Spirituality and social work in the Namibian mental health practice: Guidelines for social workers
Rukambe, Zeldah U.
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The aim of the study was to develop guidelines for social workers to be spiritually sensitive in their mental health practice. Spirituality in Namibia is an important part of the culture of the individuals that are served by social workers, as well as other caring professionals. For many, spirituality influences how they perceive their world. Spirituality is an important strength for individuals to manage their life challenges and for Namibians living with mental illness, spirituality is a source of comfort and strength during the recovery treatment process. However, the researcher determined that there is scant literature on the conceptualisation and utilisation of spirituality in the Namibian social work context and specifically among social work professionals’ practice with mentally-ill patients. Consequently, case studies were conducted to explore how Namibian social workers understand and utilise spirituality in their mental health practice, with the aim to develop guidelines for the practice. The research process was conducted in two phases. Phase one focussed on informationgathering through a scoping review, as well as two case studies through in-depth individual interviews. After the completion of the first phase of analysis, the data from the scoping review and the interviews were shared with the participants for the development of the guidelines. Phase two comprised two 1-day workshops for the purpose of developing guidelines for practice. The draft guidelines developed in the first 1-day workshop were forwarded for review to African experts in spirituality and social work from the University of the Witwatersrand and the Nelson Mandela University. The research participants for both the in-depth individual interviews and the workshops were social work practitioners who were or had been employed at the two mental health hospitals in Namibia. A purposive, non-probability sampling method was employed to select the participants for the research sample.