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About this book

Written by two leading authors in the field, Social Work and Spiritualityprovides a critical engagement with the concept of spirituality and a much needed framework for the integration of spiritual care in mainstream practice. It isfundamental reading for all students of social work theory, ethics and practice.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Contemporary and historical contexts

Abstract
This book tackles and explores one of the most significant, important and controversial themes to emerge in social work in recent years. Spirituality has ‘come of age’. Throughout this book we explore why and how it should be taken seriously by social work practitioners, students and academics, for the simple reason that this is a profession which seeks to make an important contribution to human well-being.
Margaret Holloway, Bernard Moss

Chapter 2. Meaning, mystery and social work

Abstract
Chapter 1 highlighted some of the suspicions and antagonisms towards religion that were prevalent in the previous century as social work was seeking to ‘come of age’ as a profession. In many ways, the hard fought and preciously won battle to establish social work as a secular academic discipline and a respected profession has meant that many social workers will be extremely cautious about re-visiting this territory. They will be rightly suspicious if spirituality emerges as ‘religion in disguise’. We looked in Chapter 1 at some major contextual aspects for contemporary social work that imply that social work must take religion and spirituality into account. But more work is needed to tease out the differences as well as any similarities between these two phenomena.
Margaret Holloway, Bernard Moss

Chapter 3. Spiritual need

Abstract
Our discussion so far has been concerned with the broad dimension of spirituality, incorporating both positive and negative influences. Social work, however, is primarily concerned with problems and needs. Indeed, the concept of need is at the heart of social work. The ability to undertake an assessment of the ‘problem’ and intervene on the basis of that assessment marks the beginnings of the professionalisation of social work. Contemporary social work practice is very much concerned with the knowledge and skills required to undertake a needs assessment; the relationship between the social worker and service user in arriving at that assessment of need; and the matching of those needs with appropriate services and interventions. The questions which concern us are around how to undertake a genuinely needs-led assessment when constrained by the type and level of services available in the context of limited resources. Little attention is paid to the notion of need itself and why ‘meeting needs’ is an important aspect of social work. Possibly for this reason, social work has barely considered the dimension of spiritual need and its relevance to social work assessment (Holloway, 2007a).
Margaret Holloway, Bernard Moss

Chapter 4. Spirituality and the quality of life

Abstract
Our discussion of the ‘darkness’ has necessarily taken us into the back-waters of human despair, where the water flows sluggishly if at all, and where all manner of detritus gathers unchecked. We can become ‘rudderless’, lose momentum and become caught up with the sometimes swirling eddies that take us nowhere but leave us even more bewildered and lacking in direction. We yearn for fresh streams of clear running water, which gurgle and laugh and exhilarate; and when we see others paddling purposefully by, we are consumed with jealousy, envy, regret and remorse. It takes us by surprise, therefore, when someone chooses to paddle their canoe into our murky space, and offers as a fellow traveller to help lead us out. Human existence is a complex tapestry of dark and light, battleship greys and multicoloured rainbows. Or if we wish to stay with our watery imagery, the river of life will have its fast and slow sections: moments when we glide along effortlessly and enjoy the view, and moments when we are plunged into the rapids, or find ourselves marooned and stuck on a sandbank. At times we may even capsize; our travelling companions may lose their nerve or their strength; or we may lose them overboard and have to continue to paddle on alone. And we never know what is round the next bend, and whether there really is an ocean beckoning us at the river’s end, or a yawning chasm of empty nothingness.
Margaret Holloway, Bernard Moss

Chapter 5. Spiritual care

Abstract
In Chapter 3, we explored the concepts of spiritual need and spiritual pain and identified some of the situations in social work practice where both might be evident, and sometimes, even, be the root of the problem. We then looked at how a spiritual dimension might be incorporated into social work assessments. This chapter will engage with the tricky question of what, as a secular caring profession, we do about that? Some people, encountering a chapter titled ‘Spiritual Care’, might immediately assume this has nothing to do with social work, not least because for a ‘caring profession’ social work often seems to pay little attention to its caring role, preferring the term ‘intervention’. Furthermore, many of the recipients of ‘care’ dislike the term, preferring to be seen as ‘users’ of a service. Nevertheless, none of us can manage our daily lives wholly without services and support, and interacting with people who ‘care about us’ is an important element of our sense of well-being.
Margaret Holloway, Bernard Moss

Chapter 6. Spiritual care in the multidisciplinary team

Abstract
So far in this book we have been exploring spirituality, spiritual need and spiritual care largely from the perspective of the individual (albeit the individual in community) and in terms of the one-to-one encounter between the social worker and the service user. However, as the ‘Fellow Traveller’ model indicates, there may be several travellers for part or perhaps all of the journey. Such a model is very familiar to social work. Social work has increasingly found itself looking to combine its expertise with that of other members of the multidisciplinary team to provide a more effective response. Moreover, in the UK, where statutory work is the primary shaper of social work practice, interprofessional and multi-agency working is increasingly a government requirement. In this chapter we shall trace the development of the concept and practice of multidisciplinary working and consider how this applies to spiritual care.
Margaret Holloway, Bernard Moss

Chapter 7. Spirituality and community

Abstract
The extent to which spirituality has a community as well as an individual orientation has already been touched upon in earlier chapters. Time and time again we have recognised the importance of a social perspective to our discussion, not least when our quality of life, well-being, health and happiness are deeply influenced by our relationship with others, and in the ways in which we can often ‘find’ ourselves when we ‘lose’ ourselves in the care for others. We noted that in the post-modern era one of the attractions of the concept of spirituality is that it encourages individuals to explore their own interpretations of it, whether from a secular or a religious viewpoint. Each individual’s spirituality is therefore a reflection of, and to some extent a working out of, the world-view that they have chosen, in order to give meaning and purpose to their lives. In this regard it does not matter whether or not this individual ‘version’ of spirituality ‘chimes’ with other people’s: the acid test is whether it ‘works’ for the particular individual.
Margaret Holloway, Bernard Moss

Chapter 8. Global and multicultural perspectives

Abstract
One of the most exciting developments in social work over the last 10 years has been the emergence of international social work as a common cause in which developed and developing countries participate on increasingly equal terms. Central to this development is the recognition that universal elements of social work — such as the upholding of basic human rights, advocating for social justice, recognising the unique value of each individual life and the goal of individual well-being — are informed and framed by markedly different world-views. Indeed, it is sometimes argued that, despite the International Federation of Social Workers’ (IFSW) common definition of social work, contemporary social work itself is understood differently across cultures, variously affected by the processes of modernisation and its interface with tradition (Yip, 2005).
Margaret Holloway, Bernard Moss
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