Developing spiritual competence in practice

David R. Hodge, Suzanne Bushfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This article defines and operationalizes the concept of spiritual competence. Most social workers have received little training on spiritual competence, which is a concern for at least three reasons: (1) Most practitioners affirm the importance of addressing spirituality in practice settings; (2) The NASW Code of Ethics requires services that address spirituality to be characterized by cultural competence; and (3) major accrediting agencies, such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), now require practitioners to explore client spirituality. To help practitioners understand and implement spiritual competence in their work with clients, a three-dimensional definition of spiritual competence is delineated, discussed, and illustrated with a three-part case example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-127
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Cultural competence
  • Religion
  • Spiritual competence
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education


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