Journal Article

Religion and Spirituality in Social Work Education and Direct Practice at the Millennium: A Survey of UK Social Workers

Leola Dyrud Furman, Perry W. Benson, Cordelia Grimwood and Edward Canda

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 34, issue 6, pages 767-792
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Religion and Spirituality in Social Work Education and Direct Practice at the Millennium: A Survey of UK Social Workers

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In recent years, an expanding body of social work publications and professional conference presentations has materialized in the United States due to a resurgence of interest in spirituality and religion. In order to explore the level of interest in the United Kingdom, a random sample of 5,500 practising social workers from the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) membership were mailed a questionnaire that examined religious and spiritual beliefs, practices and affiliations. A total of 789 BASW members in direct practice from England, Scotland Wales, and Northern Ireland returned questionnaires, a response rate of 20 per cent. The majority of respondents believed that spirituality was a fundamental aspect of being human. More than three-quarters of the sample reported little or no content on religion and spirituality in their training programme. Respondents strongly approved of raising the topic of religion and spirituality with clients who are experiencing terminal illness or bereavement. This also held true in matters of adoption and foster parenting. Approximately 47 per cent of all respondents believed that including religion and spirituality in direct practice was compatible with social work’s mission. This sample may represent those social workers with a stronger interest in religion and spirituality than a random sample of the general population of UK social workers. These findings, nevertheless, raise concern about the availability of practice models and training curricula for social work practitioners and students.

Keywords: social work; religion; spirituality; education; practice

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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