Spirituality and Social Work

Start Date:5/18/2021

Start Time:11:00 AM EDT

Duration:90 minutes


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Spirituality is a key component of the human experience and human identity. In this webinar, the panel of four members of the Canadian Society for Social Work and Spirituality will present an overview of relevancy of spiritualty to social work practice. Heather will present about children’s spirituality. Fiona will talk about the impact of religiosity and spirituality in addressing the mental health experiences of youth from an Afro- Caribbean background. Cassandra will speak about trans-species spirituality as both a faith in the interconnectedness of all things and people with the more than human world and as a radical activist praxis. Indrani’s presentation will concern meditation and trauma-informed practice and research.

Webinar Objectives 
• Review connections of spirituality and social work
• Introduce some areas of focus concerning spirituality and social work
• Define spirituality and religion
• Consider implications for social work practice

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Please note this event will be recorded and an On-Demand version will be made available through this link 24 hours after the presentation has concluded.

First Name
Last Name
Email Address

Heather Boynton, PhD, MSW, RSW, HBPE;

Heather M. Boynton is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, Central and Northern Alberta Region, and a Faculty Member of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor in Kinesiology at Lakehead University. She has worked in mental health for over 30 years as a Child and Family Therapist, Mental Health Consultant, and a Manger of Adult Mental Health Services. Her research and teaching interests include spirituality, trauma, grief and loss, posttraumatic growth, child and family mental health, integrative and holistic practices, and interprofessional collaboration and education. She also is a Member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and the Vice President of the Canadian Society for Spirituality in Social Work

Fiona Edwards, PhD candidate, MSW, RSW;

Fiona Edwards is a Ph.D. candidate in Social Work at York University, Toronto, Canada. She also received a Masters of Social Work from York University in the spring of 2012. Fiona has over eight years of professional experience in the field of child and youth mental health. This experience is the impetus for her doctoral research. Her current research explores the lived mental health experiences of Afro-Caribbean Canadian youth in Southern Ontario urban areas. Fiona’s broader research interests include child and youth mental health, the racialization of mental illness, mental illness stigma, mental health and well-being, religiosity, spirituality, anti-oppressive social work, and race, racialization, and racism.

Cassandra Hanrahan, PhD, MSW, RSW;

Cassandra Hanrahan is an Associate Professor, researcher, and Undergraduate Program Coordinator at Dalhousie University School of Social Work in Nova Scotia, Canada. Cassandra’s research on human animal interactions and animal informed social work urges us to reconceptualize the purpose and practice of social work today, broadening the circle of compassion and incorporating sustainability as a core value. By raising awareness of anthropocentrism and the prescient critique of humanism in social work, Cassandra advocates new ontologies of being and becoming. Over the past decade, she has taught several undergraduate and graduate independent studies on spirituality and social work. Cassandra is President of the Canadian Association for Spirituality and Social Work.

Indrani Margolin, PhD, MSW, RSW;

Dr. Indrani Margolin is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Northern British Columbia. She lives in Vancouver, where she led and launched the Vancouver-based UNBC Bachelor of Social Work program from 2014-2020. Her research and teaching interests include: Consciousness & Meditation, Holistic Therapeutic Practice (body, mind, spirit), Girls’ and Women’s Wellness (Bodyself), Arts-based Research, and Social Worker and Student Self-Care. Indrani serves on the Northern FIRE (Feminist Institute for Research & Evaluation) Leadership Team at UNBC and is a board member of the Canadian Society for Spirituality & Social Work. Recent projects include: using arts-based research to support women with mental illness in their recovery journey; inner-directed dance as a means to support teenaged women in dating violent relationships; and Ancient Secrets Meditation as a path to promote post-traumatic growth and cultivate self-care. Of note, she developed and teaches one of the only social work undergraduate courses in Canada entirely dedicated to spiritualty in social work.