Addressing spiritual bypassing

Issues and guidelines for spiritually sensitive practice

Authored by: Michael J. Sheridan

The Routledge Handbook of Religion, Spirituality and Social Work

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138931220
eBook ISBN: 9781315679853
Adobe ISBN:


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The relationship between spirituality and social work has had a long history in the United States, with five broad phases as outlined by Canda and Furman (2010). Preceded by thousands of years of Indigenous ways of helping, the profession’s sectarian origins at the turn of the twentieth century were based primarily on Judeo-Christian understandings of charity and communal service. A period of professionalism and secularisation emerged from the 1920s to the 1970s, during which secular humanistic and scientific understandings of the human condition were viewed as a more valid base for the profession. From 1980 to 1995, the profession witnessed a resurgence of interest in spirituality, which yielded tremendous growth in both knowledge dissemination and organisational efforts dedicated to promoting the integration of spirituality and social work while being firmly positioned within the profession’s core values and ethics.

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