The relationship between spirituality and social work in working with individuals with substance misuse issues

Healy, Patrick (2011) The relationship between spirituality and social work in working with individuals with substance misuse issues. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This literature-based research investigates the relationship between spirituality and mindfulness meditation in working with individuals with substance misuse issues. Recently there has been an increasing interest and debate into the role of spirituality in social work practice in the UK, particularly as it can be argued that the UK has neglected to take into account the spiritual dimension of service users (Thompson, 2007). These debates have often focused on spirituality’s central role in helping service users navigate life challenges through the development of coping mechanisms and creating a sense of meaning and purpose in life. This study firstly looks at the role of spirituality within social work practice with particular focus on critically examining the concept of spiritual need and outlining the key contemporary debates. It was imperative to highlight this as it provides an overall context of how spirituality relates to social work. Secondly, this study critically analyses the model of mindfulness and meditation in relation to substance misuse and through adhering to the literature-based methodology. The author finds that there are distinct correlations between spirituality, mindfulness meditation, and substance misuse particularly with assisting with the development of effective coping strategies in the recovery stage of treatment. Furthermore, it was argued that mindfulness meditation may be advantageous in meeting the spiritual needs and goals of individuals with substance misuse issues, and may offer an alternative to the 12 Step Program of addiction recovery. The author also analyses how mindfulness meditation and spirituality offer opportunities in terms of providing practice that is service user-inclusive though adhering to the core fundamental social work values of anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice. Finally, the study investigates the role of collaborative inter-professional working and effective partnership working within the context of spirituality and its relationship with the mindfulness meditation approach. This is a particularly important area to analyse, as it is evident that collaborative inter-professional practice and partnership working offers both opportunities and challenges in terms of spirituality and mindfulness meditation. This study concludes that spirituality is significant to mindfulness meditation in working with individuals with substance misuse issues in building resilience and enabling clients to cope better through recovery and through acceptance of their thoughts, feelings and experiences. However, a key recommendation highlights the need for extensive research into spirituality and Mindfulness in relation to substance misuse in social work in order to fully understand its significance and ability to be a mechanism for change in social work practice.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > School of Health Sciences and Social Work
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2011 16:51
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:40

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