The spring social work conference hosted by Concordia’s Office of Continuing Studies is titled “Self-Care: The Overlooked Competency.” As Dr. Laurie Dahley, the field program coordinator for social work, so aptly phrased it, “Self-care is a huge issue in social work right now.”
Dahley said that nearly half a million social workers in the United States, 80 percent, reported moderate to high levels of stress. This “overlooked competency” of ensuring emotional and physical well-being in helping professions is what inspired Dahley to choose self-care as this spring’s conference topic.
“In service professions, you are rewarded by knowing you are doing meaningful work and making a difference in people’s lives,” Dahley said. “To be able to keep doing that, we need to learn how to take care of ourselves.”
The conference will take place over two days, and participants can earn anywhere from 6.0 to 10.0 CEUs. Dr. Jon Ulven, a licensed clinical psychologist and department chair of adult psychology in the Fargo-Moorhead area for Sanford Health, will deliver the keynote address, “Compassion Fatigue and Burnout.” Ulven will discuss self-care as the remedy to burnout in helping professions.
Also included in the spring conference will be a roundtable breakfast and several breakout sessions. Dahley said that she is especially looking forward to a session hosted by a dietitian discussing the importance of being intentional about taking a break while eating lunch at your desk at work.
“I always eat and work, but we all need that break,” Dahley said. “Our bodies need that. Our spirit needs that.”
This year’s spring conference will take place May 16-17 in the Knutson Campus Center on Concordia’s campus. As an emerging topic of increasing importance in the field, Dahley stressed the value in taking time to learn about how to care for yourself so you can better care for others.
“We are having this conference on self-care not because I am an expert, but because we all have so much to learn,” she said.
Continuing Studies is also hosting a fall conference Oct. 25 titled “Nurturing the Profession through Supervision.”