Using prayer and other forms of positive mental energy in direct practice: An evidence-based perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Practitioners receive little guidance regarding the use of spiritual interventions such as intercessory prayer during their graduate educational programs. Yet-for better or worse-a surprisingly high percentage of social workers appear to pray verbally with, and/or silently for, their clients. Drawing from an evidence-based perspective, this article attempts to determine (1) if prayer and other forms of positive mental energy should be used in practice settings and (2) if informed consent should be obtained prior to engaging in silent prayer for clients. The evidence suggests, respectively, an equivocal answer and a tentative negative. For practitioners that believe the present research supports the use of prayer, guidelines are provided to help ensure that the practice is conducted in an ethical manner that safeguards client autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-138
Number of pages18
JournalSmith College Studies in Social Work
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010



  • Direct practice
  • Positive mental energy
  • Prayer
  • Spiritual interventions
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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