This international volume provides a comprehensive account of contemporary research, new perspectives and cutting-edge issues surrounding religion and spirituality in social work. The introduction introduces key themes and conceptual issues such as understandings of religion and spirituality as well as definitions of social work, which can vary between countries. The main body of the book is divided up into sections on regional perspectives; religious and spiritual traditions; faith-based service provision; religion and spirituality across the lifespan; and social work practice. The final chapter identifies key challenges and opportunities for developing both social work scholarship and practice in this area.

Including a wide range of international perspectives from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Malta, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the USA, this Handbook succeeds in extending the dominant paradigms and comprises a mix of authors including major names, significant contributors and emerging scholars in the field, as well as leading contributors in other fields of social work who have an interest in religion and spirituality.

The Routledge Handbook of Religion, Spirituality and Social Work is an authoritative and comprehensive reference for academics and researchers as well as for organisations and practitioners committed to exploring why, and how, religion and spirituality should be integral to social work practice.

part I|14 pages


chapter 1|12 pages

Religion and spirituality in social work

Creating an international dialogue
ByBeth R. Crisp

part II|37 pages

Regional perspectives

chapter 2|9 pages


It’s complicated
ByBeth R. Crisp

chapter 3|9 pages

Korean social welfare’s approach to spiritual diversity

ByEdward R. Canda, Jungrim Moon, Kyung Mee Kim

chapter 5|9 pages

Spirituality and religion in Maltese social work practice

A taboo?
ByClaudia Psaila

part III|83 pages

Religious and spiritual traditions

chapter 6|9 pages

The constructed ‘Indian’ and Indigenous sovereignty

Social work practice with Indigenous peoples
ByArielle Dylan, Bartholemew Smallboy

chapter 7|9 pages

The sacred in traditional African spirituality

Creating synergies with social work practice
ByRaisuyah Bhagwan

chapter 8|8 pages

Studying social work

Dilemmas and difficulties of Ultra-Orthodox women
ByNehami Baum

chapter 9|9 pages

Western Buddhism and social work

ByCaroline Humphrey

chapter 10|9 pages

Achieving dynamic balancing

Application of Daoist principles into social work practice
ByCelia Hoi Yan Chan, Xiao-Wen Ji, Cecilia Lai Wan Chan

chapter 11|7 pages

Celtic spirituality

Exploring the fascination across time and place
ByLaura Béres

chapter 12|10 pages

Material spirituality

Challenging Gnostic tendencies in contemporary understandings of religion and spirituality in social work
ByRussell Whiting

chapter 13|10 pages

Social work with Muslim communities

Treading a critical path over the crescent moon
BySara Ashencaen Crabtree

part IV|54 pages

Faith-based service provision

chapter 15|10 pages

Partners in service and justice

Catholic social welfare and the social work profession
ByLinda Plitt Donaldson

chapter 16|8 pages

Residential childcare in faith-based institutions

ByMark Smith

chapter 17|7 pages

The background and roles of the Salvation Army in providing social and faith-based services

ByMichael Wolf-Branigin, Katie Hirtz Bingaman

chapter 18|9 pages

South Asian gurus, their movements and social service

BySamta P. Pandya

chapter 19|9 pages

Reclaiming compassion

Auschwitz, Holocaust remembrance and social work
ByJohn G. Fox

chapter 20|9 pages

At a crossroads

The Church of Sweden and its role as a welfare provider in a changing Swedish welfare state
ByEva Jeppsson Grassman

part V|62 pages

Religion and spirituality across the lifespan

chapter 21|9 pages


The missing component in trauma therapy across the lifespan
ByHeather Marie Boynton, Jo-Ann Vis

chapter 22|1 pages

Spirituality as a protective factor for children and adolescents

ByLinda Benavides

chapter 23|10 pages

Responding to child abuse in religious contexts

ByPhilip Gilligan

chapter 24|7 pages

Queer meaning

ByMark Henrickson

chapter 25|8 pages

From entanglement to equanimity

An application of a holistic healing approach into social work practice with infertile couples
ByYao Hong, Celia Hoi Yan Chan

chapter 26|7 pages

Life’s end journey

Social workers in palliative care
ByMartha Wiebe

chapter 27|8 pages

Social work and suffering in end-of-life care

An arts-based approach
ByIrene Renzenbrink

part VI|113 pages

Social work practice

chapter 28|7 pages

Religious literacy in public and professional settings

ByAdam Dinham

chapter 29|8 pages

Spirituality and sexuality

Exploring tensions in everyday relationship-based practice
ByJanet Melville-Wiseman

chapter 30|8 pages

Mindfulness for professional resilience

ByJames Lucas

chapter 31|9 pages

Spiritual competence

The key to effective practice with people from diverse religious backgrounds
ByDavid R. Hodge

chapter 32|9 pages

A spiritual approach to social work practice

ByAnn M. Carrington

chapter 33|9 pages

Critical spirituality and social work practice

ByFiona Gardner

chapter 35|9 pages

Holistic arts-based social work

ByDiana Coholic

chapter 37|9 pages

The spiritual dimensions of ecosocial work in the context of global climate change

ByFred H. Besthorn, Jon Hudson

chapter 38|11 pages

Ultimate concerns and human rights

How can practice sensitive to spirituality and religion expand and sharpen social work capacity to challenge social injustice?
ByFran Gale, Michael Dudley

chapter 39|10 pages

Addressing spiritual bypassing

Issues and guidelines for spiritually sensitive practice
ByMichael J. Sheridan

part VII|10 pages


chapter 40|8 pages

Developing the agenda for religion and spirituality in social work

ByBeth R. Crisp