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Reconciling Faith & Social Work Practice Conference (6 CEs)
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Reconciling Faith & Social Work Practice Conference (6 CEs)

When: Thursday, June 20, 2019
9am - 4:00pm
Where: 1008-Multi Purpose Room, Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University
50 Front Ave
Grand Rapids, Michigan  49504
United States
Contact: Tricia McCarthy

Online registration is closed.
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Over the past few decades, the role of religion and spirituality in health and mental health clients’ lives has caught the attention of a variety of helping professionals, including social workers. Research indicates that not only does the inclusion of religion and spirituality have the potential to enhance health and mental health outcomes, but clients prefer such integration in treatment. To this end, and considering that social workers constitute 45 percent of clinically trained helping professionals, it is important for the social work profession to clearly understand what supports or hinders practitioners from considering this sensitive area of clients’ lives. This conference aims to give social workers a space to learn, discuss, and explore how issues of faith impact our practice, and to unpack some difficult conversations in the field in micro, mezzo, and macro levels.


6 CEs are available for social workers, including 3 ethics.


$50 for student NASW members, $75 for NASW members, $100 for future members.


Panelists to include:

  • Habib Hamidi, PhD. President of the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor
  • Bonnie Holiday, PhD. LMSW. MSW Director and Social Work Department Chair - Spring Arbor University
    Pastor Willie Goldstone. First Community AME Church
  • Alan Haras, MSW Candidate. Wayne State University
  • Scott Sanders, PhD. Social Work Program Director - Cornerstone University
  • Krista Cooper, PhD, LLMSW. Assistant Professor of Social Work, Andrews University
  • Karma Basha, MSW. Instructor-Eastern Michigan University School of Social Work
  • Jackie Gibson, LLMSW-Macro. Michigan Faith in Action
  • Greg Scott, LMSW. Program Director – Kuyper College
  • Ven. Dr. Ahm Koh, Beighley Su. Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple & Zen Center
  • Maxine Thome, PhD, LMSW, ACSW, MPH. Executive Director - National Association of Social Workers - Michigan Chapter
  • Rabbi Michael Zimmerman. Kehillat Israel
  • Jonathan Farman. Executive Director - GIFT of Grand Rapids

Schedule for the day:

  • 9-10:40am
    • Welcome & Reconciling Faith & Social Work Practice Panel -

      Some of the most enduring and complex issues in the relationship between faith and faith communities and the profession of social work will be identified and examined. Participants should have increased knowledge with regard to the positive intersection between faith and social work as well as some of the areas that pose concerns and questions for social work professionals. The importance of faith and spirituality will be presented along with the social work code of ethics and the intersection of professional practice and faith. Participants will be able to describe and discuss ethics and faith and the challenges for social work education.

  • 10:50 – 12:20    
    • What Social Workers Need to Know About Faith/Religion Panel -

      This session will provide an introduction to four major religious traditions. The emphasis will be on specific practices, beliefs, and cultural sensitivities that social work practitioners should recognize in dealing with clients, colleagues, and institutions from each tradition. We will examine misconceptions, stereotypes, prejudices, and implicit biases that can cloud a social worker’s perception of a client as full person, block a healthy client-professional bond, impede effectiveness, and cause harm to clients.

  • 12:20 – 12:50pm              
    • Lunch (Provided for attendees)
  • 12:50am – 2:20pm
    •  Understanding How to Manage Boundaries Panel -

      This panel discussion will explore how social work ethics may intersect with issues of faith as it relates to potential boundary issues (ie: in employment settings, in community/ collaboration building, in policy arenas, etc). how to handle one’s own religious/faith beliefs and not override those of the client.

  • 2:30 – 4:00pm                  
    • Exploring How We Work Together Panel -

      Participants will learn about the issues, programs, and strategies that provide common ground and shared engagement for faith and social work communities. Examples of historic and current partnerships will be presented. Participants will learn about the factors that build effective partnerships between faith communities and social work. 

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