Human Behavior and the Religious/Spiritual Environment
Human Behavior and the
In December 2002, President George W. Bush
signed an executive order prohibiting
discrimination against any organization on the
basis of religion or religious belief in the
administration or distribution of federal financial
assistance for social services programs (Executive
Order No. 13,279, 2002).
O Although public funding cannot be used for inherently
religious activities such as worship, religious
instruction, or proselytization, organizations may
maintain autonomy in their names, display of religious
symbols, hiring decisions, and use of religious
terminology in mission statements and other
O Such autonomy was previously unavailable to faith-
related organizations receiving public funds for social
services programs; funding was contingent on
removing religious references and symbols in
services settings and complying with the same
regulations and standards applied to secular nonprofit
Questions that may be asked in
reference to practice ethics include
O Is there potential for discrimination against the client
if she or he engages in services? Will efforts likely
be made to trivialize or change a client's belief
O Does the client have agency and physical and
mental capacity to resist religious program elements
if she or he objects to them?
O Does the provider engage in funding or hiring
processes likely to conflict with the client's beliefs or
O Does the provider have the training, skills, and
resources necessary to meet the client's presenting
In addition to practice, ethical dilemmas are often
riddled with spiritual values.
O What comes to mind? Likely ethical dilemmas about aborti
on, right to die, self‐ disclosure,
O self determination, corporal punishment, discipline of
O children, divorce, and medical care are
O just a few that supervisors/supervisees need to address an
d understand for competency in
O practice. It is too late to say, “I didn’t know s/he
O believed …”. Added to ethical dilemmas is
O the cultural understanding of the client. One’s cultue is ofte
n closely tied to one’s religion
O or spiritual beliefs and practices
Six elements of spirituality in clinical practice that may be
adapted to supervision as a guide for supervisors as they seek
to share and understand spiritual or religious views and
O 1. Supervisor/worker views of meaning of life, meaninglessness, and hope/
Values often determine how we view ourselves, others, our world and govern
O behave, make choices and deal with losses.
Mortality: Exploring and understanding beliefs and feelings about death, den
O death, and fear of death. How do we relate to the fragileness of life?
Our universal view of self and others. Views begin with parents and develop
O significant relationships and experiences throughout the lifespan. Our views
O values) are influenced by culture, religion, relationships and basic beliefs.
O 5. Attitude toward suffering both internal and external.
O 6. Transcendence: acceptance, responsibility, peace, and at‐one‐ness.
Spiritual Health and Social
Is Spirituality good when
working with a client?
O Spirituality is very important, many
cultures are focused around religion and
or spiritual beliefs.
O One’s beliefs have a profound effect on
O Treatment options
O Martin, Lana.
"THE IMPACT OF RELIGION/SPIRITUALITY IN SOCIAL WORK SUPERVISION."htt
p://www.nacsw.org/Publications/Proceedings2008/MartinLImpact.pdf. N.p., n.d. Web.
12 Apr 2014. <http://www.nacsw.org/>.
O Tangenberg, Kathleen. "Faith-Based Human Services Initiatives: Considerations for
Social Work Practice and Theory." http://web.b.ebscohost.com.hrt-
40b7b7987248@sessionmgr115&vid=2&hid=122. N.p., 01 Jul 2005. Web. 12 Apr
O Skelton, G. (Photographer). (2014, January 10). Belfast Met's Gerry Skelton -
Interview on Spirituality [Print Photo]. Retrieved from
O (2009, May 03). ssw511 ssw511·1 video Subscribe 3 1,960 Like 3 Dislike 0 I like
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