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Stress and burnout is not a new concern for SSW students. From the very first days, SSW professors who were also psychiatrists and psychologists sometimes served as therapists for students. By the 1980s, though, faculty and therapists had been separated into two different offices.

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The most significant stress for social workers…may be the need to face tremendous responsibility within the treatment relationship. While (they) may logically be aware that they cannot be responsible for each client’s behavior, emotionally this responsibility can be difficult to ignore.

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Rebecca Jeanne Spencer, M.S.W. 1988, “When the Going Gets Tough: Graduate Social Work Students Experience of Stress, Burnout, and Coping,” Smith College School for Social Work Journal, Vol 7, No 1, Spring/Summer 1989, School for Social Work Records, RG 60, College Archives, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

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