By Paul R. Pace
The NASW Social Work Talks Podcast has been popular with social workers, resulting in more than 835,000 unique downloads to date. It is easily on the road to reach more than 1 million unique downloads in 2022.
Now in its third year, NASW Social Work Talks podcast explores topics that connect with social workers, and they get to hear it from their peers who are experts and practitioners.
Podcasting continues to be a popular way to share information, says NASW Communications Director Greg Wright. “People can also listen to podcasts while they are doing other things, like cooking, or commuting, or cleaning house,” he says. “So, we thought a podcast would be a great way to introduce the public to some influential social workers and make people more aware of the amazing services that social workers provide.”
Wright notes that each podcast episode has 3,000 to 5,000 downloads to date.
“This is considered extremely good listenership by podcast experts,” Wright said. “Our most popular episodes involve professional self-care. Many social workers are concerned about burnout and compassion fatigue. Any shows about social work ethics are popular as well.”
By March 2022, there are more than 80 episodes of NASW Social Work Talks.
“Our communications staff comes up with topic ideas,” Wright says. “We also get plenty of ideas from members and from our staff around the nation.”
“During the pandemic, we have provided more shows that offer social workers advice on how to cope or give them advice on how to help clients during these trying times,” Wright says. “Our nation is also going through a period of intensified racial strife and more attention to police abuse and murders of people of color, most notably George Floyd. We have offered shows that address these issues as well.”
When it comes to finding guests to interview, Wright says some people approach NASW. “Other times, we see notable social workers in the news or on social media and we invite them to the podcasts so we can hear more about their stories,” he says. “NASW also has a wealth of experts that we draw from.”
Besides self-care, other popular downloads include the topics of narcissism, suicide prevention, veterinary social work, social workers working with police departments, the opioid crisis, and helping people with eating disorders.
Episode 17: Self-Care and Avoiding Burnout, is one of the most popular episodes. It features an interview with Kristen Lee, Ed.D., LICSW, a professor of behavioral science at Northeastern University.
With more than 20 years of experience as a clinician, educator, researcher and parent, Lee speaks about her area of expertise: preventing and treating burnout. She says the popularity of her podcast episode interview is indicative of the level of crisis at hand and the level of risk for social workers. She notes in 2019, the World Health Organization reclassified burnout from its prior framing of a “health condition” to now a condition of the modern workforce.
People who work in human services, like social workers do, face a disproportionate risk of burnout, she explains. “One of the pervasive things I have seen since the pandemic, is the feeling I am not doing enough. I think a lot of folks would gravitate to this episode.”
Podcasting is a growing and excellent medium to share information among social workers, says Lee, whose latest book, Worth the Risk: How to Microdose Bravery to Grow Resilience, Connect More, and Offer Yourself to the World, will be out in June 2022.
“It’s easy to digest and to listen to on the go,” she says. Podcasts also can present really important information, Lee adds, and illuminate our stories and shared narratives, as well as provide “opportunities for doing well.”
Podcasts can help inspire a community for well-being, Lee says. “It creates solidarity, and it can be motivating to know we are not alone. And it can inspire action.”
Lee personally is a fan of podcast listening. Her favorite downloads include topics on brain science and integrated health as well performing arts and comedy. “I gravitate towards a lot of fun things. The work (we do) is so serious; I feel like creativity is an underutilized aspect of practice. That’s something I have been working on in my professional development and my life.”
NASW hopes the podcast will keep growing.
“We are beginning to post our shows on YouTube and may consider doing video podcasts in addition to audio ones,” Wright says. “We are also beginning to attract more advertising, which is another sign of our success.”
How to listen to NASW Social Work Talks
- Listen to episodes on NASW's website. Find show notes, transcripts and related resources for each episode.
- Listen using a podcast app on your mobile device.
- You can also find NASW Social Work Talks on Spotify, YouTube and SoundCloud.