We all know that podcasts are one of the best ways to keep up on the news, take deep dives on interesting topics, and pass the time on the way from here to there. Fortunately for us, the wide world of social work is also well-represented in the podcasting universe. There are a huge number of podcasts that are relevant for aspiring and practicing social workers. Here are 25 of the best, ranging in scope from the humorous and weird to therapists “talking shop” about a wide array of issues. What they all have in common, though, is that they are all highly relevant for today’s social workers.
#1 The Social Work Podcast
The Social Work Podcast, hosted by Loyola University Chicago professor, Jonathan Singer (Ph.D., LCSW), provides information on all things social work. The podcast began in 2007 and has a large archive of over 100 episodes organized by category and date. The purpose of the podcast is to present useful information in a user-friendly format. Although the intended audience is social workers, the information will be useful to anyone in a helping profession (including psychology, nursing, psychiatry, counseling, and education). Categories with the most number of episodes include: direct practice; assessment; human behavior and the social environment; psychotherapy; children & adolescents; and counseling. Each episode varies in length form 20 minutes to one hour.
inSocialWork® is the podcast series of the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. They boast an impressive archive of over 200 episodes, dating back to 2008. The purpose of this series is to engage practitioners and researchers in lifelong learning and to promote research to practice and practice to research. inSocialWork® features conversations with prominent social work professionals, interviews with cutting-edge researchers, and information on emerging trends and best practices in the field of social work. The podcast’s website has a number of social work-related links in addition to the option to suggest a topic for the podcast. The categories most well-represented within the archive include: Macro Social Work & Community Issues; Trauma & Trauma-Informed Care; Social Work Practice & Interventions; Human Rights & Social Justice; Poverties, and Inequalities & Disparities.
#3 Show About Race
(Our National Conversation About Conversations) About Race is a recently-ended yet engaging and insightful show about race in America. The show has 39 episodes with four accomplished co-discussants who host “a lively multiracial, interracial conversation about the ways we can’t talk, don’t talk, would rather not talk, but intermittently, fitfully, embarrassingly do talk about culture, identity, politics, power, and privilege.” The show is a comfortable venue for what can be uncomfortable conversations about life in what the show calls “pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America”. The show tackles timely and relevant topics whether it’s political correctness in comedy, Bill Cosby or even a story on This American Life. The hosts don’t shy away from argument, but engage in the kind of civil discourse that is actually fruitful and informative, instead of simply argumentative. “We wanted the show to be a candid, casual, real conversation between real people, not these canned, left vs. right shouting matches you see on CNN every night,” explained Colby, one of the shows co-hosts.
#4 Pod Save the People
Pod Save the People takes you inside conversations about culture, social justice, and politics by exploring the history, language, and people who are shaping the struggle for progress — and talking about the steps that each of us can take to make a difference. Organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson hosts the weekly program. Each week brings a news analysis, followed by deep conversations about social, political and cultural issues with experts, influencers, and diverse local and national leaders. There are 35 episodes, including: “Your Founding Fathers Were Protestors”; “Navigating Identity and Navigating Justice”; “Don’t Forget Your Purpose”; and “There is No Time to Grow Weary.” DeRay Mckesson is a former educator who worked for the Harlem Children’s Zone, opened up an academic enrichment center in West Baltimore, and with Baltimore City Public Schools. He is also one of the people involved in Campaign Zero, which provides policy solutions that can end police violence in America.
#5 The Mental Illness Happy Hour
The Mental Illness Happy Hour, hosted by comedian Paul Gilmartin, is “a weekly online podcast that interviews comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor.” While Gilmartin is not a social worker or therapist, he uses the podcast as a platform to create conversations about a variety of mental health issues and experiences, including his own. Gilmartin describes Mental Illness Happy Hour as “a place for honesty about all of the battles in our heads,” exploring topics such as “mental illness, trauma, addiction and negative thinking.” There are well over 300 episodes, each featuring a conversation between Gilmartin and a guest, delving into the guest’s unique battles and the developmental experiences that have shaped them along the way. The show is geared towards anyone interested in or affected by depression, addiction and other mental challenges which are so prevalent in the creative arts. Paul’s hope is that the show and his website will give people a place to connect, smile and feel the return of hope. The biggest myth about mental illness is that you are alone and there is no help.
#6 Selling the Couch
Selling the Couch is a podcast made by career psychologist, Melvin Varghese (Ph.D). His goal is to “Share valuable wisdom from successful practitioners, break down complex marketing and business ideas into language that’s easy for us to understand, share my successes and failures, and do this ethically and with kindness, sincerity, and respect to our profession and those we serve.” Selling the Couch currently has well over 100 episodes. Melvin interviews seasoned mental health professionals to help you learn: How they build and grew their private practice; A quote or saying that inspires them on a daily basis; How they get referrals; A daily habit that contributes to their success; Books and online tools they recommend. He chats with business coaches and social media and marketing experts to help you learn: Powerful website tweaks so clients can find you easier; How to effectively use social media to get the word about you services; and cutting-edge tools to take your private practice to the next level.
Podsocs is a podcast produced by the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University in Australia. For those looking for a social justice-leaning social work listen, this is a good one. Podsocs is “the podcast for social workers on the run” bringing listeners “up-to-the-minute research, diverse and sometimes controversial perspectives on social phenomena and focuses on knowledge and skills needed in the human services.” Designed specifically for social workers seeking to broaden their perspectives or deepen their knowledge on discipline-related topics, Podsocs spans social work topics from micro to macro, including many human rights topics and international issues. Podsocs often includes expert interviews with cutting-edge information from leaders in the field. Topics explored include: Health; Education; Equality; Global; Culture; Family; and Policy. There are just under one hundred podcasts with episodes such as: “Adapting to Climate-Change Vulnerable People”; “Alternative Identities – Vampires”; “Foster Families”; and “Everyday Racism”.
#8 Another Round
Another Round is a Buzzfeed podcast co-hosted by Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu that executes the best combination of laughter, drinking, and deep thought. There are 110 episodes focusing on feminism and racial justice as well as segments on topics ranging from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and jokes. These two passionate, dedicated, and hilarious women feature a new guest each week to cover a variety of subjects. Another Round has featured interviews with guests like writer and MacArthur Genius Ta-Nehisi Coates and U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. If you’re looking for insight into the issues that Americans of color, and especially black Americans, face, tune into this podcast that covers everything from black women being forced to adhere to white beauty standards to the politicization of interracial dating. Uploaded weekly on Tuesdays, Another Round has been featured on many reviewers favorite podcasts of the last couple years.
#9 Social Work Conversations
Social Work Conversations is a podcast put together by the University of Kentucky College of Social Work and hosted by Dr. Blake Jones (Ph.D., LCSW). The podcast is relatively new, only debuting in August of 2017, but is already proving to be a great resource for social workers. It explores the intersection of social work research, practice and education. Their goal is to give their listeners “practical tools they can use to change the world”. Each month they have a conversation with a social work practitioner, researcher, educator or speaker to learn more about their life and work. This podcast is intended to be instructive and helpful as they explore social issues and challenges faced by the modern day social worker. There are currently eight episodes available, including “On Death Row Saving Lives”; “Growing Community with Fresh Produce”; and “When the Ticker Tape Ends – Support for Military after Deployment”.
#10 The League of Awkward Unicorns
The League of Awkward Unicorns is a light-hearted take on mental health issues “covering the hilarious communal grounds we share in all being a little crazy.” Hosts Alice Bradley and Deanna Zandt discuss their own experiences with therapy, diagnoses, medications, and coping mechanisms, and also allow listeners to call in or leave voicemails to share their experiences. The podcast, currently in its 2nd season with around 30 episodes, discusses current events and the ways in which mental illness is perceived in modern life, how various life events and situations impact mental health, and sometimes includes interviews with individuals who have experienced mental health issues. Discussing the show’s origins, the creators share that “We were having a discussion about being depressed and anxious and we wanted to create something that was about depression, but would be funny,” As for what an “Awkward Unicorn” is exactly, Bradley explains: “It’s a person who is vulnerable and quirky and OK with both of those things.” A selection of episodes includes: “Nazi-Punching Time (Brought to You by Almond Milk)” and “It’s Okay to Suck a Little Bit”.
#11 Counselor Toolbox
Counselor Toolbox was launched to provide freely accessible tips, tools and tricks to help people achieve their highest quality of life. Twice a week we delve into topics that will help people better deal with addictions, mood disorders and understand the interaction between mood, physical health and addiction. With just under 200 episodes, Counselor Toolbox targets counselors, coaches and companions, but can also provide useful counseling self-help tools for persons struggling with these issues and their loved ones. Counselors, coaches and sober companions help hundreds of thousands of people affected by Addictions and Mental Health issues each year. Learn about the current research and practical counseling tools to improve your skills and provide the best possible services. Episodes include: “10 Common Errors in Clinical Supervision”; “Communicating with the Cognitively Impaired”; and “Using Research to Enhance Your Practice.”
#12 Mental Health Moment
Mental Health Moment is a podcast made by Emily K. Newbold (LCSW), a bi-lingual therapist with over ten years of experience working with diverse populations in both individual and group therapy. Once a week, Emily and her sister-in-law Laura discuss a variety of topics related to mental health, therapy, and self-care, in addition to interviewing guests on these topics. In addition to specializing in trauma, one of Emily’s specialties is working closely with parents who have children with special needs and has helped them manage the complex emotions that tie into raising children differently. Emily uses an integrative therapeutic approach and uses different theoretical frameworks to ensure that therapy remains client centered. Her goal is to help those she sees to return to their “normal”. There are currently 25 episodes available, including: “Jello Walls”; “There’s Band Aids”; “Sometimes Life Happens”; and “You Just Got Triggered”.
#13 Team Human
Team Human is a podcast striving to amplify human connection. “Each week we are engaging in real-time, no-holds-barred discussions with people who are hacking the machine to make it more compatible with human life, and helping redefine what it means to stay human in a digital age.” The show is hosted by author, media theorist, and professor Douglas Rushkoff. His books include Program or Be Programed, Present Shock, and Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, which all look deep into the question of reprogramming society to better serve humans. With each episode of Team Human, Rushkoff grapples with complex issues of agency, social justice, and all those quirky non-binary corners of life in a highly approachable and engaging podcast. “The simplest way to understand and change our predicament is to recognize that being human is a team sport. We cannot be fully human, alone. Anything that brings us together fosters our humanity. Likewise, anything that separates us makes us less human, and less able to exercise our will.”
#14 Social Work Discoveries
Social Work Discoveries is a podcast hosted by Australian social work researcher Ben Joseph. It is a new podcast with only a handful of episodes but is well informed and has a strong social-justice worldview. Ben says, “I decided to begin a podcast about Social Work Research as I was keen to find out more about all the great social work projects out there in our communities, as well as find out how social work research actually works and what makes it social worky…” Each episode, Ben interviews a social work researcher and asks them a few questions about a social work research project they’ve undertaken. The show highlights social work research projects past, current and future and looks to share exciting, innovative, evidence-informed projects that social work researchers have developed and implemented within the listeners’ own communities. “My goal is to elucidate the ways in which social work research can highlight social justice issues within our communities as well as create positive social change.”
#15 Tara Brach: Guided Meditations
Guided Meditations is a podcast dedicated to bringing listeners exercises for de-stressing and quieting their minds. Social workers could certainly benefit from these well-done guided meditations. Tara Brach has recorded 300 of these sessions since 2015. Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. The result is a distinctive voice in Western Buddhism, one that offers a wise and caring approach to freeing ourselves and society from suffering. She has fostered efforts to bring principles and practices of mindfulness to issues of racial injustice, equity and inclusivity; peace; environmental sustainability, as well as to prisons and schools. Tara Brach is a leading western teacher of Buddhist (mindfulness) meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She is author of Radical Acceptance (2003), and True Refuge (2013). Senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington D.C. (IMCW), Tara shares a weekly talk on Buddhist teachings and practices.
#16 Research in Action
Research in Action is a weekly podcast about topics and issues related to research in higher education from experts across a range of disciplines. Produced by Oregon State Ecampus research director, Katie Linder (Ph.D), the show features interviews with experts across a range of disciplines who share their expertise on qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. “Many episodes are focused on helping people understand a particular method or kind of role a researcher might have, while other episodes are meant to break researchers out of isolation and allow them to continue training in new methods or try new skills.” Guests also discuss their personal experiences as researchers; research and writing practices; organizational and productivity strategies; and more. “The goal of the podcast is to do two things – increase research literacy and build community among researchers,” says Linder. The podcast features a dynamic website, which includes audio downloads, episode transcriptions, show notes and resources, an episode guide and more. Listeners can engage with the podcast via email, on Twitter, through the comments and suggestions boxes, as well as by calling in to the voicemail line.
#17 Practice of the Practice
Practice of the Practice is a podcast made by Joe Sanok whose tagline is “Innovative ideas to start, grow, and scale your private practice”. Encompassing well over 200 episodes, Practice of the Practice is currently the #1 podcast in iTunes for counselors in private practice. Joe covers all sorts of issues around private practice, interviews successful folks, shares his thoughts, and gives clear tools to grow your private practice. Joe says, “I launched Practice of the Practice in 2012 because I thought that in graduate school we weren’t taught the basics of business and marketing to be successful in starting a private practice.” The podcast is just one part of a very full-featured website, including articles and detailed steps to start and grow a private practice. Episodes include: “Legal Structures in Private Practice”; “How to Name a Practice”; “How to Find a Specialty”; and “Managing Staff in Your Group Practice.”
#18 Transgressive: the Podcast
Transgressive: the Podcast is a show about all things transgender, genderqueer, non-binary, intersex, and some things sexuality, too. Transgressive aims to make space for the very real lives of trans folks and serves as a platform for storytelling, resource sharing, and activism in its many forms. Every other week, host Lindsay Lege (LCSW) and a guest explore topics like coming out, socially and medically transitioning, mental health, loved ones, activism in the current political climate, how cisgender folks can be better allies, and more. “Instead of saying that gender is any one single thing, let’s start describing it as a holistic experience.” Lindsay is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in gender therapy in Austin, Texas. I started Transgressive to help fill that gap by interviewing trans individuals and their loved ones so their voices and stories can be heard!” Transgressive is relatively new, with only 8 episodes, but is loaded with good information about an important demographic in the world of social work.
#19 Private Practice Workshop
Private Practice Workshop is a podcast dedicated to helping listeners know what it takes to build a private practice. Hosted by practitioner John Clarke, the show “is packed with powerful and effective techniques that will allow you to build your practice into exactly what you want it to be.” There are currently 22 episodes, including: “The Intersection of Life and Work”; “Marketing Philosophy 101”; and “Using Facebook Ads and Promoting a Group Practice”. Clarke also offers courses and workshops on starting and managing a private practice. His hosting and coaching style is warm, casual, and upbeat. “I love helping therapists succeed in private practice.” There is also a blog associated with Clarke’s podcast where he offers consulting work around private practice management and creation. “I’m here to help you create your ideal private practice. I’ve learned a ton of lessons the hard way and there’s no reason you should do the same!”
#20 Private Practice Journeys
Private Practice Journeys is a show in which four therapists discuss their experiences of what it’s like to start and manage a private practice over the course of a year. Each therapist is interviewed once a month to find out what it’s really like to be in private practice – basically the nuts and bolts, highs and lows and lessons learned. By only having four therapists participate on podcast episodes listeners get “depth” of practical information as opposed to “breadth” of information, which is typical of other podcast series in which a different therapist is interviewed each week. Listeners are provided with “nitty-gritty” details and a realistic understanding of what it’s like to start and manage a practice. The Private Practice Journeys Facebook Community gives listeners opportunities to discuss issues that are addressed on the podcast as well as private practice issues that are of interest to them. There are currently 30 episodes, the most recent including: “Learning about systems – using practice management software”; “Learning about personal branding”; and “Learning to keep things in perspective.”
#21 All Things Therapy
All Things Therapy is a podcast centered on “promoting personal growth and transformation by bringing you interviews with leaders in the: psychological, social, spiritual, emotional, cognitive, financial, physical, artistic, entertainment, and business communities and industries.” Hosted by Lisa Tahir (LCSW), who has been practicing as an “Intuitive Psychotherapist” for 20 years, the show aims to motivate and inspire listeners to their own greatness. Aired by LA Talk Radio every Thursday since 2016, the hour-long show’s recent episodes include: “Walking Through Grief with a Child”; “Filling Her Shoes: A Memoir of an Inherited Family”; and “Astrology and Homeopathy as Tools for Healing”. With more than 17 years of experience in the field of psychotherapy, Lisa utilizes various healing modalities including Reiki, EMDR, “rewriting your life script”, and accessing your own intuition to bring about systemic changes. “Using these techniques I have helped thousands of individuals and couples live richer, fuller, and healthier lives because of the work we have done.”
#22 Psychiatric Services from Pages to Practice
Psychiatric Services from Pages to Practice is a new show dedicated to discussing key aspects of research recently published by Psychiatric Services, a journal of the American Psychiatric Association. Editor Lisa Dixon, M.D., M.P.H., and Podcast Editor and Co-Host Josh Berezin, M.D., M.S., discuss the latest mental health services research and why it is relevant. Topics include community-based treatment programs, collaborative care, evidence-based treatment and service delivery, criminal and social justice, policy analysis, and more. There are only a handful of episodes so far, including these recent selections which cover several topics in each episode: “Child Abuse, Smoking Cessation, and Crisis Intervention Teams”; and “Fentanyl and the Opioid Epidemic, Strategies to Counter Stigma, and the Concept of Multimorbidity”. If you are someone who is looking to stay on top of current research in psychiatry from a respected source, this is a must-listen.
#23 Thoughts on the Social World
The Social World Podcast has been created to educate and share information on social work and social care. Host David Niven has been involved in Social Work in the U.K. for many years and seen triumphs and disasters. “It’s a huge subject and there’s plenty to talk about. ” David has over 30 years national and international experience in the field of social welfare and is recognized as an independent expert on matters of child protection and parenting. He has served as National Chair of the British Association of Social Workers and founded the charity Action on Child Exploitation (ACHE) in 1996 as a vehicle to lobby for social policy reform. The Social World Podcast currently has 80 episodes and discusses all aspects of the social world including: media management; social care; child abuse; children’s services; safeguarding children; vulnerable adults and children; judicial systems; social networking; the influence of the media; and training social workers.
#24 Helpful Social Work
Helpful Social Work is a relatively new podcast that aims to help social workers “to learn, think and act with integrity so that people who need social work get help that will transform their lives.” Each month they discuss an important topic and take a look at what is happening in social work in the UK. Co-host Gerry Nosowska is a social worker with extensive experience of adult social care practice, management, and using evidence to improve practice and services. Co-host Jo Fox is a social worker with a background in children’s services. She currently runs a consultancy service to strengthen social work practice with children and families. The show currently has just under 40 episodes including: “Diversity and exclusion”; “Social Work Specialisms”; and “Social Justice; Social control” – In this podcast “we start to look at the conflicts at the heart of the social work role. How do we respond to influences – our own and society’s – that push us into controlling rather than helping? How do we use our power well?”
Intersection, with host Jamil Smith, is a show dedicated to discussing and debating “issues surrounding race, gender, and all the ways we identify ourselves and one another.” Exploring the intersection of these topics, Smith brings in journalists, activists, politicians, and everyday folks to fuel the conversation. “We hope the conversations with everyday folks, activists, politicians, and you, too can help us all understand identity a lot better.” There are 17 episodes, including: “Intersectionality, and Queering Marriage”; “Fighting for Black Lives, in Flint and Beyond”; and “Body Image from All Angles.” Smith and his guests are great to listen to if you’re interested in learning about how individual social issues intersect and conflate for larger impact. Intersectionality is about bringing more perspectives to the table and he manages to do it in a very engaging, thoughtful way with his choice of guests.