6210 week 9 discussion response | SOCW 6210 – Human Behavior and the Social Environment II | Walden University


Discussion – Week 9

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Discussion: Spiritual Development

Do you identify as a spiritual or religious person? How might your spiritual identity influence your social work practice—both for those clients who have a similar worldview and those who do not?

Spirituality, which may or may not include involvement with an established religion, contributes to human diversity and influences behavior. Sensitivity to and respect for a client’s spiritual dimension reflects your appreciation of diversity and the code of ethics. As you consider the potential impact of your clients’ spirituality on their perspectives and behavior, you must also consider how your own spirituality might influence interactions with a client.

For this Discussion, you examine the potential effect of your spiritual views on social work practice and share strategies for being spiritually aware.

Due date: 01/28/2022

Respond to two colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

  • State how your colleague’s examples of      spirituality’s influence in client relationships resonate with you (My spirituality or religious convictions is      Christianity).      Provide support for your perspective.
  • State whether you are likely to use      your client’s strategy in your own social work practice, and explain why.

Make sure to provide APA citations and a reference list

Colleagues 1: McKayla Drew 

RE: Discussion – Week 9

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According to section 1.05a of the NASW Code of Ethics, “social workers should obtain education about and demonstrate understanding of the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical ability” (NASW, 2017). Social workers should present cultural competency and humility regarding clients’ religious beliefs (Zastrow et al., 2019). Similar to discussions about how a social worker should interact with a client of a different ethnicity or culture, social workers must put aside their personal beliefs in order to provide quality care to their clients (Zastrow et al., 2019).  This is something that will likely be more difficult than it will be easy, but it is an ethical responsibility that social workers must follow (NASW, 2017). One example of this would be a social worker working either in Hospice Care or the hospital setting. This social worker would need to support the spiritual and religious beliefs of the client when it comes to end-of-life decisions. This would include advocating for their religious ceremonies to be performed like last rites for Catholics and proper ancestral attire for Hmong culture (Her-Xiong & Schroepfer, 2018). Another example would be understanding end-of-life care for the Hmong community. Hmong culture believes in multiple souls. They believe that when a soul becomes frightened, sad, or lonely, it may leave the body. Hmong culture believes this causes the individual to become ill (Fadiman, 2012; Her-Xiong & Schroepfer, 2018). It would be essential to be sensitive to these beliefs when providing end-of-life care and the other cultural and spiritual beliefs of the Hmong community (Fadiman, 2012; Her-Xiong & Schroepfer, 2018; Zastrow et al., 2019). ).

I identify as a Christian, specifically following the Lutheran Religion. I would be able to use my religious beliefs, understandings, and values when working with a client who follows the same religion as I do and has similar beliefs. This connection would allow me to use the client’s spirituality as a strength and open up this avenue for resources if the client would be interested. However, a barrier to this is that I have a client who follows the Lutheran religion but is a part of a Lutheran Church that believes women do not have rights or a voice. This would be a barrier to work through to improve the client’s self-worth, self-esteem, and independence in order to help them help themselves. This would be a challenging client to work with because of this, but also because I would need to remind myself that while we share the same religion, we may not share the same beliefs. 

An individual’s belief system can be a powerful tool and strength to help guide clients in moving forward. It is essential to share awareness of spirituality in social work practice. The NASW Code of Ethics emphasizes the importance of advocating to promote conditions that encourage respect for cultural and social diversity (NASW, 2017, Section 6.04c). Social workers should also promote policies and practices that demonstrate respect for difference, advocate for cultural competence, and promote policies that support the growth of cultural knowledge (NASW, 2017, Section 6.04c). 



Fadiman, A. (2012). The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 

Her-Xiong, Y., & Schroepfer, T. (2018). Walking in two worlds: Hmong end of Life Beliefs & Rituals. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care, 14(4), 291–314. https://doi.org/10.1080/15524256.2018.1522288 

NASW. (2017). Code of Ethics. NASW – National Association of Social Workers. https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English.aspx.

 Zastrow, C. H., Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hessenauer, S. L.  (2019). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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Colleagues 2: Tamika Dukes 

RE: Discussion – Week 9

Explain how considerations about clients’ worldviews, including their spirituality or religious convictions, might affect your interactions with them. Provide at least two specific examples.

I believe spiritual or religious beliefs are equally crucial to understanding cultural beliefs. As social workers, it is our profession to remain competent and respectful. Spirituality and religion are especially apparent in older adulthood. Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2016) define spirituality as “the general human experience of developing a sense of meaning, purpose, and morality” (pp. 694). Religion is defined as the “formal institutional contexts of spiritual beliefs and practices (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, pp. 694, 2016). My spiritual/religious beliefs of Christianity could positively influence my social work practice because only a higher power such as God can judge; therefore, it is not my place to judge anyone else. This belief allows me to remain open-minded and accepting of all individuals as they are. Another way my Christianity could positively influence my social work practice is my belief teaches me that I should be helpful and love despite of people’s flaws. This belief pushes me to work hard to positively impact others’ lives and find a way to help them.

Explain one way your spirituality or religious convictions might support your work with a client and one barrier it might present.

Although my Christian beliefs can significantly impact my social work practice, my job as a social worker is to ensure that I am practice self-awareness to prevent my beliefs from impacting my practice. For example, Christianity does not support same-sex marriage; therefore, if a client came in with the same gender as a life partner, I show discrimination or disapproval of my client’s situation. If I am not careful reaction, it will cause my client to feel a lack of support and trust and possibly cause my client harm.

Share one strategy for applying awareness of spirituality to social work practice in general. Be sure to refer to the NASW Code of Ethics in your response.

One strategy for applying awareness of spirituality and religion to social work practice is to set boundaries with your clients (Wagenfeld-Heintz, 2009). According to the NASW ( 2017), Social workers who engage inappropriate physical contact with clients are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries that govern such physical contact. Setting boundaries can help social workers refrain from talking about their own religious or spiritual beliefs at all (Wagenfeld-Heintz, 2009). Setting boundaries will also allow you to focus and learn about your client’s beliefs and how you can use those beliefs to support your social work practice.


NASW. (2017). Code of Ethics. {Retrieved from National Association of Social Workers} https://www.socialworkers.org/ethics/

Wagenfeld-Heintz, E. (2009). Faith and its application to the practice of social work. Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging, 21(3), 182–199.

Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. Chapter 15.2, Spotlight on Diversity (pp. 694-696).

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