Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social workers experience vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue regularly. Well documented in the literature, self-care has the ability to assuage these negative consequences, as well as, positively impact retention rates, decrease burnout and increase the quality of services provided to clients. Despite a burgeoning of research on self-care and burnout over the last few decades, continued empirical research is necessary. This capstone project sought to add to the knowledge base on self-care and provide pragmatic recommendations for future research and social work practice.

This capstone project was comprised of three scholarly products and focused on fostering cultural humility in social work leaders to expand the self-care practices of social workers. The first product, comprised of a systematic literature review, explored how race and ethnicity influence the self-care practices of social workers. An initial search yielded more than 97,000 articles. After inclusion criteria were applied, only six articles remained. Key findings included, racism, racialized trauma and discrimination negatively impact the health and wellbeing of social workers and their self-care practices.

The second product proposed expanding the conceptualization of self-care and a previously developed self-care framework for administrators and supervisors, to include cultural competence and cultural humility. Currently more than 871 million social workers practice in the United States. Of this, 40 percent are Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and yet the current conceptualization of self-care remains from the dominant perspective. Additionally, a previously adopted self-care framework excludes the addition of cultural competence and cultural humility.

The third product focused on developing a culturally responsive self-care consultancy guide for current and future social work leaders. As leaders within the field of social work, it is critical to incorporate diverse voices when building programs and acknowledge cultural differences that exist in employees. This consultancy guide will walk social work leaders through developing culturally responsive self-care programs and change organizational culture.

Available for download on Thursday, May 02, 2024