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Experiential reflective learning as a foundation for emotional resilience: An evaluation of contemplative emotional training in mental health workers

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Abstract

Health care workers in the Community Mental Health (MH) and Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) sectors face complex psychological issues that exact a heavy emotional toll. Burnout is a significant risk for these workers. Stress management, developing effective work practices and the implementation of burnout interventions are crucial in both engaging and retaining staff. The present study (non-randomized) investigates the effects of a targeted 6-week emotion regulation and mindfulness training program (CEB) in educators and mental health workers. Participants who completed CEB training (n = 20) demonstrated a significant improvement in mindfulness and a significant increase in emotional awareness when compared to the control group (n = 20). Assessments were made at baseline, directly after training (in CEB trained group only) and at 6 months post training completion. This change persisted at 6 months after completing the training. These results suggest that embedding CEB training within a higher education curriculum may have a long-term positive impact on students and health care workers planning to enter the MH & AOD sector. Further research is required.

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