1st Edition

Spirituality in Mental Health Practice A Narrative Casebook

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    This key text presents an accessible and diverse exploration of spirituality in mental health practice, broadening the definition of spirituality to comprise a variety of transcendent experiences.

    Chapters include a brief history of the tensions of spirituality in mental health practice and consider a range of emerging topics, from spirituality among the elderly and energy work (Reiki), to spirituality in addiction recovery, incarceration, and hospice work. The book offers a close examination of the limits of the medical model of care, making a case for a more spiritually sensitive practice. Rich case examples are woven throughout, and the book is paired with podcasts that can be applied across chapters, illuminating the narrative stories and building active listening and teaching skills.

    Suitable for students of social work and counseling at master's level, as well as practicing clinicians, Spirituality in Mental Health Practice is an essential text for widening our understanding of how spiritual frameworks can enrich mental health practice.


    1. Spirituality and Bio-Psycho-Social Health Practices: Tensions, Questions, Conflicts, and Ethical Obligations, Anthony Nicotera

    2. Spiritual Emergence and Spiritual Emergency, Michael Garbe

    3. The Shared Spiritual Energy of Early Psychoanalytic Practice and Modern Alternative Therapies, Lynda Fabbo

    4. A Greater Power: The Role of Spirituality in Addiction Recovery, Debra Ruisard

    5. The Thin Place: A Bridge from Mental Illness to Transcendance, Cristina Blasoni

    6. Beyond Mindfulness: Accepting Death in Work With the Elderly, Robin Wiley

    7. LGBTQ Adolescents and the Quest for Spirituality, Erica Goldblatt Hyatt

    8. Spiritual Disruptions in Marriage and Spiritual Abuse in Divorce, Gila Cohen

    9. Job Crafting and the Helping Professions: Meaning Making as a Spiritual Experience, Kanako Okuda

    10. Coda or Chapter Ten: Ethnicity and Spirituality, Pregnancy and Loss: A Personal Narrative, Miriam Jaffe



    Miriam Jaffe, PhD, LSW, is an associate teaching professor of graduate composition in the Rutgers University Writing Program. She specializes in life-writing and narrative activism. She is the lead editor of casebooks on K-12 schools as therapeutic communities, sexual trauma, and LGBTQ sexual trauma.

    Widian Nicola, LCSW, DSW, is a clinical social worker, qualitative researcher, and assistant professor at Seton Hall University.

    Jerry Floersch, LCSW, PhD, is an associate professor of social work at Rutgers University. He is the author of Meds, Money, and Manners: The Case Management of Severe Mental Illness and co-author of Qualitative Methods for Practice Research. His clinical practice focuses on adolescents and adults.

    Jeffrey Longhofer, PhD, LCSW, is an associate professor of social work at Rutgers University. He is the author of A-Z of Psychodynamic Practice and the co-author of On Being and Having a Case Manager. His clinical practice focuses on children, adolescents, and adults.


     "This carefully crafted book presents detailed narratives of spiritually sensitive clinical practice that stretch across various worldviews and life challenges of clients. It integrates professional knowledge and values with insights from the very personal spiritual journeys of the authors. Case presentations are matched with deep reflective questions and podcast interviews with professional helpers. Thus, this wise book encourages close, empathic listening and communicating, both within clinical encounters and in readers’ own personal and professional development."Edward R. Canda, PhD, professor, School of Social Welfare, The University of Kansas

    "This beautiful book embraces the tensions that exist when doing clinical practice with spiritually diverse populations. Centering the stories of clinicians, students, and clients, the rich phenomenological narratives remind readers that storytelling and the art of listening are pathways to spiritually sensitive practice. The imagery and attention to the details of lived experiences and settings fertilize the ground for deepening empathy, creating more participatory forms of knowledge, and strengthening opportunities for transformational change."Loretta Pyles, PhD, professor, School of Social Welfare, State University of New York at Albany