Indrė Dirgėlienė


Social worker‘s professional activity has been analyzed from different viewpoints: the complexity of professional activity in the socio-cultural context of Lithuania is reflected by a complex character of client‘s problems, multiple dimensions of the empowerment process, the novelty and the status of the profession in the community, public culture, etc. Social work is included in the list of risk professions, therefore, new and innovative ways of professional support are sought with the aim of professional risk prevention. One of them is supervision, or a professional relations counseling service. The service was first provided in the field of social work, which reflects the world tradition. The article aims to disclose the risk of professional stress in the social work process by actualizing the prospect of the use of supervision. The article presents an analysis of the data of the representative qualitative research. The research findings revealed that the process of social work was complex and full of surprises and tensions, therefore, the line between good self-regulation skills and a burn-out syndrome was unpredictable. The stages of planning, testing, and the review of the outcomes were identified as the most difficult, because they required reflection skills. Continuous improvement of self-regulation skills was necessary, which was the function of supervision as a form of professional competence improvement. Supervision cannot substitute for the support provided by one‘s colleagues, administration, the closest environment, or a priest, however, it can help to restore harmony, to reflect on one‘s professional experience, to name and to re-consider the stages of the process, to express the feelings experienced in the past and being experienced in the present, and to name the tensions arising between the professional and personal identities in the situation of intervention.

Keyword(s): professional stress; process of social work; supervision
DOI: 10.5200/sm-hs.2013.005
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