ERIC Number: ED444746
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Jun-30
Mixing Child Services with Spirituality: How Do the Two Interface To Help Children and Families Cope?
Social service programs for children and families have often distanced themselves from issues of religion and spirituality. However, in recent years, children's services and family therapy have gradually moved toward stronger emphases on ecosystemic influences, including those from organized religions. The overlapping and interacting roles of spirituality/religion and family therapy include a desire to foster a sense of perspective, give meaning to life, provide rituals, provide social support, structure society and set norms, give members an identity and heritage, facilitate positive change in individuals, protect members' welfare, and educate members. Religious parents and their children come into service agencies with a system of values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors prescribed by their religious orientation. One's religious/spiritual orientation may foster healthy or pathological behavioral patterns in children and families. Child services can help revitalize the family's spiritual energy and motivation, and search for and affirm the meanings of the family relationship. Child therapists and others can use therapeutic disclosure of spiritual self, incorporate the family's spiritual world view and metaphors, and reframe issues. When appropriate, explicitly religious/spiritual practices may be used. Religious/spiritual strategies can be contraindicated at times for ethical and legal reasons. When explicitly spiritual activities are not appropriate, child service providers can foster child and family's spiritual values of trust, patience, repentance, forgiveness, and acceptance. Service providers should be aware of one's religious/spiritual self and its limits, respect clients' religious authority, observe church-state boundaries, and avoid imposing religious values on clients and practicing beyond one's professional competence. (Contains 35 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Poster session presented at the Head Start National Research Conference (5th, Washington, DC, June 28-July 1, 2000).