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March 14 , 2011

Spiritual Diversity in Social Work Practice: The Heart of Helping


Many of the people served by social workers draw upon spirituality, by whatever names they call it, to help them thrive, to succeed at challenges, and to infuse their resources and relationships with meaning beyond mere survival value. This revised and expanded edition of a classic provides a comprehensive framework of values, knowledge, skills, and evidence for spiritually sensitive practice with diverse clients. Weaving together interdisciplinary theory and research, as well as the results from a national survey of practitioners, the authors describe a spiritually oriented model for practice that places clients' challenges and goals within the context of their deepest meanings and highest aspirations. Using richly detailed case examples and thought-provoking activities, this highly accessible text illustrates the professional values and ethical principles that guide spiritually sensitive practice. It presents definitions and conceptual models of spirituality and religion; draws connections between spiritual diversity and cultural, gender, and sexual orientation diversity; and offers insights from Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Indigenous religions, Islam, Judaism, Existentialism, and Transpersonal theory. Eminently practical, it guides professionals in understanding and assessing spiritual development and related mental health issues and outlines techniques that support transformation and resilience, such as meditation, mindfulness, ritual, forgiveness, and engagement of individual and community-based spiritual support systems. For social workers and other professional helpers committed to supporting the spiritual care of individuals, families, and communities, this definitive guide offers state-of-the-art interdisciplinary and international insights as well as practical tools that students and practitioners alike can put to immediate use.
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