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Bonnie Collins and Elaine Hammond

Integrating Spirituality Into Social Work Practice: A Conversation (part 1 of 2)

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“I really stress very strongly that, as a social worker, if you are going to integrate spirituality into your work you have to find out where you are in your own spirituality. And you have to do that kind of in a formal way so that you really are grounded in it.”

Bonnie Collins &
Elaine Hammond

Spirituality takes many forms, and often plays important roles in our clients’ lives. However, it is not always clear what roles spirituality should play in our work with clients, or how to productively and respectfully integrate these often sensitive and deeply personal topics and themes into social work.

In this podcast, the first of two parts, Bonnie Collins and Elaine Hammond engage in a conversation about the place of spirituality in social work. They discuss the differences and relationships between spirituality and religion, as well as the ways that they are defined in the law and in the DSM. They also explore ways to begin discussing spirituality with clients and assessing the roles of spirituality in clients’ lives, as well as concerns that social workers have about discussing spirituality, and what social workers can do to prepare to integrate spirituality into their practice.

Bonnie Collins EdM, LCSW-R, is a Family Counselor and Social Work Educator with expertise in Stress Management and Surviving Childhood Trauma. She is a retired adjunct faculty member at the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Social Work and presents psycho-educational seminars to various agencies and industries throughout the Western New York area.

Elaine Hammond, LMSW, has been employed in the field of social work for thirty-five years, working with a wide variety of client systems. She is dedicated to praxis models that integrate the best in evidence-based practice, authentic relationship and creativity in support of the body, mind and spirit of client systems and practitioners, alike. In the past ten years Elaine has helped to develop courses in Trauma & Human Rights, Social Context & Human Biology, and Spirituality at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, and in Mindfulness and Professional Development at the School of Law. Elaine has a small private practice where she works with very young children and their families as well as with adults whose traumatizing event occurred in early childhood.

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