Existential Questions And Post-Traumatic Growth

Upon hearing the stories of sometimes horrific atrocities clients or client families have experienced, you as a social worker may find yourself confronting existential questions such as Why? For example, Why do horrible events happen to good people? Why do people abuse their children?

Trying to make sense of such trauma is not easy, and you may seek answers to these existential questions your whole life. And yet, there are opportunities for growth despite trauma for both clients and social workers. This is known as post-traumatic growth, where a renewed sense purpose or a more profound outlook on life is the by-product.

In this Discussion, you work to seek meaning from the trauma your clients experience and the subsequent healing you help your clients achieve in your social work practice.

To prepare:

  • Read about trauma-informed social work, and read this article listed in the Learning Resources: Vis, J.-A., & Boynton, H. M. (2008). Spirituality and transcendent meaning making: possibilities for enhancing posttraumatic growth. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work, 27(1/2): 69–86. http://dx.doi.org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1080/15426430802113814

By Day 3

Post:

  • In 1 sentence, identify an existential question with which you have grappled in relation to a client who has been traumatized.
    • Reflect on your fieldwork, or perhaps identify an existential question that might arise in working with the client in the case study you have selected throughout the course.
  • In 3 to 4 brief sentences, describe where there is potential for growth for the client as a result of the trauma.
  • In 3 to 4 brief sentences, explain where there is potential for growth for you, the social worker, as a result of listening to the client’s stories and bearing witness to their trauma.
  • Describe any challenges you may experience between the meaning you hold based on your personal beliefs and working within the client’s potentially different belief framework.

 

 

Required Readings

Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Chapter 20: Mindfulness and Social Work (pp. 325–337)
Chapter 37: Trauma-Informed Social Work Treatment and Complex Trauma (pp. 553–573)

Garland, E. L. (2013). Mindfulness research in social work: Conceptual and methodological recommendations. Social Work Research, 37(4), 439–448. https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svt038

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Vis, J.-A. & Boynton, H. M. (2008). Spirituality and transcendent meaning making: Possibilities for enhancing posttraumatic growth. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work, 27(1/2): 69–86. http://dx.doi.org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1080/15426430802113814

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

UCLA Health. (n.d.). Free guided meditations. Retrieved December 8, 2017, from http://marc.ucla.edu/mindful-meditations

For Discussion 2, listen to a guided meditation by selecting a link on this website.

Required Media

Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2014). Counseling and psychotherapy theories in context and practice [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.psychotherapy.net.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/stream/waldenu/video?vid=277

This week, watch the “Existential Therapy” segment by clicking the applicable link under the “Chapters” tab.

Note: You will access this video from the Walden Library databases.

Optional Resources

Knight, C. (2015). Trauma-informed social work practice: Practice considerations and challenges. Clinical Social Work Journal, 43(1), 25–37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615-014-0481-6

Lynn, R., & Mensinga, J. (2015). Social workers’ narratives of integrating mindfulness into practice. Journal of Social Work Practice, 29(3), 255–270. https://doi.org/10.1080/02650533.2015.1035237

 
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