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Faith and Social Work

Even at a young age God put in my life people who would confide in me about their  struggles and their pain. At times it was overwhelming, because I felt I had nothing that I could give them except sympathy. I didn’t understand at that time that God can show Himself strong even in my weakness. I didn’t realize that my lack of advice giving was probably why people continued to approach me.

I was later advised that I should pray for those who confided in me. I started to do that and continue to do so to this day. I however did feel that perhaps with an education I could be of more help. So I went to college and majored in psychology, believing that it would help me meet the needs of people in emotional and psychological pain. I would love to say that I chose Social Work, but if I am honest I think I would say Social Work chose me. I didn’t know much about the field, but after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and not knowing what to do next, God provided me a job at a university which had a Social Work program. I got accepted into that program, and the school paid for my studies. God opened doors and I just kept walking into the opportunities He provided. My faith was childlike, I didn’t question, and as I reflect, God deserves all the credit for getting me through my Master’s Degree in Social Work while I worked full time.

Once I obtained my MSW God began to take me on a vocational journey that at times made no sense to me. It wasn’t linear, but winding and at times confusing. When I look over my resume I now realize that in private practice I get to use much of the knowledge and skills I obtained in every work setting. Truly Jeremiah 29:11 was in operation in my life.

Now in private practice (www.awarenesscounseling.com) I feel the complete freedom to engage my clients in spiritual discussions if they are comfortable with that, and can pray for them and for wisdom to help them without any concern about agency objections. So how do my faith and my social work interact? The question is more how do they not interact? Without my faith I don’t believe I would be here doing what I do now. I marvel that others are able to do what I do, interact with people at their most vulnerable, and give guidance and show compassion, without a firm faith in God. The danger as I see it is that without an understanding that he is in control; I may get despondent when my clients don’t improve under my care, or get puffed up when they do. Understanding that God is the source of everything and I am just a tool in his hand that he has prepared for such a time as this, keeps me grounded. As long as it serves his purpose for me to work with hurting people using my social work degree, I will continue to serve in this capacity. Should he at some future date direct me in another direction, I expect he will equip me to serve Him there, as he has here.

Allison B. is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Christian Counselor at the Awareness Counseling Center in Orange City, FL. She has been a member of NACSW member since 2000. Check out her blog at Allison’s blog

8 thoughts on “Faith and Social Work

  1. Your experience is wonderful. Keep the good job. Not only you are helping people who are huring, but you are following your call.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is such a great reminder to always keep God at the center of all that we do as therapists and social workers.

  3. Allison- you blessed me so with this blog. We have walked similar paths and this is my story too: "if I am honest I think I would say Social Work chose me. I didn’t know much about the field." May the Lord continue to richly bless you and bless the work of your hands.

  4. Dear Allison, I appreciate your insights and it's a real blessing how you seamlessly integrate your Christian values into practice with your clients. I had a chance to check out your website and the work you all do is phenomenal. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. " This is one of my favorite verses and I especially meditate on it as I complete my Social Work graduate school applications. This post motivates to keep the faith throughout the process. May you and your colleagues continue to abide by God's grace as you counsel those facing the challenges of life. Peace & God Bless.

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