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Tue 17 Sep

Mindfulness-based Social Work and Self-Care Programme

6 - 7.30pm



The course has been funded by the HSCP Office, HSE. As such, places are available to social workers in the publicly funded healthcare service only.

Mindfulness-based Social Work and Self-Care programme

The Mindfulness-based for Social Work and Self-Care (MBSWSC) group programme is a unique mindfulness-based programme which focusses on improving social work practice and self-care. MBSWSC is a theory and evidence-informed programme which has a developed strong evidence base for its effectiveness at reducing stress, emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation of service users, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improving well-being and a range of social work practice skills and competencies. 

MBSWSC will be delivered over a six week period from Tuesday 17th September. Single weekly sessions will be 1.5 hours in duration from 6 - 7.30pm each week. Weekly sessions will be facilitated online on MSTeams by Dr. Alan Maddock. Dr. Maddock is professionally qualified social worker who specialised in mental health social work, and is currently a Lecturer in Psychology. Dr. Maddock developed the MBSWSC programme, is a trained mindfulness facilitator, and has over 10 years mindfulness meditation experience.

Course Dates

17th September 6 -7.30pm

24th September 6 -7.30pm

1st October 6 -7.30pm

8th October   6 -7.30pm

15th October   6 -7.30pm

22nd October   6 -7.30pm



Programme structure

Each session will adhere to a standardised protocol and will cover particular social work practice exercises and topics which were examined within the context of mindfulness.

The course structure will consist of:

Week 1: Introduction to mindfulness: theory and practice.

Week 2: Mindfulness for social work practice: Stress, the thinking process, avoidant coping, and decentering.

Week 3: Approach coping: Attachment, aversion, negative thinking, and approach coping.

Week 4: Self-Compassion and Acceptance – the thinking process, approach coping, and staying present with social work service users.

Week 5: Mindfulness: supporting critical thinking, reflexivity and anti-oppressive social work practice (AOP).

Week 6: Embedding mindfulness in our everyday lives and social work practice.


Each session will introduce different mindfulness-based practices (e.g. mindful body scanning, mindful yoga) and psychoeducation on the potential role that mindfulness could play in both social work practice and self-care. Participants will be provided with psychoeducation on practical ways in which to apply the experiential learning attained from these practices when confronted with stressful personal and/or social work practice situations. The development of mindfulness is predicated upon regular and repeated practice, thus participants will be requested to engage in daily mindfulness-based homework exercises for 20 minutes per day, for 6 out of the 7 days, between sessions.  Each session will include social work practice role plays and discussion. This will allow participants to have an opportunity to apply their evolving experiential learning to a social work case context.


Previous Evaluation

The MBSWSC programme has been extensively evaluated. Two different randomised controlled trials with 121 social workers in Northern Ireland (Maddock et al., 2023; 20224) found that MBSWSC reduced stress, emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation of service users, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improved well-being versus an active control group. A focus group study with 13 social workers who completed the MBSWSC programme found that MBSWSC participation social work assessments, service user engagement and team working, values oriented social work practice, and the development of key social work skills (including verbal communication, non-verbal communication, and reflection skills) (Maddock et al., 2024).



This programme was awarded a Queen’s University Belfast Digital Teaching Award in June 2021.


References (papers available via open access at the accompanying link)

Maddock, A., McGuigan, K., & McCusker, P. (2023). A randomised trial of Mindfulness-based Social Work and Self-Care with social workers. Current Psychology, 1-14.

Maddock, A., McGuigan, K., & McCusker, P. (2024). Mindfulness-based social work and self-care with social work professionals: Replication and expansion of a randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Social Work, 1-21.

Maddock, A., McGuigan, K., & McCusker, P. (2024). Exploring Social Work professionals’ Experiences of the Mindfulness-Based Social Work and Self-Care Programme: A Focus Group Study. Social Work in Public Health, 1-16.