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The role of religion and spirituality in social work practice: Views and experiences of social workers and students.

By Philip A. Gilligan and Sheila M. Furness


NoFindings from surveys of qualified social work practitioners and students indicate a need for\ud social work education and practice to focus attention both on the importance of religious and\ud spiritual beliefs in the lives of many service users and on the potential usefulness of religious\ud and spiritual interventions. In this British study, undertaken in 2003 and 2004, students were\ud less likely than their qualified colleagues to consider religious or spiritually sensitive interventions\ud as appropriate. Attitudes varied little between those students who held religious beliefs\ud and those who did not, but Muslim students and qualified social workers were more likely to\ud view these types of interventions as appropriate. The authors conclude that there is a clear\ud need for all social work practitioners and educators to give greater priority to exploring the\ud potential significance of religious and spiritual beliefs in their training, in their professional\ud practice and in the lives and perspectives of service users and colleagues. Social workers need\ud to be able to respond appropriately to the needs of all service users, including those for whom\ud religious and spiritual beliefs are crucial. `Culturally competent¿ practice depends, amongst\ud other things, on an understanding and appreciation of the impact of faith and belief.This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in British Journal of Social Work following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version: Gilligan, Philip A. and Furness, Sheila M. (2006). The role of religion and spirituality in social work practice: Views and experiences of social workers and students. British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 617-637, is available online at:

Topics: Religion, Spirituality, Social Work, Cultural competence, Sensitive interventions
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Bradford Scholars

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