Sarah Coyle


Banishing Burnout: Collective Traumas and Their Impact on Social Workers


Collective traumas, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or racial and political unrest, have had an undeniable presence in our society over the past couple of years. Social Workers are left with a double exposure to such events as they face them alongside the rest of their community in their personal life, and again in their professional life as they respond to these social stressors and help others cope. This double exposure to collective traumas imposes a greater risk of burnout, which is already one of the biggest occupational hazards in the field of Social Work. This Capstone presentation explores the causes of burnout among social workers, micro and macro impacts it can have, and previous attempts to mitigate burnout. Additionally, it introduces an alternative solution utilizing a Multidimensional Theory that mitigates burnout before its effects have a chance to reach social workers and the communities in which they serve in. This presentation will also discuss the implications that adopting such approach can have on the field of Social Work and share both the strengths and limitations of this proposed method. This presentation on collective traumas and their impact on social workers will provide the audience a chance to engage in positive change for the social work community.


Sarah Coyle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Louisville Kentucky. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelors of Arts in Social Work in 2014 and a Masters of Social Work in 2015. Sarah has been practicing as a clinician for over 10 years and has worked with a variety of populations. She began her career working with children and families involved in the child welfare system and transitioned to working in the school system with children who experienced behavioral issues in the classroom. In 2018 Sarah shifted her focus to adults when she commissioned as an officer with the United States Air Force. From 2018 to 2022 she worked as an active duty social worker providing therapy to Airmen and their families. Sarah currently works as an Employee Assistance Counselor for the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the Louisville Kentucky division, ensuring that agents and support staff are at optimal functioning to carry out the FBI’s mission: protecting the American people. She has spent the majority of her career treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, marital conflict, and helping individuals to increase their coping skills.

Over the past two years Sarah has studied burnout among Social Workers and the most effective ways to mitigate the dangerous hazard of the profession. Her capstone project focuses on causes and effects of burnout, previous solutions, more effective alternative solutions, and ideas for implementation. This capstone project provides an opportunity to significantly positively impact the field of Social Work.