Transcendental Meditation for Social Workers: Preventing Burnout

Social work can have a strong positive impact but to become a licensed social worker is difficult, complicated, and taxing. Once established in the profession, one encounters a demanding case load, ineffectual routine tasks, few opportunities for advancement, too few resources and minimal support.  



The Problem

Chronic stress can seriously damage our physiology, including the brain. It is associated with a rise in blood pressure, putting one at risk for heart disease and stroke. Long time exposure to the stress hormone cortisol is damaging, and the hippocampus—the pathway to memory function—responds by shrinking in size.

Stress can affect a social worker to such a degree that one becomes increasingly debilitated—a condition called burnout, and along with potential PTSD, it can compromise our work, family, well-being and health.


One Practical Solution

The Transcendental Meditation technique is associated with lower cortisol levels, and has been shown by research to be the only meditation that creates increases in broadband intra- and inter-hemispheric EEG coherence. This enlivenment in the brain of the prefrontal cortex (known as the CEO of the brain) and the increase of orderly functioning between the hemispheres of the brain is the likely physiological explanation behind the improvements in focus, memory, interpersonal behavior, moral reasoning, creativity, and ability to plan that are documented by studies of those regularly practicing TM.

Other documented significant benefits of the TM technique include reduced anxiety and depression, a reduction in high blood pressure after only a few weeks, decreased risk of heart disease and stroke, reduction in pain, decreased insomnia, and increased vitality, well-being and self-esteem.

Continuing Education Contact Hours for Social Workers


Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886735603-0) for 13 Social Work continuing education contact hours.


After gaining intellectual understanding of the underlying principles, benefits, and mechanics of the TM technique in a prerequisite meeting, social workers are instructed and begin practice of the TM technique. Requirements to obtain CE contact hours include:

  1. Attendance at entire session for each class
  2. Participation in experiential exercises
  3. Completion and submission of a course evaluation form

Tangible evidence-based benefits

The TM practice is unique among meditation techniques, distinguished by its simplicity and profound, immediate results.  It is not a religion or philosophy and involves no change in lifestyle.  It is easy to learn and enjoyable to practice, requiring no effort, concentration, or special skills.

You will be more present and resilient in working with your clients and have the added benefit of being able to recommend this stress-reducing program to them in an informed way.

“Having done social work for more than 12 years with families, abused children and in schools, I can say with assurance that TM has literally saved my life on those chaotic mornings when clients were upset or couldn’t focus. Often they were incapacitated, lacking information, and their goals were unclear to them. So often, having meditated at home in the morning, I found that my calm, careful manner settled them right away and we were able to work collaboratively. Adult clients in the most stressful situations—such as those with PTSD, sleep deprivation, or high parenting stress—who took the TM course were then better able to find ways to improve their lives.”

Mary Doan
Retired social worker, California

“I have been practicing Transcendental Meditation for almost a year and half now. My life has been transformed in unbelievable positive ways since learning TM. Through meditation, I now feel a true sense of clam and inner peace. It has become much easier and clearer to live my life and make decisions that serve my most authentic self. In my professional life, meditating has helped me become a better clinician. I find I have a lot more energy, a greater sense of focus, and most importantly, I am more mindful and present when working with my clients. I can say with certainty, that I will be meditating for the rest of my life. I am forever grateful for this practice.”

Elizabeth Yarock
LMSW, MSW

“TM has been amazing in releasing stress of daily life and deep-rooted stress. I have recommended TM to many of my patients. The patients who have been in​structed​ report very positive results. I have found it to be very effective in treating anxiety, depression and PTSD.”

Diana DiFranco
LCSW ACMHP

TM made me a better social worker. I’ve found that TM prevents occupational burnout, enables higher work performance, increases focus, memory and intelligence, and improves information processing. 

Francisca Nubia Koser
MSW, Licensed Registered Clinical social worker Intern, Florida

Ready to Learn?


Note: Social workers may learn the TM program in every state, however,the following states do not accept National CE Approval Programs and require individual program/provider application processes: New YorkMichigan, and West Virginia. The following states currently do not recognize NASW National Approval. Applications can be submitted to NASW State Chapters: New JerseyIdaho and Oregon.

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