School for Social Work
This is a qualitative, exploratory study in which thirteen women were interviewed about their belief in a God and/or the Divine as feminine and how they understand this belief to affect their relationship to their sense of self, and to their community. This study was undertaken to explore how women who hold this belief, use a female God concept as an internal and external resource. This study used a non-random sample. A semi-structured interview was conducted with each participant either in-person or over the telephone. The inclusion criteria to participate in the study were: identifies as a woman, eighteen years of age or older, holds some belief in God as female. The average age of participants was 45, with an age range of 28 to 63 years. Through thematic analysis, a number of overarching themes emerged including: Embracing womaness, Source of inner strength, The importance of connection, Fluidity of belief, and Creating community. These themes illustrate how the participants' belief in a Divine as feminine, deeply affects internal and external relationships. The themes that rose in the interviews open the door for a fuller integration of self psychology, and an examination of spirituality in social work training, and practice. Additionally there is a need for future research into women's development of self, and women's relationship to female-centered spirituality within a clinical social work context.
Melmed, Stephanie Amanda., "Source of connection, strength and identity : an exploration of how a belief in the divine as feminine affects women's internal and external relationships" (2007). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.