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Social Work
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International Cooperation

Is it possible to reduce stress in 5 minutes? That is what social work students will try to find out during a week of intensive lectures and practical training in the Nordplus project "5 minūtes starp klientiem" (5 minutes between clients). The project will take place from 17 October to 21 October. 15 students from Tampere University of Applied Sciences, 15 students from Kaunas University of Applied Sciences, and 20 students from Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) are participating this year.

RSU launched the international Nordplus project "5 minutes between clients" in 2021 together with Kaunas University of Applied Sciences and Tampere University of Applied Sciences. A training seminar for social workers and RSU lecturers was held in Tampere as part of this project in August 2021.

Before the intensive training week in Riga, students from each country had to prepare homework on what the experience of social work professionals in their country in stress reduction was. During the week the students will be divided into five sub-groups. Each group chooses one area of social work (social work with children and youth, domestic violence, social work with seniors, people with disabilities, Ukrainian refugees) and will visit relevant institutions and NGOs in Riga.

Lecturers from Tampere, Kaunas and RSU will be on hand to help students select and present short stress relief methods that social workers could use during breaks in their professional work and that would not require additional time, tools, or financial resources.

The main aim of the project is to prepare easy-to-use educational materials on how to cope with the stress that arises from social workers’ daily professional activities. Research shows that social workers experience more stress and fatigue in their work than, for example, psychologists. Social work involves a lot of responsibility as they usually have many difficult cases and a heavy workload for prolonged periods. This highlights the need to develop coping skills and resilience to stress.

This two-year project is now halfway through. Previous activities included training for lecturers and social workers at Tampere University of Applied Sciences in August this year, with lectures and practical sessions and learning about work stress reduction exercises, body awareness exercises, adventure therapy, and the innovations of the Technological Instruments Laboratory at Tampere University. This training also covered self-empathy and ethnic-specific stress reduction techniques.

Writer: Ilze Trapenciere,
Lecturer, RSU Department of Welfare and Social Work,
Coordinator, 5 minutes between clients