Existential Questions and Post-Traumatic Growth and Evaluating the Effectiveness of Mindfulness Interventions

Discussion 1: 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.

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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.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Mindfulness Interventions
According to Garland (2013), there is skepticism about mindfulness as an effective intervention. Often, because of its philosophical roots in Buddhism, practitioners and scholars equate mindfulness with “New Age” beliefs. As a result, some may wonder how effective mindfulness interventions are. Recall from Week 1 that it is important to answer the question about the effectiveness of interventions by using empirical evidence rather than experiences or intuition.

You may not have experienced or practiced mindfulness. After you listen to the recordings found on the website listed in the Learning Resources, reflect on some of the following questions: (1) What did you notice? (2) What were you thinking while you were listening? (3) What were you feeling while you were listening? (4) How was your body reacting while listening? (5) How did you feel after you practiced mindfulness?

In this Discussion, you will experience an example of mindfulness and also determine whether mindfulness has scientific support.

To prepare:

Listen to a recording from those found at this website listed in the Learning Resources: UCLA Health. (n.d.). Free guided meditations. Retrieved December 8, 2017, from http://marc.ucla.edu/mindful-meditations
Read this article listed in the Learning Resources: 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
Conduct a library search in the Walden Library for one research study about the effectiveness of mindfulness as an intervention for the client in the case study you have been using. Remember when looking for studies to take into account your client’s age, developmental stage, and presenting problem.
By Day 4
Post:

In 1 to 2 sentences, respond to one of the four following questions in terms of what you noticed during the mindfulness exercise you completed:
What were you thinking while you were listening?
What were you feeling while you were listening?
How was your body reacting while listening?
How did you feel after you practiced mindfulness?
In 2 to 3 sentences, describe your experience practicing this technique and how this experience influences your choice on whether to use it with a client during practice.
Provide the reference for the study you found, and be sure to use citations in the body of your post using APA guidelines.
In 1 to 2 sentences, briefly summarize the methodological context (i.e., research method, how data was collected, and the instruments used) of the studies and the findings.
Evaluate the findings in terms of their validity and applicability for the client

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