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Episode 159 - Bonnie Collins and Elaine Hammond: Integrating Spirituality Into Social Work Practice: A Conversation (part 1 of 2)

Monday, January 19, 2015, 9:50:26 AM

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Every social work student learns about the biopsychosocial model early in his or her social work education. The use of this three-dimensional model underscores the complexity of the client experience. However, social workers are increasingly recognizing and adding an additional dimension. Spirituality has been an often-controversial aspect of social work practice. Social work students as well as seasoned professionals are frequently unsure if, when, or how to introduce this topic. Part 1 of this conversation looks at the difference between spirituality and religion, and how social workers prepare to address this sensitive topic.

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4 Reviews
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Average Rating: 3.8 stars (4 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  review of podcast 159, Monday, February 01, 2016

By Daphne Booth :

This podcast is an excellent starting point to think about addressing spirituality within the therapeutic relationship. Collins and Hammond make a compelling case for why spirituality is an essential part of the assessment process in clinical intervention. Honoring spirituality is part of honoring diversity. Therapists are often reluctant to broach spirituality because they doubt the appropriateness of including it in the therapeutic relationship. This reluctance can stem from therapists being unsure of where they stand on their own spirituality. Collins and Hammond contend that the client’s spirituality can be how they make meaning in their life. Spirituality is beyond what one feels to what one believes and an integral part of one’s worldview. The podcast touches on how faith can help people through trauma and how one’s spirituality is often changed by trauma. Several resource books are mentioned for further reading on the subject.

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Average Rating: 4stars  the importance of spirituality in social work, Saturday, January 23, 2016

By Joann Chopra :

I enjoyed this podcast and find the topic of spirituality of importance in social work practice. As an MSW student it was helpful to hear that there is a place for spirituality in clinical interventions.I liked the idea that spirituality/religion be a part of the assessment process. I agree with the conclusion that many people are able to cope with trauma through spirituality or faith. I thought a key suggestion was to listen for spiritual references and then tap into those when appropriate in the conversation. I have found that bereavement work often involves spirituality and being open to the topic and embracing the client's views are so important to developing a good working relationship. The idea that as a practitioner it is important to know yourself and where you stand on spirituality was interesting, and I agree with learning as much as you can about spirituality. I think if you are comfortable within yourself with the topic of spirituality, that will translate into being comfortable incorporating it with clients. As suggested, one of the challenges of integrating spirituality is the practitioner's ability to be nonjudgmental. As a social worker, consistently examining are own biases are so important and I think that is especially true with this topic. I really liked the suggestion of asking clients what they find beauty in. This simple question has the potential to reveal so much and perhaps help the social worker tune-in to the client.
I am glad that the topic of spirituality was brought up and hope it continues to be a topic of conversation. I can understand how some people may feel uncomfortable with the topic, but I think it is important to be able to meet the client's needs and to honor diversity.

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Average Rating: 3stars  the importance of knowing yourself when discussing spirituality, Saturday, February 07, 2015

By Tina Z :

After 15 years working as a counselor, I integrate spirituality in all of my practice. This might include individual sessions, group sessions, or assessments. As Bonnie and Elaine highlighted in this podcast, people are afraid of spirituality. They are afraid of it often because they don’t exactly know what either means. I also ask similar questions like Bonnie and Elaine shared like “what are you passionate about? Where do you find your purpose in life? What does it look like for you to love someone or someone to love you?” I basically went through the motions and hoped that I could fake it until I made it. As I learned more about spirituality, through my patient’s and colleague’s testimonies, and life experience, I realized that I, in fact, was a definitely a spiritual person. I found my “God, Higher Power, strength, whatever term works best for you” through things like Bonnie and Elaine mentioned in the podcast, gardening, the sun coming up, smiles, rainbows, animals, etc. I found that being mindful of all that is around me in the moment has enhanced my belief that you have to have a solid core before you can have faith in anything. As repeated in the podcast a worker has to be “grounded” in their beliefs. Or as I would say, “you have to know yourself inside out, upside down, and backwards.” This is my explanation for those seeking any form of recovery. I enjoyed this podcast and look forward to hear the second part of the podcast coming next week. It spoke personally to me and my initial struggle with spirituality discussions as a new clinician. I am glad to hear spirituality being addressed in the social work field in so many different fashions. I think it should be discussed at all levels of education and professions that involve direct care of individuals. I say that because it took a good part of my twenties for me to find my way.



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Average Rating: 3stars  spirituality vs religion in the practice of social work, Saturday, January 24, 2015

By Anonymous :

I address Spirituality/Religion in almost all of my therapeutic interactions. The population I work with identify their faith/religion as a necessary core to their life experience.
To make a comment, regarding NYS definition to religion, that "super sounds like superman" was offensive and insensitive as many religious/faith communities believe in supernatural spiritual
power.


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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.