Social workers struggle to talk religion and spirituality, study says

A new study finds many licensed clinical social workers lack the training and confidence to discuss matters of faith with clients.
Licensed clinical social worker Christen Argueta often delved into clients’ religious and spiritual views when she worked for a nonprofit counseling agency for children and families. The Houston-based counselor said it was important to do so because matters of faith can be crucial in understanding, and helping heal, the entire person.

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I am a mental health clinician working for a non profit in the social work field. I find that religion and spirituality comes up most often when discussing grief and loss.

I had experience psychiatric social worker some years ago and unless the client brought up their religion I normally wouldn’t initiate any discussion on that as the client could feel we were perhaps trying to influence him/her.

Even when they did bring up their religion I would normally not respond in such a way as to suggest I was trying to influence them.:wink:

This is important in Michigan where I work as a mental health social worker with homeless adults. Our agency (the county mental health authority) was cited for lack of spiritual assistance and inquiry by our agency. In other words, we should be asking about someone’s faith and help them make connections, if they wish. I helped devise the module that everyone was required to take as part of our corrective action. I think it’s becoming more common as church is a great way for those who are hurting to find support, comfort, and assistance. Sadly, I think our Diocese needs to have a training for it’s priests on how to work with mentally ill adults. I hope churches will reach out to those in need and welcome them.

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