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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Constructing a place for religion and spirituality in psychodynamic practice

Author: Northcut, T.B.
Author Background: School of Social Work, Loyola Univ. of Chicago, 820 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
Date Summer/2000
Type Journal
Journal Title: Clinical-Social-Work-Journal
Volume/Pages 28(2): 155-169
Subject Matter Postmodernism; Clinical social work; Psychotherapy; Psychodynamics; Spirituality; Religion
Abstract A focus on spirituality has become in vogue for the media as well as for professional conferences, journals, and schools of social work. Likewise, clients are struggling with how to integrate religion and/or spirituality with their therapy. The premise of this paper is that social workers have a role in assisting their clients with this integration and to consider some of the current postmodern approaches. However, in attempting such an integration it is important to retain certain parameters and guidelines that have been helpful in clinical social work. This paper examines how to make room for religion and spirituality in psychodynamic psychotherapy and the ways in which constructivism can be helpful in this process. The influences of psychodynamic theories and postmodernism shape the discussion in the following areas: definition of terms, self-awareness, deconstruction of clients' narrative, assessment of strengths and vulnerabilities, and reconstruction of a useful narrative. (Journal abstract, edited.)