Conducting Spiritual Assessments with Native Americans: Enhancing Cultural Competency in Social Work Practice Courses


social work, social work education, Native Americans, cultural competency


Developing competency in diversity and assessment are key educational priorities. With Native American clients a spiritual assessment is typically required because spirituality is often instrumental to health and wellness in Native cultures. In keeping with the movement toward competency-based education, this qualitative study sought to answer the question: How can future social workers conduct spiritual assessments with Native American clients in an effective, culturally competent manner? Analysis yielded a number of practice-oriented insights that can be grouped into 4 categories: the importance of spiritual assessment, preassessment considerations, the process of conducting the assessment, and areas of potential value conflict. The implications of the results are discussed as they intersect social work education and practice courses in particular.

Original Publication Citation

Hodge, D., & Limb, G. (2010). Conducting spiritual assessments with Native Americans: Enhancing cultural competency in social work practice courses. Journal of Social Work Education, 46(2), 265-284

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Social Work Education




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Social Work

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor