Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Michael Chovanec


Social Work


Social workers provide services to meet the needs of individuals, communities and society. Due to limited funding and high need, social workers may need to collaborate with other professionals to meet the needs. The clergy are one such group of professionals. They encounter a variety of needs presented by their parishioners and the communities to which they belong. This qualitative research study sought to identify clergy persons’ perceptions of social workers and perspectives on collaborating with social workers. Individual interviews were held with eight Protestant clergy persons holding a Master of Divinity degree and serving in suburban parishes. The major themes that emerged from the data were: 1) social workers meet the needs of individuals and communities; 2) clergy have favorable perceptions of social workers; 3) clergy have collaborated with social workers in the past; 4) clergy desire collaboration with social workers; 5) clergy felt barriers to collaboration exist; 5) barriers could be overcome by social workers seeking out relationships with clergy. Implications for social work and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Included in

Social Work Commons