1st Edition

Building Resilience Through Contemplative Practice A Field Manual for Helping Professionals and Volunteers

By Bobbi Patterson Copyright 2020
    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    Recasting burnout as a crucial phase of service, Building Resilience Through Contemplative Practice uses real-world case studies to teach professionals and volunteers unique skills for cultivating resilience.

    Viewing service and burnout as interdependent throughout phases of stability, collapse, reorganization, and exploitation, the book uniquely combines elements of adaptive resilience theory with contemplative practices and pedagogies. Drawing on the author’s extensive experience working at the intersection of service and contemplative practices, this is the first book to demonstrate how and why professionals and volunteers can reframe burnout as an opportunity for resilience-building service. User-friendly case studies provide tools, skills, and exercises for reconstructive next steps. Chapters address personal, group, and structural levels of service and burnout.

    Illuminating the link between adaptive resilience and burnout as a normal and useful phase of service, Building Resilience Through Contemplative Practice is a necessary resource for professionals and volunteers across a wide range of service settings.

    List of Figures


    Preface: Facing Burnout

    1. Rewriting the Story of Service and Burnout 

    2. Contemplative Principles and Practices: Putting Adaptive Resilience to Work 

    3. Willingness/Not Willfulness

    4. Not Taking In/Taking In 

    5. Moving Stability 

    6. Not All Up to Me/All Up to Me 

    7. The Edge of Earshot 

    8. Naming the Unnamed



    Bobbi Patterson, PhD, M. Div, is professor of pedagogy in the Department of Religion and the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. A well-known speaker and presenter on burnout and resilience, she has helped create, direct, and reorganize a range of community-partnered service experiences and programs for over fifty years.

     "A must read for anyone engaged in volunteer service or in the helping professions! Building Resilience Through Contemplative Practice offers a fresh and hopeful perspective that positively reframes burnout as an adaptive phase of thriving service. A gem of a resource that grounds and renews through inspiring case examples, and practical and heartful exercises. Written by a deeply wise and compassionate teacher, Bobbi Patterson, who walks the talk and uniquely understands Christian and Buddhist contemplation coupled with a life of service." — Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, President, Mind & Life Institute

    "This is a book that provides the balm of perspective for those whose careers or volunteer commitment focuses on serving. Rather than give in to burnout, Bobbi Patterson’s deep insight is that burnout is part of the cycle of service leading to resilience. Reading this book should not be yet another task undertaken by those already burdened; rather, it should be embraced as a hopeful and compassionate refuge at the crossroad where service and contemplative practice meet." — Joseph Favazza, PhD, President of St. Anselm College, widely known expert on pedagogies of community-engaged learning