Author ORCID Identifier

Ann M. Callahan ORCID iD icon


Social Work

Department Name When Scholarship Produced

Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date

Summer 6-17-2021


Sensitivity to the importance of spirituality in social work practice has grown over the past thirty years (Kvarfordt, Sheridan, and Taylor, 2017; Oxhandler & Pargament, 2014). Research suggests that social workers often consider spirituality as an expression of cultural diversity, if not inherent to being human (Barker, 2007; Kvarfordt et al., 2017; Lun & Wai, 2015). Depending on how spirituality is defined or experienced, spirituality can be a source of strength or exacerbate suffering, particularly when a client is in crisis (Callahan, 2017). Social workers must be prepared to engage in spiritually sensitive social work (Cunningham & de Saussure, 2019; Callahan, 2017; Dudley, 2016). Professional ethics provide an essential foundation (Hodge, 2005, 2006, 2016; Rice & McAuliffe, 2009; Sherr, Singletary, & Rogers, 2009; Sheridan, 2010). The National Association of Social Workers ([NASW], 2017) Code of Ethics outlines professional values, principles, and standards. Additional NASW (2015) guidelines inform cultural competence. While professional duties and anticipated consequences can inform spiritually sensitive social work (Osma & Landau, 2006; Congress, 2000; Abramson, 1996), virtue ethics and ethics of care lend important insights as well (Banks & Gallagher, 2009; Chamiec-Case, 2007, 2013). This workshop will review ethical guidelines that clarify how participants may address spirituality in social work practice. A virtue-care approach will be the primary focus with opportunities for participants to practice application through case scenarios.

Conference Name

Society for Spirituality & Social Work’s Annual Conference: New Beginnings June 16-18, 2021

Included in

Social Work Commons