SOCW-6210-6351-W9-ReponsesResponse 1: Spiritual Development Respond to at least two colleagues in one of the following ways:State how your colleague’s examples of spirituality’s influence in client relationships resonate with you. Provide support for your perspective. State whether you are likely to use your client’s strategy in your own social work practice, and explain why. Be sure to support your responses with specific references to the resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references. Colleague 1:  As future social workers, we are in a unique position to guide our potential clients to their most desireable outcomes, regardless of whether or not we are in agreement.  When we enter into this field, we do so with the understanding that our clients’ beliefs and resulting goals are to be maintained with utmost priority.  It would be a violation of our code of conduct to not conduct client-professional interactions in this manner, and therefore, remaining unbiased when providing counseling and implementing intervention is an integral part of this profession (Code of Ethics of the NASW, 2008). This will become particularly challenging, however, when a client’s spiritual beliefs do not align, or even negate, those of the professional charged with their guidance.  In order to be prepared for these interactions, developing a cultural competence of the client is vital to successful interactions (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2016).  Although this competence is achieved over time, research can be conducted even before meeting with the client to understand the beliefs and values that define their religion.  In the Muslim religion, for example, it is not acceptable for a man to touch a woman, other than his wife.  Knowing this information prior to an initial meeting, the female professional would understand how to properly greet her client, which will most definitely not include a handshake.  Secondly, views regarding abortion are affiliated with specific religions.  Catholics, for example, take a pro life stance on this controversial topic.  This religion strongly asserts than any unborn fetus is a human being and therefore, abortion can be viewed as murderous.  While not every Catholic may hold this unwavering belief, understanding this is a belief held by many practicing Catholics may guide initial interactions with a client carrying an unplanned pregnancy. As a practicing Roman Catholic, my interactions with future clients may also be affected.  While I understand the religion’s position on abortion, I do not necessarily hold the same emphatic views.  This understanding, yet my openness to consider specific circumstances, may help a client whose religion is an impacting factor in a life choice she has to make.  The Catholic religion also denounces adultery, regardless of the circumstances.  I can safely say I, too, do not believe adultery is acceptable.  However, as in any situation, I would feel more comfortable assessing the situation before making judgement.  This may present a challenge if working with a client in the throes of an adulterous relationship.  Each interaction with this client would have to be approached as unbiased and non judgmental. Awareness, above all else, is the foundation of establishing cultural competence, an integral piece of social work practice.  Research of cultures, both environmental and religious, should be the first step, particularly when working with new clients.  It is most important to maintain a professional demeanor of acceptance and understanding, even if specific points are not agreed upon.  Validation of a client’s situation and their life choices does not necessarily indicate agreement, but rather support.  Although we are working to become social workers, there must be a proverbial line drawn between our professional and personal lives, so as to not lose ourselves in our journey of guiding others. Colleague 2:  Spirituality plays a vital role in the lives of many people and whether or not they affiliate themselves with a religion; it somewhat influences their behavior and adds to their diversity. As social workers interact with their clients it is important that there are aware of their clients’ spirituality because it may very well be the contributing factor of their culture that affects the way they seek or receive help from social workers. Being aware, respectful and sensitive to our clients’ spirituality shows them that we are empathetic and looking out for their best interest. Spirituality includes one’s values, beliefs, mission, awareness, subjectivity, experience, sense of purpose and direction; spirituality is an important means by which many people organize their view of the world (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman 2016). While everyone may view the world in different light, a social worker has the role where he/she cannot let their spirituality affect the level of service they offer their client because it is never about them but about the clients. For example, if a member of the LGBTQ community seeks assistance the social worker cannot give them mediocre service because they don’t believe their lifestyle is right because they don’t identify with the norms of our society. Whatever assistance they seek the social worker should implement the GIM so they are able to be fair and cover everything they need to know in regards to the client to meet their needs and empower them. The Asian spirituality and culture portrays them as being tightly knitted so they believe that whatever it is they need to stick together so seeking help from social services goes against what they believe which will make it difficult for them to relate well with the social worker. Their worldview may affect those seeking help because they would seem like a failure if they seek help because that is not what they stand for. Therefore the social worker is going to have to be very sensitive and culturally aware of this population because divulging information will be harder from them; again the GIM will have to be implemented because every bit of information to be able to dissect their case and evaluate the services that they need and present it in such a way that it doesn’t offend them. One way in which my spirituality may support my social work practice is the fact that I believe that everyone should be treated equally and respected for who they are and where they come from. I also believe that not everyone is able to advocate for themselves should have someone to do so for them and this is where I fit in being an agent of change; Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman (2016) states spirituality are the personal search for meaning in life and have a value system. One possible barrier that may arise from my spirituality is not being able to help some clients because some clients may not open up to you once they think your religious affiliation is opposite from theirs and not seeing that religion doesn’t affect my ability to help. One strategy that would be effective for applying an awareness of spirituality to social work practice in general is to host seminars that would provide social workers with an array of information about cultures around the world and to key in on how their spirituality affects their ability to function. Social work has its historical roots in religious organizations where they have an appreciation and respect for religious beliefs that differ from their own beliefs (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016).The general gist is that a social worker religion should not affect their spirituality because it is in their spirituality that their morals and values are brought out.

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