review chapter 13 transpersonal theory https :// www W r i t i n g

review chapter 13 transpersonal theory https :// www W r i t i n g


When you consider social work’s foundation rooted in a Christian background and the different populations that have historically used faith and religion to get through difficult times, it is a little surprising that its role in social work practice became less prominent over the years until a recent resurgence. The theories we read this week came about in the late 50’s and early 60’s which wasn’t that long ago (if some of you can actually believe that!). As social workers trained to use a strengths perspective might know, it just makes sense that you should capitalize on someone’s beliefs as one tool in your arsenal toward well-being, if at all possible. Another benefit of this perspective is that even if you nor your client identify as “religious” or “spiritual,” to include everything that goes along with that, its principles still hold therapeutic value because sometimes it takes deep introspection to effectively resolve or address an issue. This is the humanistic perspective that essentially believes people simply aspire to live their best lives in the best way possible. Whereas, transpersonal pushes that perspective further in that there may be something “mystic” (for lack of a better word) about that entire process.


For this discussion, I want you to consider the following 3 case examples below within the context of your Code of Ethics. This means your responses should include supporting justification as outlined in your Code of Ethics (be sure to cite the code number and section title; A PDF OF THE NASW CODE OF ETHICS IS ATTACHED BELOW) along with your personal opinion. For each case example, please discuss the following questions:


  1. Was this ethical? Why or why not?
  2. What are the potential psychological benefits of this?
  3. What harm could result from this?

Case Example 1: Bedside Ethics with Dying Clients

A Christian therapist is working with an atheist client who is suffering from a terminal illness. The therapist is concerned about the client’s salvation and sees this as a more important issue than their psychological health at this point of therapy. They seek consultation from a colleague who says, “At this point, you must follow God’s will, not your ethics code.” The therapist goes into the next session and shares about their faith, encouraging the client to accept Jesus as their savior.

Case Example 2: Sneaking in Buddhism

You are talking with a colleague who says, “I am a Buddhist and think Buddhism has a lot to offer for therapy, but my clients are most Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. So I don’t tell them what I am doing, but I try to sneak many Buddhist ideas in with my clients. It works great and they never notice the difference.”

Case Example 3: Praying for a Client

You are talking with a colleague who states, “Sometimes I don’t know what to do with my clients. In these cases, in addition to seeking out supervision, I often pray for them, even if they are not Christian.” Your colleague says he does not tell his clients he does this.

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