SaraKay Smullens

SaraKay Smullens (www.sarakaysmullens.com) is a licensed diplomate in clinical social work and a trained family therapist and educator.  She has been certified as a group psychotherapist by American Group Psychotherapy Association and as a certified family life educator by the National Council on Family Relations.  

A recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Social Work, SaraKay is a best-selling author of Whoever Said Life Is Fair?: A Guide to Growing through Life’s Injustices and Setting Yourself Free: Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Abuse in Family, Friendship, Love and Work.  Her latest book, Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work:  A Guidebook for Students and Those in Mental Health and Related Professions, focuses on the major causes that make all of us susceptible to burnout — compassion fatigue, countertransference, and vicarious trauma — and the evidence based self-care strategies that both alleviate and prevent it.  

SaraKay’s paper, “Achieving an Emotional Sense of Direction,” can be found on her website.  This model is described in greater detail in her peer-reviewed paper, “The Codification and Treatment of Emotional Abuse in Structured Group Therapy,” appearing in the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy.


Her professional papers and memorabilia, which document a lifetime of clinical concentration, advocacy, and activism, are divided between the archives of the University of Pennsylvania, Goucher College, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 

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