Callahan, A. M. (2021, June). A virtue-care approach to spiritually sensitive social work. Paper presented for the Society for Spirituality & Social Work’s Annual Conference: New Beginnings June 16-18, 2021 (virtual format).
Author ORCID Identifier
Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work
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.
Society for Spirituality & Social Work’s Annual Conference: New Beginnings June 16-18, 2021