Spiritual Competence: What It Is, Why It Is Necessary, and How to Develop It

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    28 Scopus citations


    Various professional standards underscore the importance of providing effective services to all people, including those from diverse religious backgrounds. Yet despite these standards, studies have repeatedly found that most social workers receive little training in navigating this aspect of diversity during their graduate educations. To address this lack of training, the present article discusses a concept that is foundational for effective service provision with spiritual clients from diverse religious backgrounds—spiritual competence. More specifically, this article outlines what spiritual competence is and why it is important in therapeutic work, and then offers a number of strategies for developing spiritual competence. As such, this article helps equip practitioners to provide more ethical, effective services in a nation characterized by increasing religious diversity.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)124-139
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 3 2018


    • Cultural competence
    • direct practice
    • religion
    • spiritual competence
    • spirituality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Education


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