Administering spiritual assessments with refugees: An overview of conceptually distinct assessment options

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    3 Scopus citations


    The global refugee population has increased dramatically over the last decade, suggesting helping professionals will increasingly encounter refugees in diverse practice settings. Despite the central role spirituality plays in the lives of many refugees, the extant research suggests most practitioners have received minimal training in addressing this critical topic. To assist helping professionals provide effective and ethical services to the culturally unique refugee population, this article conceptualizes assessment as a two-stage process in which a brief assessment is universally administered to help legitimize spirituality in practice settings followed, if clinically warranted, by a comprehensive assessment. Five conceptually distinct comprehensive assessment approaches are discussed along with their respective strengths and limitations: spiritual histories—a completely verbally based approach—and four diagrammatic models: spiritual lifemaps, genograms, eco-maps and ecograms. Developing familiarity with a variety of comprehensive approaches equips practitioners to select the approach that best fits the interests and needs of both refugees and practitioners. Engaging refugees in this manner assists practitioners to optimize services by identifying spiritual resources that can be leveraged to solve problems and eliminate barriers to effective service provision.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)479-499
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


    • Assessment
    • Migrants
    • Refugees
    • Religion
    • Spirituality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Political Science and International Relations


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