Spirituality and Social Care: Contributing to Personal and Community Well-Being

Spirituality and Social Care: Contributing to Personal and Community Well-Being

Spirituality and Social Care: Contributing to Personal and Community Well-Being

Spirituality and Social Care: Contributing to Personal and Community Well-Being

Synopsis

This comprehensive and much-needed resource is for professionals and students in social care, who are required to engage with the spiritual dimension of their therapeutic work with clients. The authors, who include social workers, mental health professionals, religious professionals and academics, show how they have developed ways of applying their own and their clients' spirituality in their practice. They describe their work in an international range of human service contexts including:

• working with grief and loss

• community development work

• working across cultures

• social justice work

• social work teaching and learning.

The client groups they cover include children, older people, individuals with learning disabilities, and ethnic minority and indigenous groups. Drawing on theological and philosophical ideas from different cultures, this much-needed resource gives guidance on and examples of practice that together enable the reader to explore and develop the role of spiritual awareness in their work. It is an essential resource for all those training or practising in social work, mental health, pastoral care and counselling.

Excerpt

Bruce Stewart and Mary Nash

How can spirituality contribute to well-being and to the helping relationship? We consider that there are many ways of working with spiritual awareness in relation to personal, interpersonal and societal caring, some of which are explored in this book. In our view spirituality opens the door to integrity and genuineness in our relations with others who may be limited by personal difficulties, situational circumstances, or oppression. Our contributors define spirituality in a variety of ways and most of them make a distinction between spirituality and religion, in which the former can be more broadly defined than the latter. They reflect on spirituality’s relevance to culture; self-determination; transformation; the helping relationship; and social-political activism.

We have adopted a broad definition of the term ‘social care’, using it as an umbrella term including social work, counseling, psychotherapy, community development and social change activities. Many of our contributors will make more specific reference to their use of the term ‘social care’ as they present different positions in relation to spirituality and social care. This provides the reader with a number of viewpoints from which to reflect upon the richness and evolving nature of this dimension of the helping professions. As co-editors we do not emphasize any particular approach as preferable to another. However, both editors recognize that we have been influenced by the living traditions of the indigenous people in our respective countries of Canada and New Zealand.

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