Social Workers seem trained to accept all religions, but think they're just crutches.

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Recently, I've seen two separate Social Workers from a Medicare provider. I'm the caregiver & they were supposed to help me out with some ideas & resources for mom & myself. They both praised my Christianity as if it was a wonderful "tool". One said all religions, even paganism are equal to Christianity. For me the differences are very great, though they may seem only slightly noticeable to others. Would they say to a Muslim that Judaism is as good as Islam? It seems foolish to me that they would assume that they are experts in my religion because they studied sociological theories about religion. I can read about car mechanics all day, but until I work on several cars I won't even be a backyard mechanic & never a professional. From the beginning I let them (Separate individual Social Work visits) know I was strong in my beliefs & yet I feel that they hurt & diminished my beliefs; I feel attacked. They didn't ask me if I wanted to hear their opinions & whether it would help me. I want to have as long a discussion as it takes for them to present their views & me mine, but that won't happen, so I feel frustrated. Marx said religion was the opiate of the people, but the same thing could be said about his theories; psychology; exercise; massage or basket weaving. For me religion isn't a theory, a day at the spa, a picnic or something created by people. It is an historical account of God's dealings with humanity. It's the ultimate truth. I can't prove quantum physics or string theory are true, especially to someone who isn't great at math (Just an example-I'm bad at math). I can't prove that my religion is greater than any other to someone who has never even bothered to read the entire Bible or experience any religion. I believe my belief is of more importance than all the theories of all experts, because it involves my Creator & a potential eternal life in perfect health & total fulfillment. If I complain about these two they could turn around & say I'm a bad caregiver to my mom & recommend Assisted Living Facility or a Nursing Home. I'll probably mention it anyway to the SW that will return. Social workers are not always as sensitive to religious beliefs as they should be or think they are. I feel sorry that some of them just think of religion as an added amusement, stress buster or a false belief like Santa Clause was to the young girl in the movie "Miracle on 34th Street". I have enough stress with Mom questioning everything I do to make her healthy & safe and I don't want the Social workers adding insult to injury. My religion doesn't give me a free pass to avoid the suffering that dementia causes & I hurt in all possible ways as you do. However, when I'm alone & Mom is sleeping, I worship, communicate & feel comforted by God, not in a belief, but a being that loves us. My belief in Jesus Christ gives me a perspective that this harsh life is short & ending & that comforts me. The pain will soon be over. The next life will be long & wonderful. Have you had any similar experiences with Social Workers subtly devaluing your belief or God?


No. I have never discussed my religious beliefs (or theirs) with social workers, endocrinologists, the washer repair guy, the postman, our geriatrician, or my husband's case worker. How on earth did that subject come up?
I'm sorry you were disrespected. I still hope you can gather some resources that may help you? You can also see if there is a provider who shares your beliefs by looking up the national association of Christian social workers. They have a searchable directory of individuals n organizations. I hope this may be helpful to you, and that you find all the help and support you seek. Hugs n prayers, kimbee
jeannegibbs: The topic of religion & spirituality comes up automatically if it is a big or small part of your life. It also comes up if you admit that you're stressed out to a social worker, a home care nurse, doctor or a respite worker in your house. They will ask you, "What do you do for relaxation, fun & to find peace in your life. What comforts you & makes you able to regroup your thoughts? Is it exercise, religion, meditation, walking your dogs, yoga, journaling, caregiver groups, whatever is important to you? Do the things that keep you sane--more, because caregivers tend to neglect themselves", etc. This question will be asked of agnostics, atheists, Buddhists or anyone that is stressed out that needs tips on how to handle their emotions in front of a patient or family member who has Alzheimer's or other types of Dementia. Your response sounded sarcastic & I hope you realize that you might be stressed out too. I look for support & to give it on a site like this. Thank you for your response.
Kimbee: Thank you for your suggestion & your advice. I'd like to further explain my comments for the sake of discussion. I've talked to two social workers in doctor's offices, two from Mom's heath care provider and a leader of a Caregiver's Group and they all gave different advice. Some were comforting & tried to respect my beliefs. They all had great resources & suggestions about getting my mother more help & benefits & I do appreciate that. The two were not consciously disrespectful, but they didn't believe the way I did & therefore my beliefs irritated, threatened or annoyed them on some UCS level. They weren't purposely dismissive, but when you have any belief many people will openly, passive/aggressively or unconsciously reject them & your method(s) of finding God, peace reality or enlightenment. I expect it from nonprofessionals, but was thrown back by professionals not covering up their own beliefs. They are here to help the patient & their caregiver & not express their disagreements with religion or politics. I appreciate your compassion.
Predementia, I Corinthians 2:14 - "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." As a Christian myself, I don't expect non-believers to understand what I'm talking about when I bring up the Bible etc. It's not that they WON'T hear what I'm saying, it's that they CAN'T, because it doesn't make sense to them. So take whatever the social workers are trying to do for you and your mom, physically and practically etc. But go to your church family for help with the emotional and spiritual end of it. Don't try to speak Chinese to someone that only understands German.
Predementia, you've talked to a handful of social workers, and based on that you think you know what they are "trained" to think about religion. I wonder if my friend with a social work degree from a prestigious Catholic university would agree that he was trained to think of religion as a crutch.

In case my sarcasim was too subtle for you in my first post, let me say directly that I find it highly inappropriate and wrong-headed to generalize about large groups of people based on talking to a few of them. And that is true whether the group is dentists or caregivers or social workers or Muslims or Christians. You've had an experience you didn't like with a couple of social workers and now you are on a public forum telling us how social workers are trained to think about religion. Sorry. As you complain, those people are certainly not experts in your religion, but you are certainly NOT an expert on the training or thinking of all social workers.

NancyH has excellent advice for you. Take the great value the various professionals in your caregiving life have to offer. Don't expect them to also be on your wavelength in spiritual matters. Find that kind of communion elsewhere.

There are actually guidelines here re forum etiquette:

"Keep your comments and posts to matters that concern caregiving. Don't discuss controversial topics – such as religion or politics – that might anger other caregivers. Don't use personal attacks, profanity, threats or offensive language. Keep it friendly and helpful!"

... which you are violating.

There are many different religions in the world, and of course the believers in each one are convinced that they - and NOT the others - are onto the "Ultimate Truth", as you put it. But it's all faith with little evidence to support it. Therefore rational discussion is all but impossible and arguments are almost guaranteed. That's why the guidelines here are a good idea - even if they are mostly ignored.

You stated that, "I believe my belief is of more importance than all the theories of all experts...". You expect everyone you encounter to subordinate themselves to that? What if each of the 7 billion people on the planet had a "My belief is more important than everybody elses'" attitude?

Regardless, I think that you are in the wrong for attempting to impose your position on the social workers who are trying to do their jobs. You said, "I want to have as long a discussion as it takes..." with them, but clearly they can't allow every caregiver they encounter to preach endlessly. You said that, "I feel attacked", but by channeling the interaction into a discussion of your religious beliefs, it is you who's attacking.

IMO, if you lodge a complaint against them because you are offended over that, then, in a small way that does make you a bad caregiver. You are sabotaging the system by interfering with their job performance. That could affect both your mother and the other people they are trying to help.

Can you imagine if every one of their house calls turned out to be a Jehovah Witness encounter?
I am a Christian - not a born again, etc.. Predementia, if you are familiar with the Bible, you know that the world is predominantly Not Christian. Why would you expect all these social workers and Any Other Workers to be Christians? They have a job to do. If they want to have a long discussion on religious beliefs - that should be done on their own free time. When they ask if you have a religion, they are asking if you have the SUPPORT of those of your religion. They are NOT asking for you to Preach to them.

If you desire someone who is strongly Christian - even coming from a different religion will result with conflict. So, even a Christian social worker will NOT even Touch that subject! Therefore, if you want to discuss religion, I strongly suggest you go back to your church, speak to the one in charge to Recommend a Fellow Believer who is in the field of a Social Worker.

Not just on this site, but in every day life, one does NOT try to shove religious beliefs into people. Which is what Jeanne was pointing out - about the repairman, postman, etc...

Please approach your pastor, or reverend or father and ask for guidance. If you're unable to leave the home, you should be able to pick up the phone and call. These religious leaders are suppose to tend the sheep - you are of their sheep - so I don't see why you are unable to seek their help. Tell them that you are Spiritually Hungry and that you are seeking Spiritual Food! And if they don't respond, then, it's time to seek another religion that will Fill Your Spiritual Needs!!

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