Exploring the mental health and spiritual recovery of an expert-by-experience: a discussion of the unique contribution social workers can make to support this journey
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 16:02 authored by Joanna Fox, Petra Videmšek
Increasingly, experts-by-experience want to explore their spiritual and religious needs as part of their mental health recovery; social worker’s contribution to the journey of spiritual recovery is under-developed. A first-person narrative about the spiritual recovery experienced by the first author, an expert-by-experience and academic, is presented to illuminate understanding of the elements supporting this journey. The methodology builds on evidence that acknowledges the significance of understanding direct expertise-by-experience alongside a tradition of using creative writing to facilitate professional reflection. Both authors use iterative processes to analyse the narrative and propose a tentative model of spiritual recovery. It is then argued that social work, with its foundation in the bio-psycho-social model and its specific practice methods is well placed to support the spiritual recovery of people who experience mental distress. Moreover social workers have an ethical duty to promote respect for cultural diversity and to demonstrate cultural competency. We discuss how professionals can work effectively with service users to support their mental health and spiritual recovery. Ensuring that social work education is based on anti-discriminatory practice, and that social workers have access to training to develop knowledge about spirituality will enhance their abilities to meet the spiritual needs of experts-by-experience in their recovery.
Publication titleLjetopis Socijalnog Rada (Annual of Social Work)
PublisherUniversity of Zagreb
- Accepted version