Assignment: Spirituality and Social Work Practice

Being culturally sensitive by respecting your clients’ spirituality and religious traditions, in general, is an important professional competence (Furness & Gilligan, 2010). Applying your spiritual awareness to a specific client case, however, may require even greater skill. In this assignment, you consider how you might address a client’s crisis that includes a spiritual or religious component.

To prepare for this Assignment, review this week’s media about Eboni Logan’s visit with her school social worker.

By Day 7

Submit a 2- to 4-page paper that answers the following questions:

  • As Eboni’s social worker, would you include spirituality and religion in your initial assessment? Why or why not?
  • What strategies can you use to ensure that your personal values will not influence your practice with Eboni?
  • How would you address the crisis that Eboni is experiencing?

Support your Assignment with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

Colleagues Responses  and answer this in the following way


Respond by Day 5 to at least two colleagues in one of the following ways:

  • State how your colleague’s examples of spirituality’s influence in client relationships resonate with you. Provide support for your perspective.
  • State whether you are likely to use your client’s strategy in your own social work practice, and explain why.

Ashley Burk RE: 

Hello Everyone,

The differences in each person’s life experience influence their worldview and their biopsychosocial environment also impact life experience and worldview.  As a white Christian woman, I cannot expect an African-American Muslim man to have the same or even similar life experiences to my own.  It is imperative social workers view social work practice as a continuous learning opportunity.  Social workers must also recognize the difference between religion and spirituality.  Religions are formal institutions which include common beliefs, traditions, and spiritual practices (Zastrow, & Kirst-Ashman, 2016).  Spirituality is a human developmental process to examine, explain, and develop beliefs about the “reality beyond the material world” (Barker, 2007, pg. 148).  A person does not have to be religious to be spiritual, or spiritual to be religious (Zastrow, & Kirst-Ashman, 2016).  Social workers need to respect clients’ worldviews and their religious or spiritual beliefs or lack thereof.  An atheist does not believe in a higher power, and a Christian social worker believes in one God. However, this difference in spirituality and religion should not impact the ability of a social worker to assist an atheist client or to try and impose their personal religious beliefs on a client.

My faith gives me a solid foundation on which to build a more accepting attitude toward others.  Recognizing similarities between my faith and other systems of faith is one way to breakdown barriers and promote religious freedom for all people.  The challenges I have faced throughout my life have led me to a career dedicated to helping others and the protection of those who are struggling.  My faith helps keep me centered and will enhance my ability to empathize with clients.  I must teach myself to recognize instances of religious privilege because unintentional bias and prejudice are still bias and prejudice and can damage a social worker/client relationship. Understanding spirituality as a universal human experience and no matter a person’s religious beliefs they underwent a spiritual journey to develop their belief system (Barker, 2007; Zastrow, & Kirst-Ashman, 2016).

Response 2

michelle washington RE: Discussion – Week 9

We will work with clients that have had experiences that have shaped their worldviews about several topics. As social workers we will experience working with diverse clients, communities and cultures. I believe everyone has the right to believe what they want regarding spirituality and we should respect those differences. Whether we agree or disagree in my opinion isn’t relative to the level of service we provide. I personally know that I have no right to judge or try to impose my beliefs in my practice. As professionals we must serve clients without biases and be nonjudgmental. We can’t allow person beliefs to be a barrier for service. If one can’t do that then they in my opinion are in the wrong profession.

I am a Christian and grew up in a Pentecostal church. I am very solid in my faith.  We went several times a week and on some days there were multiple services we attended.  I experienced a lot of judgment for being the free spirit that I am.  In my opinion some of the most judgmental people are in the church. I choose to be my hair mostly shaved and I have several tattoos. I have felt judgement even without someone saying anything verbally. Looks and stars are judgmental. So, for me in practice I know I can except and embraces whoever I work with. I feel strongly that that everyone should be and do want they want and feel. Acceptance and respect can in my opinion combat barriers.

Staying knowledgeable about diversity is one strategy I will apply in practice.  It is essential that we be competent about the clients we serve. We should continuously educate ourselves on diverse topics. I also feel like we should ask questions. If you don’t ask then you won’t know.