1st Edition

Embedding Spirituality and Religion in Social Work Practice
A Socially Just Approach

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 8, 2022
ISBN 9780367677541
March 8, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

USD $39.95

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Book Description

Blending material from social work with religious and spiritual sources, this book makes explicit that engaging with spirituality in its broadest sense is an essential aspect of socially just social work practice. Gardner connects shared understandings of spiritual/religious traditions, critically reflective social work, First Nations relational world views, green and relational approaches.

Through multiple unique case studies, Embedding Spirituality and Religion in Social Work Practice: A Socially Just Approach outlines the theoretical framework of critical spirituality, which is explored as a way of workers’ understanding their own and others’ sense of meaning, whether it is spiritual and/or religious, and to encourage workers to be mindful, open, humble and energised as workers.

Combining the theoretical and practical, this book outlines strategies and processes to ensure social workers embed spirituality in their practice constructively and inclusively across all areas of practice. This book will be of interest to those engaged in the wider field of social work, from direct service to policy development.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Context and Theoretical Framework 1. Understanding spirituality and religion 2. Spirituality, Religion and Social Work – history and context 3. Building a theoretical framework for critical spirituality Part 2: Capacities and Processes for Embedding Spirituality and Religion in Social Work 4. Qualities of Critical Spirituality in Practice 5. Using Critical Reflection to Engage with Spirituality and Religion in Practice 6. Understanding the Spiritual Journey Part 3: Application to Practice: How to Include Spirituality and Religion in Ethical Social Work Practice 7. Embedding Spirituality and Religion in Practice: Working with Individuals and Families 8. Spirituality, Religion and the Broader Context: Organisational, Community and Policy Practice 9. Socially Just Spirituality: Engaging Ethically.

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Fiona Gardner practiced as a social worker for twenty years and now teaches and coordinates social work at La Trobe University’s Rural Health School. Fiona has run workshops on spirituality, supervision and critical reflection and researched and written widely on critical reflection and critical spirituality.


‘While crisis and uncertainty are central to the experience of living in the 21st century, so too is the need for that which is restorative. This is Fiona Gardner’s starting point as she wrestles with the complexities of what it means to be a person for whom aspects of religion/spirituality are both central to one’s identity and sense of meaning but at the same time often regarded as deeply flawed and problematic. This is social work scholarship at its best as Gardner grapples with the essence of what it is to be human and what really matters to create an understanding of social work practice which weaves together a multiplicity of factors including religion and spirituality, ethics, histories, theories, cultural and environmental contexts, and most importantly, lived experiences.’
Beth R. Crisp, Professor and Discipline Leader for Social Work at Deakin University, Australia