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Episode Summary

Hey overworked SLP - feeling like you want to find a rock to crawl under for a minute or two? Burnout is a topic that hits close to home for me as an SLP of 15 years. In some ways, I think I started to feel that burn even before I got my CCC’s. Why are we and others in the “helping professions” so much more likely to experience burnout than others braving the workforce? This week, burnout expert, Dr. Julie Slowiak, shares her own personal experience with overwhelm and under-joy in the workplace, and offers SLP’s the strategies we need to recognize burnout and to address it head on. Do you find yourself critical or cynical at work? Perhaps you’re not looking forward to your day-to-day grind, or you are consistently not meeting expectations (your own or those placed upon you). Whatever the sign, you might be experiencing or rapidly approaching burnout, which not only negatively impacts your personal health and happiness, but also your professional performance. Tune in to learn how to spot burnout and to learn why it might be happening. You’ll also gain some mindful self-care practices to deal with burnout as Dr. Slowiak challenges the misconceived notion of self-care as just a manicure and bubble bath. Pause today, tune in, and take an hour to discover how you can hit that optimal work life flow, feel better, and be the SLP you want to be for those students and clients you hold so dear.

Learning Objectives 

After attending participants will be able to:

  1. Define the concept of burnout and give at least 3 examples of signs and symptoms of burnout. 

  2. Describe why the “helping professions” are more susceptible to burnout. 

  3. Give at least 1 example related to the 5 professional self-care strategies that can be used to prevent burnout. 

  4. Describe how engaging in self-care practices supports ethical practice.

About the Speakers


Kate Grandbois (she/her) & Amy Wonkka (she/her

Kate and Amy are co-founders of SLP Nerdcast. Kate is a dually certified SLP / BCBA who works primarily as an "AAC Specialist." She owns a private practice with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, augmentative alternative communication intervention and assessment, and consultation. Amy is an SLP who also works as an "AAC Specialist" in a public school setting. Amy's primary interests are AAC, typical language development, motor speech, phonology, data collection, collaboration, coaching, and communication partner training and support.

Julie Slowiak Ph.D., BCBA-D

Julie M. Slowiak is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and Organizational Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire (2003) and her M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University (2006; 2008). She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral. 07/01/2021 01:21:54 39 Dr. Slowiak is the Founder of InJewel LLC, a values-focused coaching and consulting company. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Behavior Analysis in Health, Sport, and Fitness Special Interest Group, a non-profit organization. Dr. Slowiak’s research blends her training in applied behavior analysis and organizational behavior management with topics studied in the fields of occupational health psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and applied sports psychology. In general, she is interested in the behavioral processes underlying athletic performance, the integration of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) in health, behavior, and human performance coaching, healthy lifestyle behavior change, self-care and professional burnout, and behavior-based and values-focused coaching. Dr. Slowiak presents regularly at local, regional, and national conferences. Her empirical work has been published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, Behavior Analysis in Practice, Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, Quality Management in Health Care, and The Psychological Record. Dr. Slowiak currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and remains an active member of the behavior analytic professional community. Dr. Slowiak is on a mission to disseminate behavioral science to those who desire to take their own performance and wellbeing and that of those they lead and coach to a higher level.

Speaker Disclosures

Julie Slowiak financial disclosures: Julie is employed by the University of Minnesota Duluth and the Owner / Founder of InJewel LLC, a coaching and consulting business. Julie Slowiak non-financial disclosures: Julie is the Executive Director of the Behavior Analysis in Health, Sport, and Fitness Special Interest Group, a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization and a special interest group of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Julie is also a current member of ABAI, the OBM Network, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Society for Occupational and Health Psychology (SOHP).

Kate Grandbois financial disclosures: Kate is the owner / founder of Grandbois Therapy + Consulting, LLC and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast.  Kate Grandbois non-financial disclosures: Kate is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children. She is also a member of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), MassABA, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the corresponding Speech Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis SIG. 

Amy Wonkka financial disclosures: Amy is an employee of a public school system and co-founder for SLP Nerdcast. Amy Wonkka non-financial disclosures: Amy is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children.

Time Ordered Agenda

15 minutes: Introduction, Disclaimers and Disclosures

10 minutes:  Descriptions of the concept of and examples of burnout

15 minutes:  Descriptions of why the “helping professions” are more susceptible to burnout

10 minutes:  Descriptions of professional self-care strategies and how engaging in self-care practices supports ethical practice.

5 minutes: Summary and Closing

References and Resources


Brown, T. J. (2021). Ethics, burnout, and reported life and job attitudes among board-certified behavior analysts. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, 21(4), 364-375. doi:10.1037/bar0000219

David, S. (2017). Emotional agility: Get unstuck, embrace change, and thrive in work and life. Penguin Life.

Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Nachreiner, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 499-512. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.86.3.499

Flaxman, P. E., Bond, F. W., & Livheim, F. (2013). The mindful and effective employee an acceptance and commitment therapy training manual for improving well-being and performance. New Harbinger Publications, Incorporated.

HARRIS, R. (2022). HAPPINESS TRAP: How to stop struggling and start living. SHAMBHALA.

Lee, J. J., & Miller, S. E. (2013). A Self-Care Framework for Social Workers: Building a Strong Foundation for Practice. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 94(2), 96-103. doi:10.1606/1044-3894.4289

Morse, G., Salyers, M. P., Rollins, A. L., Monroe-Devita, M., & Pfahler, C. (2011). Burnout in Mental Health Services: A Review of the Problem and Its Remediation. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 39(5), 341-352. doi:10.1007/s10488-011-0352-1

Online Resources

The Self Care Forum 

The Wellbeing Model 

The Happiness Trap 

The Happiness Trap Illustrated Version 

The Oldenburg Burnout Inventory Calculator 

Maslach Burnout Inventory (tm) (MBI) 


The contents of this episode are not meant to replace clinical advice. SLP Nerdcast, its hosts and guests do not represent or endorse specific products or procedures mentioned during our episodes unless otherwise stated. We are NOT PhDs, but we do research our material. We do our best to provide a thorough review and fair representation of each topic that we tackle. That being said, it is always likely that there is an article we’ve missed, or another perspective that isn’t shared. If you have something to add to the conversation, please email us! Wed love to hear from you!


Episode Summary provided by Tanna Neufeld, MS, CCC-SLP

Audio File Editing provided by Caitlan Akier, MA, CCC-SLP/L, Contributing Editor

Promotional Contribution provided by Paige Biglin, MS, CCC-SLP, Contributing Editor 

Web Editing provided by Sinead Rogazzo, MS, CCC-SLP, Contributing Editor