NASW joins religion, spirituality work group

Feb 9, 2012

By Paul R. Pace, NEWS Staff

A new resource has been launched that provides social workers and educators greater insight into the religious and spiritual viewpoints of the clients they serve.

“It’s important to recognize a client’s spirituality and religion and acknowledge it,” said Sharon Issurdatt, NASW senior practice associate.

To further this effort, NASW has become a member of the Council on Social Work Education’s Religion and Spirituality Work Group. It represents 18 members from various social work organizations and schools of social work, including the North American Association of Christians in Social Work in Connecticut, Yeshiva University in New York, The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Brigham Young University in Utah and the Islamic Social Services Association in Canada.

“A person’s spirituality is not as apparent as race or age,” Issurdatt explained. “At NASW, we realize that the work group’s educational resources are a huge asset in helping people. We also want social workers and social work educators to be aware of the latest trends in social work education as it relates to religion and spirituality.”

Michael Sherr, associate professor at the School of Social Work at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is the group’s chairman. He said the idea for the group’s formation arose from the fact that religion and spirituality are forms of a person’s diversity, just as race and ethnicity.

Remaining unbiased toward a person’s diversity is a core competency that is encouraged in social work education and practice, Sherr said. What has been missing, however, is a central resource of information on the topic that can assist social workers and educators. To remedy this, the group posted a clearinghouse of resources last year that can be found at

From the February 2012 NASW News. NASW members click here for the full story.