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date: 06 December 2023

Human Needs: Religion and Spiritualitylocked

Human Needs: Religion and Spiritualitylocked

  • Edward R. CandaEdward R. CandaSchool of Social Welfare, University of Kansas


This entry provides a brief introduction to social work's approach to spirituality and religion, focusing on definitions, history, current practices, ethical and human-diversity issues, relevance to clients, practice applications, best-practices research, and controversies. Emphasis is given to a spiritually sensitive and culturally competent approach to social work that honors diverse religious and nonreligious spiritual perspectives of clients and their communities. Although American social work is the focus, some international developments are included. References and websites are listed to facilitate identification of resources for addressing spiritual diversity in practice.


  • Human Behavior
  • Religion and Spirituality

Updated in this version

Bibliography expanded and updated to reflect recent research and scholarship. Discussion of definition of spirituality expanded. New information added about NASW practice standards and CSWE website, Religion and Spirituality Clearinghouse.

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