The benefits of integrating clergy into social work practice
Regardless of their beliefs, many Americans are deeply religious and turn to their faith to help them get through many of life's difficult times. Due to the comfort religion can provide some people, many social workers look to clergy for support when helping their patients. While this cannot be done with every client, many professionals find that, if done correctly, bringing clergy into the equation can ensure that people are spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically well.
In the resources below, people who are earning a master's in social work, or MSW degree, can learn the benefits of working with clergy, as well as when this practice should be used with patients.
Religious beliefs in the U.S.
Before they decide whether or not to use clergy in their treatments, social work degree seekers should have a good understanding of religious beliefs in the U.S. The resources below provide a wide variety of information on this topic, which may help students form a well-educated opinion on the subject of clergy in social work.
Popular religions in the U.S.: This website by the Pew Research Center indicates that the most popular religion in the nation is currently Christianity. However, as there are many sects of Christianity, social work degree seekers may benefit from staying informed on the basic beliefs and practices of each one.
Fast facts about American religion: Using this website by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, students can find a wide variety of information on religion in the U.S., including the average size of churches, the number of people who regularly go to church and the number of religious congregations in the nation.
Religion by area: Most social work degree seekers know that people's religious preferences vary by their location. This resource provides various maps that allow individuals to see which areas have the largest concentrations of certain religions.
Decline in American religion: Various reports have indicated that atheism is increasing across the nation as people gradually turn away from the religion of their parents. Social workers may want to keep this in mind when considering whether or not to integrate clergy into their practice.
Using clergy in social work
The use of clergy members in social work is a relatively controversial topic, as many professionals do not feel that clergy are qualified to treat various disorders and illnesses as well as individuals who have an MSW degree or other credentials. However, others believe that, if used correctly, clergy can be a great benefit in ensuring patients' overall well-being. The resources below may give students a better idea of the role that clergy can, and perhaps should, play in their practice.
Connecting with clergy: This website by Social Work Today discusses whether or not the use of clergy can be effective as part of a treatment plan. While many professionals are still skeptical of clergy members' qualifications to give people treatment, this resource states that various studies have shown that support from clergy can, in fact, help people recover, especially when it comes to alcoholism and substance abuse.
Clergy and intimate partner violence: The Society for Social Work and Research states that many people exclusively talk to clergy members when faced with intimate partner violence. For this reason, social workers may want to get a better understanding of how clergy deal with this issue so they can create a plan to work together to combat this problem.
Dual roles of clergy and social workers: This pilot study by the North American Association of Christians in Social Work examines social work professionals who are also ordained Baptist clergy. While not all social workers hold jobs in a church, this resource provides an interesting look at the duality between social work and religion.
Social workers and clergy working together: The Utah chapter of the National Association of Social Workers has created this article to discuss whether or not social workers should rely on clergy for assistance. Along with outlining the benefits of this collaboration, the resource lists specific ways in which social workers and clergy can assist each other in providing ideal treatment options for patients.
How effective are clergy in end-of-life care?: Social workers may know that they can play a large role in supporting individuals and their families in end-of-life care. However, this resource examines the effectiveness of clergy in this area, which may give social workers a better idea of whether or not they should bring clergy into their practice.
Clergy's role in substance abuse treatment: Many social workers assist individuals in overcoming a substance abuse problem. This website provides information about substance abuse in the U.S. and examines the effectiveness of clergy in treating these issues.
POSTED BY: ec_admin - January 20th, 2012 at 03:52pm ( 0 )