Masters Thesis

Emotional Labor: An Analysis of Supervised Visitation Providers.

The goal of this research is to understand emotional labor within bureaucratic contexts that create tensions for supervised visitation providers who must balance how to be both impersonal and caring during daily work tasks. By using qualitative research methods, such as in-depth interviewing, I attempt to understand how such emotionally charged contexts of labor create stress, require emotional labor, and can lead to burnout as employees attempt to comply with rules constructed by organizations. I look at the differences in occupational training given to supervised visitation providers from both the court and the organization. Additionally, I reviewed policy documents and used quotes to illustrate claims the documents made about the role of a supervised visitation provider. The common themes throughout the providers’ responses are about the need to manage emotions in the presence of families, conflicted training, a need for improvement in the trainings provided, enjoyment of visitation provider work, and burnout. My analysis of these themes focuses on understanding how supervised visitation providers manage their emotions in their daily work, and how the two training experiences produce conflicting expectations of how to respond to their clients in highly emotional interactions. I am also examining how providers draw from their emotional labor to manage the expectations placed upon them.

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