Spiritual assessment with refugees and other migrant populations: A necessary foundation for successful clinical practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In light of the current global refugee crisis, social workers and other mental health professionals are increasingly likely to encounter refugees in various practice settings. For many refugees, receiving services is directly intersected by spiritual beliefs and practices in culturally unique ways. Research indicates that many, if not most, practitioners have received little training in spirituality and, consequently, may not consider refugees’ spirituality in their clinical assessment. The present article addresses this gap in practitioner training by explicating six intertwined rationales that underscore the importance of identifying and understanding refugees’ spiritual beliefs and practices. Together, these rationales illustrate why successful clinical practice with refugees and other migrant populations is often contingent upon integrating spirituality into clinical work, a process that starts with a spiritual assessment. The manuscript concludes by providing some practical suggestions for conducting an assessment in an effective and culturally sensitive manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • assessment
  • migrants
  • refugees
  • religion
  • spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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