The benefits of incorporating spirituality into social work can be significant. Having knowledge of how clients’ spirituality affects their sense of well-being is critical in improving social workers’ ability to design services and treatment that have the highest potential for helping clients.
What is faith based social work?
- Faith based social action happens when people of faith work together, often with others outside their faith community, in order to achieve real and positive change within their local community, or in wider society. It springs from the application of spiritual principles, for the betterment of society and the improvement of people’s lives. including:
- 1 How does spirituality affect social work?
- 2 Why is being aware of your own spirituality important in social work?
- 3 What does spirituality mean in social work?
- 4 How should social workers incorporate spirituality?
- 5 Should religion and spirituality play a role in social work practice?
- 6 What does it mean to you to ethically integrate your faith or spirituality into social work practice?
- 7 How does religion and spirituality influence beliefs and values?
- 8 What spirituality means?
- 9 What is spiritually sensitive practice?
- 10 What is a spiritual assessment?
- 11 What are the beliefs about social work?
- 12 Whats the difference between spiritual and religious?
- 13 How can social workers maintain spirituality in and out of practice?
- 14 How can counselors maintain spirituality in and out of practice?
- 15 How might social workers ethical integrate faith in their practice?
- 16 Spirituality in Social Work — the Journey From Fringe to Mainstream
- 17 Social Work and Religion: The Changing Face of Spirituality
- 18 Spirituality and Social Work Practice: Tips for Confronting Apprehensions
- 19 Effects of Social Work Practice on Practitioner Spirituality
- 20 Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
- 21 Why Spirituality Matters in Social Work
- 21.0.1 What motivated you to write this book?
- 21.0.2 Could you describe the difference between spirituality and religion, and why that difference matters in this context?
- 21.0.3 Could you share some examples of how a person’s spirituality expresses itself?
- 21.0.4 What kind of training do social workers need to integrate spirituality into their practice?
- 21.0.5 Does this practice have the secondary benefit of allowing the social worker to connect with and understand the client better, and thereby be more effective in helping?
- 21.0.6 Does the integration of spirituality into social work pose challenges for those who are not religious or may ascribe to a religion that has something to say about the character of religious interactions?
- 21.0.7 If readers walk away with one thing from this book, what do you hope that is?
- 22 The importance of religion and spirituality in social work practice to strengthen practitioners, communities, couples, and individuals and in the cultivation of a praxis of love
Social workers can help clients discover and explore their wonder in their lives. A Higher Power: Most people’s spirituality encompasses a Higher Power or Supreme Being to whom they can turn especially during difficult times. Most of our clients are likely to believe in a Higher Power.
Overall, social workers need to understand the unique meaning of spirituality to that individual, and the ways in which spirituality supports the person in both interpreting and navigating life. Gaining insight about your personal beliefs in relation to spirituality can strengthen your personal cultural awareness.
“Spirituality” designates the human longing for a sense of meaning through morally responsible relationships between diverse individuals, families, communities, cultures and religions.
Both social work practitioners and social work students need to be clear about their own spiritual beliefs as a part of self-awareness. Practitioners and interns must never force their personal spiritual beliefs on clients or allow the spiritual beliefs of their client to influence their work with clients.
Religion and spirituality play such important roles in our lives and it is vital for social workers to understand how it affects their clients and how it can be used to help them in their personal growth and progress in their mental health.
(1) Understand and work effectively with the religious, faith, and spirituality dimensions of persons. and communities. (2) Examine one’s own religious, faith, and spiritual frameworks and know how these aspects. self-inform and conflict with one’s social work practice.
How does religion and spirituality influence beliefs and values?
Religion influences morals and values through multiple pathways. It shapes the way people think about and respond to the world, fosters habits such as church attendance and prayer, and provides a web of social connections.
What spirituality means?
Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature. An opening of the heart is an essential aspect of true spirituality.
What is spiritually sensitive practice?
Spiritually sensitive practice ‘ seeks to nurture persons’ full potentials through relationships based on respectful, empathic, knowledgeable, and skillful regard for their spiritual perspectives, whether religious or nonreligious’ (Canda, 2008, pp.
What is a spiritual assessment?
The spiritual assessment allows physicians to support patients by stressing empathetic listening, documenting spiritual preferences for future visits, incorporating the precepts of patients’ faith traditions into treatment plans, and encouraging patients to use the resources of their spiritual traditions and
The following broad ethical principles are based on social work’s core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. These principles set forth ideals to which all social workers should aspire.
Whats the difference between spiritual and religious?
What’s the difference between religion and spirituality? Religion: This is a specific set of organised beliefs and practices, usually shared by a community or group. Spirituality: This is more of an individual practice, and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose.
Social workers can work to apply spirituality in their practice both by strengthening their personal approaches to spirituality and by working to incorporate spirituality into the ways in which they assess and work with their clients.
How can counselors maintain spirituality in and out of practice?
“Techniques include use of prayer during a session, ways to direct clients to pray, spiritual journaling, forgiveness protocols, using biblical texts to reinforce healthy mental and emotional habits and working to change punitive God images.”
Examples include: “ Provide spiritual support in an unbiased manner; allow clients to self-determine; examine own faith without projecting onto clients; work within a client’s own faith, religious, and/or spiritual beliefs; learned to support clients and their religion and spirituality; learned to express faith within
Spirituality in Social Work — the Journey From Fringe to Mainstream
|March/April 2008Spirituality in Social Work — the Journey From Fringe toMainstreamBy Edie Weinstein-Moser, MSW, LSWSocial WorkToday Vol. 8 No. 2 P. 32Resistance to recognizing spiritualityin social work practice diminishes as clients and clinicians raise spiritualissues and science studies the mind-body-spirit connection. “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. Weare spiritual beings having a human experience.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin The social work profession has never been one to shy away fromcontroversial subjects. Because spirituality is at the center of existence formany people and its reach is so broad, it is ideally suited to be integratedinto responsible and respectful approaches to therapeutic intervention withclients.The combination of spirituality and social work has implicationsin the areas of trauma, end-of-life issues, aging, illness, cultural competence,addiction treatment, ethics, relationships, forgiveness, chronic mental illness,the meaning of life, and attempting to answer the age old question, “Why is thishappening?” Social workers often address these issues in their own lives whilehelping clients face them. They are increasingly examining how their spiritualvalues affect practice of the profession, as well as how clients’ spiritualityimpacts world view, coping skills, and ability to manage adversity.Professional Perspectives —Forgiveness and Self-Care For Ann Weaver Nichols, DSW, ACSW,spirituality was a seed cultivated when she became involved with the AmericanFriends Service Committee. A Columbia University School of Social Work graduate,she has been a member of the Arizona State University (ASU) School of SocialWork faculty since 1970. She teaches social policy, community organizing, andhuman behavior. Ten years ago, her attention was drawn to the subject offorgiveness, as she describes it “both from a micro and a macro level. I wasinterested in the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa and wayscommunities could work toward reconciliation and healing.” When the Society for Spirituality and Social Work was seeking anew location, she offered ASU. For the past three years, she has been at thehelm of the organization. Weaver Nichols defines spirituality as “giving meaningto our lives, what our purpose and calling is. It is our ability to makeconnections with other people and be aware of the oneness of all creation andthe brotherhood and sisterhood of all people.” Her belief is that “we are allspiritual beings; we all have a divine spark and an inner light. Cultivating ourspirituality or reaching for spiritual strength in other people, helping them incoping, is helping them get in touch with that inner light and sense ofwholeness that sometimes gets covered up by a lot of bad things happening tous.”Spiritual self-care was even more essential for those whoprovided emotional care for others following September 11, 2001. Weaver Nicholsrecalls that “a group of us gathered together with others to share some of thepain we were feeling. We opened it up to students and faculty. We created aspace and a time, and we called it Gatherings.” This included sitting insilence, as well as praying, talking, and singing in unison. She found that it“helped people cope with the uncertainty that came around September 11th andgave people a better sense of direction. September 11th was a pivotal event thatcaused many people to come face-to-face with their own mortality and realize howprecious our connections are to other people.” A life transition prompted David Wilde, JD, MSW, LCSW, toreconsider his connection with the divine. His original career path was that ofan attorney, and he attended Brooklyn Law School and Hunter College. But he isnow a spiritually oriented psychotherapist who divides his practice time betweenBucks County, PA, and New York City, working with a broad demographic anddiagnostic range of clients. “I don’t initiate the topic of spirituality with my clients,”says Wilde. “I am open to their bringing up their own version of what theirspiritual goals or needs are. I work within whatever paradigm the clientpresents. Many follow a belief system and I work within that, be itChristianity, Islam, or Judaism, and some don’t believe in a higher power anddon’t have a belief system.” He considers that a belief system in and ofitself.Like Weaver Nichols, Wilde believes that the concept offorgiveness is key. “The word forgiveness in Sanskrit translates to‘surrender,’” he says. “It is not a condoning of behavior. It is actually areleasing of energetic hold or binding that is freeing to the person who isdoing the forgiving. All growth means letting go of something.” For manyclients, this is a revolutionary idea since habitual patterns of anger andresentment may keep them anchored to a painful past and coping mechanisms thatno longer serve them. MindfulnessModels Social workers can assist their clients by maintaininga mindful witnessing perspective. Such is the belief of Charles May, MSS, LSW, atherapist and a case manager in an adult partial hospital program at the HorshamClinic in Ambler, PA, who was trained as a clinical social worker at Bryn MawrGraduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Without attempting to impose his spiritual values, Mayrecognizes that much of what he does “includes mindfulness meditation now beingintegrated into Western models. There is a nice confluence there.” Teachingmindfulness is an integral component of the day program where he works.“Spirituality sensitizes me to my own way of seeing clients as being just likeme. Using spiritual models, I think of them as Buddhas, goddesses, and gods,Christlike already. I relate to them as if that is so. There are justobscurations and misunderstandings in the way,” he explains. For May, spirituality is a way of life and an essentialperspective. “It is like breathing,” he says of integrating it into his workwith clients. “It is the theme of my existence. That’s my context forunderstanding my experience.” According to Wilde, spirituality is “a person’sindividual relationship with the universe and however he or she conceives ofthat. It may include his or her definition of a higher power, God, the spiritualsource.” What assists May in maneuvering through a potentiallyfrustrating job, working with people who carry many emotional wounds andbehaviors that would be easy to judge, is his choice to “see myself as being aslikely to have experienced similar symptoms had I had similarcircumstances.”A more academic approach to infusing spirituality into socialwork practice is offered by Mo Yee Lee, PhD, a professor at the College ofSocial Work at Ohio State University and author ofSolution-FocusedTreatment of Domestic Violence Offenders: Accountability forSolutions. With a clinical background in solution-focused brieftherapy, Lee embodies spirituality in her life in a cohesive manner:“Spirituality entails cognitive, philosophical, experiential, emotional, as wellas behavioral aspects. I personally believe in interconnectedness of phenomenaand different domains of human experiences, as well as with the broader system.I try not to treat myself or others as objects or compartmentalized bits. Ofcourse, such a belief affects my professional pursuit. I embrace a systemsperspective, strengths-based, and/or body-mind-spirit approach in my clinicalpractice and intervention research.” Part of her work entails exploring thebenefits of meditation on mental health outcomes of clients.HistoricalPerspective Ed Canda, MA, MSW, PhD, sees himself as someonewho draws people together. He has been the professor and the chair of thedoctoral program in social work at the University of Kansas since 1989.Fascinated with the topic of spirituality and social work since the early 1980s,it remains his primary focus of research and teaching. In 1990, he founded theSociety for Spirituality and Social Work. Canda thinks of spirituality as “the universal aspect of humanexistence and a search for meaning and purpose, fulfilling relations andconnections between other people and myself. But while spirituality has beenpresent in social work in some form since the beginning, within social workeducation it’s been neglected.” When he began his pioneering work in the field, Canda found thatnot many people were teaching the subject, and it was discussed only in limitedsettings. “Because social work promoted a holistic perspective and sensitivityto cultural diversity, the topic of religion and spirituality sometimes came upin those contexts, but the standard approaches to research and education didn’tfocus on it and sometimes discouraged it.” There were concerns about socialworkers infusing their beliefs into their practices or “agencies that werereligiously affiliated requiring that clients participate in their religiouspractices and violating church/state separation.”Joining with other colleagues, Canda found that they were alsofeeling isolated, and their agencies were not supportive of the topic. “Thesociety helped people to connect not only with regard to sharing information butto develop relationships and a mutual support network.” He calls it a “web ofinterest and synergy across the country.” Canda’s spiritually aware practice enhances his sensibilities asa social worker. “One of the most important principles of a spirituallysensitive practice is to have ground rules between one’s personal life and one’spractice because if we are going to educate students to have sensitivity toclient’s spirituality, we need to be developing continuously our own clarityaround spiritual issues,” he says. “If we don’t do our own inner work, then wecan’t really model what spiritually sensitive practice is. My clients bring upissues in the clinical setting or in the larger community context of faith-basedinitiatives.” Weaver Nichols adds that “for a long time, it was very difficultto talk about or write about spirituality. It was brushed off as being kind offlaky. In academic circles, it was not seen as a suitable topic for research orwriting.” Lee observes that “historically, social work has part of itsroot in spirituality although the upsurge of positivist paradigm has contributedto the separation of spirituality and social work treatment, which I think isalso influenced by an attempt of the social work profession to gain prominencein a social and academic environment that prefers a scientific mode of inquiry.Of course, such a mode of inquiry does not endorse something so vague andnonscientific as spirituality. However, it’s quite clear that spirituality isbecoming more and more prominent in social work practice probably because ofexperience, feedback from clients, and more scientific studies supportingmind-body connection.”Current Practice and FutureGoals In the late 1990s, Canda and his colleague Lee Fuhrmansurveyed National Association of Social Workers members, and most respondentsindicated that many clients were raising issues related to spirituality. Therespondents addressed the concerns but felt ill prepared by their social workeducation. It became a matter of competency. Canda believes the trend has shifted since the late 1990s. Manyschools now have electives related to spirituality and social work, but it isstill a fringe topic. Current social work practice includes thebiopsychosocialspiritual assessment that evaluates the strengths and spiritualresources of clients. The Joint Commission, which monitors healthcarefacilities, mandates the routine assessment of spiritual needs and requires thatthe spiritual component of a person’s life be considered in health assessments. According to Weaver Nichols, “Spirituality has become moreacceptable to talk about, use in practice, write about, and research, but it isstill considered by some people to be a little bit on the fringe.” Canda believes that more empirical study is needed to examinethe way spirituality is addressed in practice at different levels, from micro tomacro, and to evaluate outcomes. Regarding professional self-care, Canda says,“We need to do more in our education to go beyond intellectual and skills-basedtraining to help students dig more deeply into self-cultivation and their lifejourney and how it interfaces with their practice.”Nurturing theNurturer To maintain what he considers self-care and goodmental health, Wilde practices what he preaches. “I try to stay as unfettered byjudgment, self-doubt, and fear as possible. I start my day usually with aspiritual practice that may include meditation, imagination, affirmation, orsome combination of the above,” he explains. “I remind myself at night toreconnect with who I am and why I am here. That is essential not only for my ownlife, but as a therapist, to stay sane, peaceful, and calm inside.” This is apowerful means of warding off the vicarious traumatization that can occur whenworking day after day with people who are experiencing pain.Canda finds the “need to recharge, reenergize, and keepourselves centered” and that “much of my work is about ‘building our ownresilience.’ Spirituality is integral to that. Someone can practice centering,moment-to-moment clarity, empathy, and unconditional positive regard withoutbasing it on specific religious ideas and symbols.” May’s spiritual practice allows him to “work with the ideas thathave personal impact,” adding that “I meditate. I do martial arts,yoga—activities that integrate mind and body. When I’m on my game, I’mremembering to be mindful.” He also finds humor in even the most challenging situations. “Ido it on purpose. It also helps to have other people around me sharing a lot ofsimilar ideas and values as a treatment team. By myself, I would run down. Wecharge each other up.” What allows Lee to stay centered is “jogging, staying close tonature, living a simple life, breathing, setting aside a little quiet time formyself despite my hectic work schedule, connecting with loved ones, listening tomy inner voice.”For me, self-care falls into the realm of daily attitudeadjustment, creating an intention even before setting foot out of bed to “havean extraordinary day and connect with amazing people.” It reflects the work doneon the inpatient unit of the psychiatric hospital where I work, creating adirect route to healing based in the mind and heart of the thinker. Thisapproach embraces an eclectic spiritual practice that, when used within thediscretion of the client, can be an effective therapeutic tool.— Edie Weinstein-Moser, MSW, LSW, is a clinician, writer,speaker, and minister based in Dublin, PA. Self-Care Reminders Since March is National Social Work Month, it is timely toremind ourselves of some of the available self-care tools. With high stresslevels, large caseloads, and the mandate to serve clients in seeminglyimpossible circumstances, it is easy for social workers to fall prey tocompassion fatigue and burnout, what I refer to as tater tot syndrome—feelinglike a crispy fried potato by the end of the day. We must keep our cups full ifwe are to help fill those of our clients. The following are suggestions gleanedfrom those professionals who contributed to this article:Meditation Daily exerciseWalking innatureYoga/martial artsListening to inspiring musicMassageArtappreciationAttendingretreatsPrayerDancingDrummingReadingLaughterTime withkindred spiritsSleepHealthy eatingSinging/chanting—EWM|
Social Work and Religion: The Changing Face of Spirituality
At first look, it could appear that spirituality and religion are inextricably linked. Many people identify as spiritual, but not necessarily religious, in their lives. As a social worker, this distinction might have an influence on the role you play in your professional life. For example, a person who identifies as spiritual may do so without adhering to any particular religion or without visiting a religious institution. A relationship with nature can be established via spiritual practice, but it is not need to be through the worship of a religious god.
While some studies imply a beneficial association, others suggest that persons who identify as religious or spiritual may be more likely to consume recreational drugs and to suffer from generalized anxiety or phobias than those who do not.
- Individuals who are spiritual or religious, according to some research, may lack a conceptual framework to support their thoughts and ideas if they do not have a theological foundation to support them.
- As a social worker, you must be able to comprehend religion and spirituality.
- The FICA Spiritual History Toolis one approach of assisting professionals in dealing with problems of spirituality and religion with their clients and patients.
- Tools like these allow you to evaluate what you can do to help your client maintain a good relationship with their spiritual activities, mental health, religion, and other needs, as well as with themselves.
- Instead, you may encourage your client’s natural interest in a spiritual or religious practice or belief by providing opportunities for them to learn more about it.
- Social workers must also be aware of the role that isolation may play in the lives of those who adhere to particular rituals or hold certain beliefs.
- It is typical for folks who do not practice energy healing or meditation to have their beliefs about these practices called into doubt.
- In your profession, you may also help your clients gain strength by referring them to community resources that can help them achieve their goals.
- Another positive component that social workers may bring to their clients is the use of creative expression.
- Additionally, social workers might choose to participate in social worker continuing education courses that encourage the use of many services available to assist clients who have religious or spiritual difficulties, such as religious and spiritual counseling.
Would you want to learn more about social work programs? Get in touch with us right away!
Spirituality and Social Work Practice: Tips for Confronting Apprehensions
Dr. Veronica L. Hardy, LCSWT (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) Throughout the years, I’ve witnessed how spirituality has played a significant part in the lives of many people. For example, it has an impact on whether or not someone takes a vaccine; it is a driving element behind various advocacy campaigns; and it has an impact on dietary choices, dress styles, and which schools a person attends. It is included into the titles of organizations where I have worked (e.g., Baptist Children Services, Catholic Social Services), as well as in my own name.
- Additionally, spirituality may be utilized as a lens through which to analyze behaviour, and it has an influence on how a person perceives and navigates their environment.
- Consider the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers.
- People and entities to whom social workers offer services are diverse and dynamic, and culture may have a significant impact in how they interact with one another.
- The biopsychosocial evaluation, as it is commonly known, is designed to provide insight into the many aspects of an individual’s life in order to help them plan their future steps (e.g., intervention).
We must establish whether spirituality has meaningful value for the individual, whether it helps as a coping skill in the person’s life, and how the individual defines spirituality, all of which are in accordance with our ethical obligation to practice cultural humility Generally speaking, spirituality is concerned with how a person can find meaning and purpose in their lives, whether through the intervention of what is commonly referred to as a higher being or power or something created by the individual, such as an activist group, volunteer work, or other methods that may benefit the lives of others.
- Individual spirituality as well as spirituality within a feeling of community are both possible.
- [page number] Furthermore, many people may consider their spirituality and their religion to be one and the same thing, or even to be a part of their ethnic identity.
- In light of the foregoing, how can we as professionals and when delivering services improve our ability to maintain a spiritual perspective?
- First and foremost, begin with yourself.
- Have you had a favorable or negative encounter with spirituality throughout your life?
- When participating in social work practice, it is necessary to begin with self-reflection in order to reduce the likelihood of experiencing countertransference.
- Second, consider if you were totally present and proactive when studying spirituality during evaluations, or whether you were filled with reluctance and worry.
For example, did you ever have any reservations about your professional competence when it came to investigating spirituality with clients?
Third, broaden your knowledge base.
Participate in supervision and consultation to determine next steps for professional development in this area, as well as ways that might be good for the client groups you are responsible for.
Using spiritually and culturally sensitive probing inquiries, you can learn more about an individual or entity to whom you are providing services when they identify spirituality as a facet of their life or a healthy coping mechanism.
Pay attention to the distinct topics that the individual discusses in relation to their spiritual experiences.
Specifically, what sorts of coping abilities are impacted by spiritual activities are discussed below.
Assessments assist us in acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the individual.
As social workers, we are always in the process of learning and developing new skills.
Hardy, LCSW, is a Professor of Social Work at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Dr. Hardy is an advocate for social justice, a professional consultant, an author, and a mentor to new social workers and junior faculty members at the university level. She is the founder of The Social Work Lounge, a virtual mentorship group that meets on Facebook every week.
Effects of Social Work Practice on Practitioner Spirituality
The importance of spirituality in the lives of our clients, their families, and the communities in which we work cannot be overstated. It is critical that we have the knowledge and abilities to work with them to investigate this vital area of interest. Over the past 30 years, there has been an increase in the amount of literature on this area of social work practice. This research has looked at the ethics of forcing practitioner spirituality on clients, as well as the tools and models that include spirituality into practice in order to better serve clients.
- I recently co-authored an essay with Kelli Larsen, a former assistant professor at HPU, that was published in the Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work and was titled ‘Effects of social work practice on practitioners’ spirituality.
- In addition to catching the attention of our new Dean, Halaevalu Vakalahi, the work received the College of HealthSociety Dean’s Manuscript of the Year award for the first time.
- More information on the project may be found here.
- For me, this was the point at which my training in spirituality and religion in social work practice came to an end.
- It is encouraging to see that social work schools are becoming more effective at teaching students on how to interact with clients/constituencies regarding spirituality/religion and giving models to support that practice.
- In spite of this, the emphasis remains unidirectional, with the goal of reducing the effect of our own religious ideas on our daily lives.
- It seems natural, therefore, that the consequences of practice and spirituality do not manifest themselves in the same manner.
Part of an overall mixed methods study that Dr.
Specifically, the questions “To what degree do you believe your practice has affected your spiritual development?” and “Can you kindly describe what this means to you?” were the subject of this specific research study.
Chloe Harrington (MSW ’17) and Christiana Chun (MSW ’17) did an excellent job in this area, and their efforts were much appreciated.
We would compare our coding findings and discuss them until we came to a consensus on the best way to represent what the responder was attempting to say.
In the course of this process, we identified three themes that explained the responses: practice as a source of spirituality, social work practice as a reinforcement for present views, and a denial that practice has any impact on spirituality.
Allow me to provide you with a quick overview of each of the subjects.
“The experiences my clients have voluntarily shared over the years have broadened my understanding and exploration of spiritual matters,” said one social worker.
It should come as no surprise that we also learn from our clients!
Here, social workers discussed how seeing pain and suffering, even second-hand, frequently compelled spiritual reflection on the part of those who witnessed it.
As we experience the tragedies of mankind, it prompts a great deal of introspection and profound learning inside me.” Social workers shared their experiences of observing strengths and perseverance, as well as how this had an affect on them spiritually.
Social workers noted that certain practice environments had a more visible impact on practitioner spirituality than others, such as hospice work and the field of addictions treatment.
As one social worker put it, “I deal with youngsters who are on their deathbed.” “I’m going to have to seek some enlightenment on this matter.” It was via a process of introspection that social workers were able to incorporate these new insights into their spirituality.
This arose as a result of a perceived intimate connection between personal faith and social service, according to some.
This alignment may be shown, for example, in the proximity between one’s personal spiritual views and the ideals of social work as a profession; in the choosing of social work as a career; and some beliefs that are in agreement.
When it comes to spiritual principles such as empowerment, service, and the necessity of human connection, social work practice may provide confirmation.
“My practice has allowed me to integrate my helping profession with my spiritual mission, which is to assist in the healing of injured souls via talk therapy and empathy,” one employee stated.
Among the comments made by one worker was, “I have sensed the presence of God in my job, sometimes acting through me.” Practice, in the case of these social workers, served to remind them of what they already believed.
This was the case for around 28% of those who answered the survey questions.
“My spiritual growth was already in place when I started working,” said one person who felt that having social work practice have an impact on spirituality was similar to spiritual lethargy.
As well as piqued our interest, which led us to want to know more.
In our article, we stated that, “Recent work by Holly Oxhandler (2017) suggests that a lack of reflexivity on the part of the practitioner regarding this intersectionality of identities may close one to not being able to see the importance of those beliefs to clients as well as to intentionally or unintentionally letting one’s own beliefs interfere with one’s work.” Methods such as reflective practice and reflective supervision can help you gain a better knowledge of yourself.
Is there a safe space for this conversation in our supervision, or have we established a taboo on discussing spirituality in our organization?
What about the 28% of people who believe there is no relationship between practice and personal spirituality? What are the things that contribute to this point of view? When it comes to the worker and the client’s well-being, how does this awareness of a lack of influence affect them?
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
The Social Workers’ Society of America’s Religion and Spirituality Work Group was established in 2011 to advance social workers’ knowledge, values, and skills in order to engage in ethical and effective practice that takes into account the diverse expressions of religion and spirituality among their clients and their communities. People’s lives and cultures are infused with religion and spirituality, which requires social workers to understand religion and spirituality in order to develop a holistic view of the person in their environment and to support the professional mission of promoting the satisfaction of basic needs, well-being, and justice for all individuals and communities around the world.
The expectation for social workers is to work ethically and effectively with religion and spirituality as it relates to clients and their communities, as well as to refrain from negative discrimination on the basis of religious or nonreligious views.
Although the topics may be relevant to any curricular area (for example, practice at any system level in any field, social policy, human behavior theory, research, administration, field education, and social work ethics), the emphasis will be on materials that can be used to develop social work practice competencies in knowledge, values, and skills concerning diverse expressions of religion and spirituality, including nonreligious worldviews.
For any queries regarding the submission criteria or the submission form, please contact the research assistant who will be happy to assist you.
Why Spirituality Matters in Social Work
Many people’s lives revolve around answering questions such as “Why am I here?” and “What is the meaning of life.” Because of the intimacy and significance of such themes, their discussion is sometimes restricted to a small number of locations and times, with spirituality and religion being among the most popular methods for unraveling their secrets and riddles. Even for social workers, who are responsible with assisting individuals in navigating the personal issues of their lives, the question of whether and how to touch these matters has always been a source of consternation.
In fact, he contends, it is exactly because of their closeness and healing potential that spirituality and religion must be more deeply integrated into the helping process.
Wills Citty of the University of North Carolina in Charlotte sat down with Dr. Dudley to learn more about the book and what he hopes readers will take away from it.
What motivated you to write this book?
As a professional social worker, I have always thought that it is crucial to take a client’s faith into consideration while providing assistance. Recently, I’ve grown more convinced that connecting with a client’s faith may be a valuable tool in encouraging them to participate in the healing process. Many of our clients are dealing with spiritual and religious concerns, and we are able to assist them. I realized that writing a book on a spiritually sensitive approach to practice would make a significant contribution in assisting social workers and other helping professionals to take this issue more seriously than they may have done in the past.
Could you describe the difference between spirituality and religion, and why that difference matters in this context?
The book is divided into two general categories: spirituality and religion. Spirituality is an innate trait that every human being possesses, regardless of whether or not they are religious. Religion, on the other hand, is an external entity that has been created via social construction. Religion refers to religious organizations such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Islamic faith. Many individuals hold these and other institutional groups in high regard because they promote ideology, values, and practices that they hold dear.
Spirituality, like psychology and sociology, should be regarded as a vast, complex subject with many different aspects to it.
Spirituality presents itself in a variety of ways that are significant to the assisting process; for example, When it comes to spirituality, love is perhaps the most essential specific description since it is the ultimate objective for the vast majority of individuals, including our customers, in their relationships. Their spirituality, which they can often access with assistance, can provide numerous avenues for them to more completely feel love in their life, based on embracing ideas such as forgiveness, transcendence, appreciation, other-centeredness, and satisfaction.
- It assists clients and others at times of sorrow, sadness, loss, and, eventually, in the process of dying and passing away.
- Wonder: Wonder is a human feeling that assists us in realizing, on a deeper level, the awe-inspiring nature of our existence and the various gifts that come with it.
- Clients might benefit from social workers’ assistance in discovering and exploring their own sense of wonder in their life.
- It’s possible that the majority of our clientele believe in a higher power.
When it comes to the aid we give, their relationship with their God is frequently an important issue, and prayer or meditation may be one of the treatments that might be beneficial to them.
Idealistically, a Spirituality and Social Work course might be offered in social work programs, which would give a foundation of information about how to adopt a spiritually sensitive practice approach in the field. Taking a concurrent field internship under the supervision of someone who has extensive expertise in implementing the spiritually sensitive approach taught in the course can be an ideal method to learn how to execute the spiritually sensitive approach taught in the course.
Yes, when clients willingly divulge parts of their spirituality and probable religious connections, it may be quite valuable to the practitioner. Because they are likely to be significant to a client’s identity, these discoveries might be helpful in developing a more intimate relationship with the social worker. When someone’s spiritual self is disclosed and gratefully welcomed, it has a tendency to bring up private stuff that may frequently deepen the helpful connection as a result of this.
In studies after studies, it has consistently been discovered that faculty members who are deeply religious are more likely to embrace this content area in their teaching. Faculty and practitioners who are not religious or spiritual, on the other hand, are less likely to support the inclusion of spirituality content in the social work curriculum. Non-spiritual and non-religious social workers may find it difficult to ignore or minimize these aspects of their clients’ lives, whereas highly religious social workers may find it difficult to keep their religious preferences and biases hidden in their practice.
If readers walk away with one thing from this book, what do you hope that is?
A far higher understanding of the significance of our clients’ faith, as well as how to include spirituality into the therapeutic process, has emerged. Dr. Jim Dudley is a Professor Emeritus of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as well as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of North Carolina. Spirituality Matters in Social Work is available for purchase at this location.
This volume of the Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thoughtbegins with an article that examines an under-researched area of religion and spirituality in social work, namely, the influence social work practice has on the spirituality of the social worker, which is a topic that has received little attention in the past. Rinkel and colleagues conducted a survey of a random sample of social workers drawn from the National Association of Social Workers membership list (N = 527) and discovered that 40% of respondents believed their social work practice had a substantial influence on their own personal spirituality.
Furthermore, the authors provide insight into the reactions of individuals who believed that their practice had little impact on their own spirituality.
The next three articles are especially concerned with concerns pertaining to the role of religion and spirituality in the African American society, and they are organized as follows: Ample research has been done on the role of religion and spirituality as protective factors in the physical and mental health well-being of African Americans, as noted in the first of these articles written by Hays.
According to Hays, who draws on current literature, church-based programs should consider Social Action Theory as a foundation for thinking about church-based interventions that improve community-level outcomes, rather than the traditional focus on individual-level outcomes, rather than the traditional focus on individual-level outcomes.
A qualitative research involving 33 African American heterosexual couples was reported in the first of these publications, in which Skipper and colleagues investigated the effect of intercessory prayer in their lives.
The authors of this study discovered that intercessory prayer assisted in the development of personal strength in people, the strengthening of marital relationships, and the unification of communities.
A moving piece by Chi, who looked at the works of people such as Jane Addams, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jean Vanier, and Mary Jo Leddy to see how each individual used their religion to effect change in the social context, brings this issue to a close.
Finally, she discusses the implications of her research for a faith-inspired praxis of love in modern social work in the final section of this publication.
Jewell conducts an examination Restorative Justice in the 21st Century: A Practical Guide.
Miller examines David Hodge’s book, Spiritual Assessment in Social Work and Mental Health Practice, which may assist readers in determining whether or not this material is acceptable for courses in clinical social work and mental health practice.
Finally, in his assessment of Social Justice and Social Work: Rediscovering a Core Value of the Profession, McMillin takes a look at the larger picture of the field of social work. We trust that the many works included in this last edition of 2018 will provide the readers with much food for thought.