SOCW6333 WK7 Walden Spirituality and Culture Discussion

Due 04/12/2019

Respond to at least two of your colleagues’ postings. Be sure to respond to a colleague who chose at least one different setting than you did. Respond in one or more of the following ways:

  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting with an additional skill needed for spiritual and cultural competency.

Response to Liam

Because topics like religion and spirituality are most often discussed between supervisors and supervisees (Hull, Suarez, & Hartman, 2016), and the discussion of such topics can be uncomfortable for some, I would set a tone of understanding, support, and learning facilitation from the outset of my work with future supervisees. I would assess my supervisee’s knowledge of, comfort level with, and values relating religion early on in the relationship, and encourage my supervisee to explore how those things may impact their client and the client’s treatment process. I would then ask them to share the findings from their introspection, listen and respond non-judgmentally, and work with them to identify strategies and tools that would allow them to ethically and comfortably provide client care to individuals with a variety of different spiritual and religious beliefs. As a part of this, I may recommend that the supervisee learn more about spiritual practices outside of their own, possibly in conjunction with another peer, in order to gain knowledge about the beliefs, culture, and norms associated with them, process what they learned and how they responded emotionally, and brainstorm how that knowledge could be applied to clinical practice. I may also recommend that the supervisee review peer-reviewed research articles and models geared towards integrating spiritual beliefs with clinical work.

Part of why I would recommend these aforementioned practices to a supervisee, is because they are what I plan to do to broaden my knowledge of different spiritual practices and how they can be integrated into clinical work. I am not a particularly religious person, so while I do have some spiritual beliefs, they do not play any major role in my day-to-day life. Perhaps because of that, I believe that spirituality should be incorporated into work with clients when, and only when, that client’s spirituality is either impacting their symptoms or treatment, either positively or negatively, or the client has identified their spirituality as a strength. At that point, the client would have opened the door for spirituality to be utilized as an intervention, so I would feel comfortable incorporating it into clinical practice. This is a bit of a double-edged sword. Because I do not have strong spiritual beliefs, I am less at risk of incorporating spirituality into sessions with clients who want more secular services. At the same time, for clients who do want spirituality incorporated into their treatment plan, or for those whose struggles or strengths are influenced by their spirituality, I am going to be disadvantaged by my lack of knowledge and exposure.

Spirituality can act as a mitigating factor for symptoms of vicarious trauma, just as vicarious trauma can negatively impact a person’s perceptions of and relationship with their spirituality (Wang, Stro sky, & Fletes, 2014). As a supervisor, I would need to be aware of this potential for a crisis of faith in individuals experiencing vicarious trauma, be able to accurately assess spiritual needs in the supervisee, and be knowledgeable of interventions and resources that could assist the supervisee in navigating the spiritual turmoil they are experiencing.


Hull, C. E., Suarez, E. C., & Hartman, D. (2016). Developing spiritual competencies in counseling: A guide for supervisors. Counseling And Values, 61(1), 111-126. doi:10.1002/cvj.12029

Wang, D. C., Strosky, D., & Fletes, A. (2014). Secondary and vicarious trauma: Implications for faith and clinical practice. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 33(3), 281-286.

Response to Nicole K

Approach Spirituality and Culture

Hull, Suarez and Hartman (2016) reported that clinical supervision is where discussions of spirituality and culture are addressed. Social workers often feel that they are not as trained in cultural competencies and this is why supervision is so important to cultivate this learning (Hull et al., 2016). If I were a supervisor or a leader of other helping professionals, I would open a dialogue about culture and what it means to the individual. Learning about one’s own culture is the first step because learning about your culture will allow for insight as to whether you experience countertransference or feel yourself getting “too close” to a client with similar views/practices. Once you understand your personal culture and how it impacts you, I would start a discussion on preconceived ideas/feelings and questions people have about different cultures.

Hull et al. (2016) discussed how attending spiritual/cultural gatherings is an appropriate intervention for staff to explore and become culturally competent. Attending a gathering for educational purposes will help my supervisees cultivate questions and gain insight(s) on different cultures. In addition, Hull et al. (2016) discussed how attending a gathering with multiple staff members adds a layer of accountability and comradery which is great to have a productive work environment.


One skill I need to be spiritually and culturally component is to be self-aware. Park, Currier, Harris and Slattery (2017) discussed how if a social worker is not self-aware this may create a religious bias or ethical problems within the practice. For example, my father immigrated to the U.S. when he was 16 years old and struggled to fit in. He adopted the dominant culture as his own, losing his personal beliefs and values. If I worked with an individual who was determined not to give up his/her values and shamed immigrants who did become oppressed and change, this may cause me to become defensive during sessions. Having self-awareness of the fact that my family has been touched by this cultural oppression will impact my views, but as a social worker I must have self-awareness and stop it from becoming an issue in my practice. Lu and Wan (2018) discuss how interaction with culture is on a subconscious level and how reflection will bring it to a conscious level which will create a more positive and competent practice. For example, I did not realize how I felt about individuals who, from my perspective are overly religious. My husband stopped me one day when I was saying how “people make the bible work for them even when it is wrong.” He pointed out how angry I sounded and how perhaps, I needed to figure out why subconsciously I was so upset about this. I still am finding new things about myself that want to change. Having a colleague, friend or supervisor point out subconscious behaviors or actions may be the best thing in order to gain self-awareness.


Hull, C. E., Suarez, E. C., & Hartman, D. (2016). Developing spiritual competencies in

counseling: A guide for supervisors. Counseling And Values, 61(1), 111-126. doi:10.1002/cvj.12029

Lu, C., & Wan, C. (2018). Cultural Self-Awareness as Awareness of Culture’s Influence on the

Self: Implications for Cultural Identification and Well-Being. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(6), 823–837.…

Park, C. L., Currier, J. M., Harris, J. I., & Slattery, J. M. (2017). Ethical considerations for

addressing spirtuality with trauma survivors from a reciprocal perspective. In Trauma, meaning, and spirituality: Translating research into clinical practice. (pp. 201–221). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.…

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