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Spirituality,Religion,and Social Work - Research Paper Example

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There has been a growing interest in the application of religion and spirituality within the field of social work, over the years. This has been documented with the help of various studies carried out by researchers…
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Spirituality,Religion,and Social Work
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Spirituality,Religion,and Social Work

Download file to see previous pages... The relationship between religion, spirituality and social work, however, is not a recent phenomenon, but in fact has existed historically and share a consistent relationship. Such a positive and co-dependent relationship between religion, spirituality and social work, can be attributed to the Postmodernist society we live in today, where there has been a steady and systematic increase in the introduction of new social work policies, which assimilate religion and spirituality; and where the social workers, are known to have a more positive approach towards the inclusion of religion and spirituality within the spheres of social work. There have been various studies which have documented the effect, introduction, assimilation and impact of religion and spirituality within the domains of social work (Furman, Benson, Canda, & Grimwood, 2005; Sheridan & Amato-Von Hemert, 1999; Sheridan, Bullis, Adcock, Berlin, & Miller, 1992). This paper, discusses the various signifcance of the problem, and the impact of such an inclusion on social work and workers. Definition and Meaning of Terms: Religion and Spirituality These terms are defined in various ways by different authors, and research literature on the subject implies that there is no one clear or specific definition for either of these terms. Hence defining the terms in a precise manner has been a challenging task for the authors, since it encompasses a wide area of subjects and concepts. However for the purpose of this study, a general and commonly used definition is taken into consideration. Spirituality is defined as: "a complex, intrapsychic dimension of human development” (Derezotes, 1995, p.1) “the relationship of the human person to something or someone who transcends themselves” (Bullis, 1996, p. 2), “devotion to the immaterial part of humanity and nature” (Barker, 1995, p. 363), “the human search for purpose and meaning of life experiences” (Sheridan & Amato-von Hemert, 1999, p. 129), “a relationship to force greater than oneself” (Netting, Thibault & Ellor, 1990), and “the essence of the individual” (Carroll, 1997, p. 27), or “one’s basic nature” (Carroll, 1998, p. 2). Religion on the other hand is defined as: “the external de?nition of faith” (Joseph, 1988, p. 444), “a search for the signi?cant in ways related to the sacred” (Pargament, 2002, p. 169), “an organized set of beliefs and practices of a faith community” (Furman & Chandy, 1994, p. 21), “believing” (Gotterer, 2001, p. 188), and the “acceptance of a particular set of beliefs and ethics” (Cascio, 1998, p. 524). Thus, the definitions of spirituality and religion in general, are more or less focused on the general meaning of the terms and the areas it encompasses. There is however a subtle difference between the two, as observed from the literature. The concept of spirituality may also include a special reference to the relationship between individuals, the environment to which they belong, their traditions, customs or heritage or any higher power in which they believe (Canda, 1988; Dudley & Helfgott, 1990; Furman, Benson, Canda, & Grimwood, 2005; Joseph, 1988; Krieglstein, 2006; Hodge & McGraw, 2006). Religion on the other hand, is comparatively a narrow term, albeit more structured with regard to the beliefs, or rules followed by a community or an organization. However, there is a slight difference of opinion among various researchers and practitioners with regard to the difference between the two terms while yet others do not believe in such differences. According to some religion is more focused on communities while spirituality is an individual thing, while yet others question the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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