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Religious-based MSW programs

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by BlackSkirtTetra, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. BlackSkirtTetra

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    What are your thoughts on religious-based MSW programs?

    I have a friend attending the newly-created Asbury University's MSW program, and she is required to sign papers stating that she will uphold the school's Christian moral code, and she is required to take classes dealing with Wesleyan theology, Christian ethics, and so forth while getting her MSW.

    I had originally applied for this program, but when I spoke with the director, he told me that they generally do not accept openly homosexual students or other students "living in sin" because these students cannot in good faith abide by the school's moral codes. That alone caused me to abandon pursuing that particular school.

    Now I'm in a good program which is respected across the country, but I still sometimes think about programs like the one my friend is attending, which require some degree or another of a religious component in their MSW work.

    What are your thoughts on how a religious-infused degree compares to others, or your thoughts in general (please remain respectful)?

    Personally I worry for her and fear we're getting very different educations with our Masters, because I can easily see a future employer choosing somebody who has gone to a secular school and had a broad education with many diverse groups of people over somebody who went to a religious-based school and didn't necessarily have that.
     
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  3. SallyStudent

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    Oh dear. Well, I guess there are schools for everyone. I suppose if your friend chooses to be a professional who serves the Christian community, this may be the school for her. I frankly believe that it's best to have broad education which encourages one (especially an aspiring clinician) to see issues from multiple perspectives, but maybe your friend will be able to fill some kind of niche out there that makes her happy.

    Good luck with your studies!
     
  4. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    It is worth noting that there are colleges/universities that have religious ties, and then there are RELIGIOUS colleges/universities that have very strong and professed beliefs, which may have a significant impact on how you are taught. Four of the Five colleges/universities on this list have religious stances that could impact how a program is taught: http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/03/byu-honor-code-5-other-schools-with-strict-rules/ Obviously the service academy is not strict for religious reasons, but there are other restrictions that need to be noted before studying there.

    A friend of mine considered BYU for internship/postdoc (I forget which), and she would have been subject to their conduct policy, which may or may not have impacted her ability to provide services.
     
  5. wigflip

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    I read a survey which indicated that amongst the various academic disciplines, social work faculty were amongst the highest in religiosity (If I recall correctly, psychology and sociology faculty were toward the other end of the spectrum). So even if you attend a secular school (like I did, for one painful, overpriced semester), you may be exposed to regressive attitudes on a variety of topics (as I was, over and over).

    I say kudos to the OP for refusing to attend a school that embraces discrimination. I wouldn't worry too much about the friend--there will be plenty of straight religious folks to hire her. Religious nuts are now blaming Hurricane Irene on "homosexuality." Maybe one of them can give her a job?
     
  6. socwrkr

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    Even in my secular social work program, one professor, who was very religious, loved to quote scripture in class. He even encouraged us to pray with our clients. There is quite a bit of scholarly work in the social work literature about spirituality. I think that if the program fits your needs, then by all means go there. I was asked at a job interview for medical social work at a religiously-affiliated hospital if I would be comfortable in praying with patients. I said no because that's not part of my practice. I imagine that a social worker from a religious program would be a better fit in this hospital.
     
  7. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    It is always interesting to see how different professionals approach the topic of religion. I have seen more social workers be willing to engage in prayer, as compared to other professionals in the healthcare setting. I think if the social worker is asked to pray (and is comfortable with it), more power to them! I'm personally not comfortable with bringing religion into the discussion, which is why I'm thankful we have a Spiritual Care department to handle specific religious needs of patients.
     
  8. BlackSkirtTetra

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    This is a snippet of their goals, taken from here: http://www.asbury.edu/academics/departments/msw/concentration-objectives



    Notice how many times "church-based settings," "faith," "Wesleyan," "theology," "God," and similar words appear. That concerns me. I don't see how these folks think they're being prepared to work in the real world when the school wouldn't even allow a gay person or an unmarried mother or a transsexual to take the class!
     
  9. wigflip

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    That's discrimination, pure and simple. But as Katha Pollitt writes, "God Changes Everything":
    http://www.thenation.com/article/god-changes-everything
     
    #8 wigflip, Sep 6, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011
  10. wigflip

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    #9 wigflip, Sep 6, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011
  11. BlackSkirtTetra

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    It's unfortunately not so simple when you're incorporated as a church and are allowed to discriminate more than non-churches would be because of that status.
     
  12. wigflip

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    Yes, that's Katha Pollitt's point. It doesn't change what we should call the systematic exclusion of people in particular social categories: discrimination.
     
  13. Kiara15

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    I don't see how it's a big deal. Whether you go to a religious or non religious school should not be of importance. I would say that I am happily agnostic, but applying to a Seventh-Day Adventist school anyway because I like their MFT program. It's just about the vibe you get from the school. I would never automatically disqualify a school simply because it is religious. I am also very open minded concerning the LGBT community, but I can understand why schools won't admit them. They are CHRISTIAN, and not to get into a religious debate, but the bible has a very clear position on homosexuality. To allow them to enroll in the school would go against what they believe in. It's not discriminatory, it's just (unfortunately) the way it is. I don't think that by going to a religious school you are selling yourself short or getting a lesser education than you would at a different school.
     
  14. roubs

    roubs Ph.D. Student
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    The Bible(and mostly Old Testament here) has a really clear position on a lot of ideas that reflect first century AD sensibilities. Only some have endured to the present day. For example, only a sliver of the population feels that women should return to their biblical place.
     
  15. socwrkr

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    Social work came out of the tradition of religiously-affiliated charitable organizations in the 19th century. That being said, I certainly hope that the programs at religious schools do not portray LGBT individuals as perverts and monsters. That to me would be contrary to the values of social work as a profession. I do however have qualms about programs that exclude a segment of the population. There are many schools that are affiliated with religious organizations but still accept students who identify as LGBT.

     
  16. socwrkr

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    Two of my psychologist friends used to own a Christian counseling center. A psychologist that I used to work with was constantly quoting scripture. We just had a psychologist (ABPP boarded) who did a training on spirituality in mental health for our county mental health agency. I have to admit I didn't go to this training because my social work program already trained us really well in this. I don't think the idea of incorporating religion and spirituality is unique to social work alone. Maybe because of the conservative county that I live in, most of the psychologists I know are very religious Christian people.

     
  17. BlackSkirtTetra

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    It's not just that this program turns away LGBT students, it's that they don't prepare their students for working with diverse, real-life populations because they stress their own more-narrow spiritual inclinations so heavily.

    If you call them or email them, they will tell you they "accept everyone," but when you're actually applying you have to sign papers stating that you will uphold their conservative Wesleyan code of conduct (no same-sex relationships, no sex before marriage, no transgendered anything, strict sex-roles between males and females, etc). It's tricky that way.

    From my own perspective, I don't see how turning away certain segments of the population is NOT in violation of some part of the NASW CoE. Anybody care to explain how this might be the case?
     
  18. silverheart

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    Discrimination is against the NASW's code of ethics, but that's not what is important to the school. The curriculum is what is important. The NASW has nothing to do with this; it is the CSWE.

    Some religious schools are very dicey when it comes to education in mental health. I'm in an MSW at a Catholic school, and the university itself is VERY conservative; however, the social work school is extremely liberal. The University and the school disagree on many subjects, but this is welcomed by both parties.
     
  19. BlackSkirtTetra

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    So you're saying any given school can be in violation of the NASW CoE, but still retain CSWE accreditation?

    I "get" how this could be the case, since the CSWE is not explicitly involved with the NASW CoE, but something about it just doesn't "sit right" with me. What's the point of having a profession-wide CoE if the largest accrediting body disregards it in some areas? *shrug*
     
  20. wigflip

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    Totally agree with you roubs, as usual. Here's some other things to watch out for if you're going to defend the bible as a reasonable guide for twenty-first century morality:

    Don't let cattle graze with other kinds of cattle! (Leviticus 19:19)
    Don't have a variety of crops on the same field! (Leviticus 19:19)
    Don't wear clothes made of more than one fabric! (Leviticus 19:19)

    If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die. (Leviticus 20:10).

    If a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be "cut off from their people" (Leviticus 20:18)

    That Leviticus was really on a tear.

    And let's not forget to KILL! KILL! KILL!:

    Anyone who curses or blasphemes God, should be stoned to death by the community. (Leviticus 24:14-16)
    You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20
    Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10
    Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16
    Kill everyone who has religious views that are different than your own. Deuteronomy 17:2-7
    Kill anyone who refuses to listen to a priest. Deuteronomy 17:12-13
     
  21. wigflip

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    Great quote from musician Lynn Lavner:

    "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more guidance."
     
  22. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    :laugh:

    Well done.
     
  23. slinger

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    lol at the above quote.

    On this matter, of course you have to pursue where your passion is. If your religious beliefs are concrete enough where it would negatively affect your client in a general practice setting, working with homosexuals, then for the sake of the clients, do not be involved with an employer that could possibly serve that clientele. With that being said. I think you are just as valuable if you go to a good "general and broad" education program and maintain your religious inlfuence. Then apply to religious oriented counseling positions. You never know when you might change your beliefs later in life.

    I am not aware of any religion based MSW programs that are in the big top 10 of clinically oriented programs in the U.S. Good luck!
     
  24. wigflip

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    I'm just curious--what kind of employment situation would completely foreclose the possibility of contact with the LGBT population? "HomoNoGo Counseling Center?" How would the LGBT population know they're unwelcome at a particular setting and completely stay away? There are queer religious folks too--the populations aren't mutually exclusive.
     
  25. roubs

    roubs Ph.D. Student
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    The place can put up an endorsement or inspirational quote from Michele Bachmann's husband.
     
  26. Neuropsych2be

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    Ummm .... I hate to break it to you but he is the biggest queen this side of Buckingham palace. :laugh::laugh:
     
  27. roubs

    roubs Ph.D. Student
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    Thanks for exposing all of the meanings I was trying to layer! :) All, um, two of them!
     
  28. slinger

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    Oh come on...You are being kind of flip about it. I'm talking about, if someone is SOO religious that they have a problem with their personal bias of working with homosexuals. There ARE religious counseling organizations where a person of this type would FIT in better, and statistically are less homosexuals. Not that you wouldn't come into contact with homosexuals at all, but complaining in meetings and in the breakroom would probably be more acceptable. My personal opinion, if you can't put ALL bias aside, to include religion, I don't think you should be in this kind of profession. I don't think "queer" is really an appropriate word either.
     
  29. wigflip

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    "Appropriate" for whom? I know that psych folks aren't always big fans of cross-disciplinary theory, but surely you've heard of "queer theory," "queer studies," "LGBTQ" (sometimes the "Q" stands for "queer," sometimes "questioning"). I imagine that Judith Butler would be surprised to hear that the term "queer" has gone out of vogue. Activist group Queer Nation was founded over two decades ago. I still know lots of men who identify as "gay," but my gal pals identify as "queer"--not "lesbian" or "bi." The term's been reclaimed, much in the same way as many size acceptance advocates use "fat" in a positive sense.
     
  30. wigflip

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    Actually, I'm not particularly fond of the term "homosexuals," and I'm not alone. I know it still appears in academic journal articles, particularly in psych, but outside of this context, along with politically conservative religious contexts, I never hear the term used. Many feel that it has a medicalized, stigmatizing connotation, and therefore prefer LGBT, gay, or even "queer."
     
  31. BlackSkirtTetra

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    I think that in the Southern and Southwestern USA there would be many counseling offices and independent practitioners (LPCs, LICSWs, MFTs--especially MFTs) who are defacto anti-gay. If it has the name "Family ______" (such as Clariont Family Counseling*) there's a good chance that it's from this type of ideology.

    It's not advertised as such, because they don't need to do that, but it is understood by the local communities. In Abilene Texas you could easily find dozens of if you went around and got to know the folks. But calling them up and asking, "How does your office handle homosexual clients?" would only get the official response.

    *I totally made this name up, but it's similar in name to a place I know of, with the name of the town replaced.
     
    #30 BlackSkirtTetra, Sep 14, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  32. wigflip

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    Just got this PM from some religious pre-med kook with no less than TWELVE links to youtube videos. I think what sparked this lunacy was a flip comment I made on another thread about teaching (something to the effect that one doesn't need an encyclopedic knowledge of research to teach an intro level psych class since the undergrads just want to know what to do about turning in their assignments if the rapture comes--actual student question!). Anyway, here's the faboo, funnybone-tickling PM from goofus MD-to be:

    "please don't take this the wrong way. I saw you made a comment about the rapture. Do you know that it is about to take place. I'm not setting a date. Have you heard of comet elenin that is supposed to be here by the end of this month?Time is up! God bless you!Please watch the following videos to learn more:"

    I can only hope s/he's right. It'll save me years writing the damn dissertation...
     
  33. BlackSkirtTetra

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    Poor person. They need mental help.
     
  34. Treatments

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    ha ha,, Good replay.
     

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