wrong, one can find his or her own restorative ways to feel better and stay this way.

SaraKay, what are your Personal and Professional Goals? What do you hope to offer to the world?

My deepest personal goals have always involved providing a caring and safe home for those I love. My professional goals are:

  1. To offer insight, hope, and an understanding of the unique qualities of each individual and help each individual address the inevitable challenges of life that come to each of us.
  2. To underscore how essential it is to have an Emotional Sense of Direction as we navigate the slippery slopes of life

What inspires you, SaraKay?

People who do not give up, despite the obstacles they face. Whenever the “hurricane” comes — whatever its form — they go to work and rebuild.

What is your favorite passage in a play or book or your favorite quotation?

“You wanted Justice and there was none — Only love.” Archibald MacLeish, JB

Website URL: www.sarakaysmullens.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarakay.smullens
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarakay1710


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