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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Transpersonal theory and social work practice with couples and families.

Author: Cowley, A.S.
Author Background: Graduate School of Social Work, Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112-02060
Date 1999
Type Journal
Journal Title: Journal-of-Family-Social-Work
Volume/Pages 3(2): 5-21
Subject Matter Theories-; Social-work-practice; Couples-; Families
Abstract Working with families has always been an integral aspect of social work practice. Turn of the century family caseworkers were well ahead of other helping professionals in identifying the importance of considering families as a unit (Nichols & Schwartz, 1995), and Satir, who is credited as being the mother of family therapy (Kramer, 1995, p. 20) was a social worker. As counseling with families came into its own as a field of practice, it drew from different disciplines and theorists. Despite the proliferation of literally hundreds of models and paradigms for marital and family practice since the mid 1900s, what is still lacking is a theory that includes the spiritual dimension. Some of the literature in the field links marital therapy with religion or spirituality. However, the effort to make a connection between the major theory that focuses on the spiritual dimension (transpersonal theory), and ways of working with couples and families is still in its infancy (Brothers, 1992, 1996; Weinhold & Hendricks, 1993; Kramer, 1995). With few references on the fourth force of psychology to be found in literature related to work with couples and families, it may be helpful to put the development of transpersonal theory into historical context. (Introduction, edited.)