Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social service-Religious aspects, Social workers-Religious life, Psychologists-Religious life, Psychiatrists-Religious life, Spirituality, Meditation-Theraputic use, Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, Psychotherapy-Religious aspects, Transpersonal psychotherapy, Psychotherapist and patient, Religion, Clinical practice


The purpose of this study was to elicit clinicians' perspectives and practices with religion and spirituality in clinical practice. Recent social work researchers note the roots of social work in spirituality and believe it can reinvigorate social work practice. Four focus groups were conducted in three different geographical locations with clinicians who included social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. It was found that the clinicians believed that including spirituality in practice benefits the client either in secular or sectarian ways. The application of spiritual practices varied widely. The majority of participants in this study reported the use of mindfulness and meditation based clinical modalities in their practice. All emphasized the importance of the therapeutic relationship for effective healing. A minority of participants reported formal education and training on the use of religion and spirituality in clinical practice; this indicated more training and education is needed. Suggestions are made on how a broader base of clinicians can be provided with a framework and lexicon for the therapeutic process of transformation and transcendence described by focus group participants. The development of guidelines for clinical supervisors in addressing religious and spiritual issues with supervisees and using spiritually based supervision techniques are indicated.




iv, 94 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 78-84)