Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social service-Religious aspects, Psychology and religion, Psychotherapy patients-Religious life, Psychotherapist and patient, Spirituality, Sin, Religion, Theologoy


The United States is a remarkably religious nation. It is inevitable that clinical social workers will encounter clients whose self understanding has been shaped, or impacted, troubled and or soothed by their faith. Our religiously minded clients need us to be able to speak to the questions of deep meaning their faiths challenge and answer. Yet, we are not clergy. We have a different and important role. Moreover we may be atheists ourselves. In addition we live in a religiously pluralistic country. There is no single faith language that can accommodate all religious people. Even if a social worker were able to speak a given faith with eloquence they could not hope to be equally articulate in all religions. Fortunately, there are theories in the psychoanalytic tradition that will allow the social worker to frame questions of deep meaning in a way that will resonate with religiously concerned clients while preserving the essentially non religious character of our clinical work. This thesis is a cross-disciplinary approach utilizing particular theology and psychodynamic theories toward working with religious clients.




iii, 91 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 84-91)