Spiritually Sensitive Practice: Integrating Spirituality and Religion

Event registration is open only to staff of DMHAS-contracted mental health and/or substance abuse agencies, and self-help centers. If you have questions regarding your DMHAS-contracting, training details, or requests for accessibility accommodations, please contact at us at 973-323-3454 or FCCultureConnections@familyconnectionsnj.org

April 17, 2020

Spiritually Sensitive Practice: Integrating Spirituality and Religion

Presented by: Anthony Nicotera

Location: Live-interactive webinar

This workshop will discuss the importance of spiritually sensitive practice.  It will present insights and exercises from: the spirituality, social justice, and multi-faith leadership courses I teach; domestic and international faith and community-based work; and the Post Master’s Spirituality and Social Work Program I direct at NYU. It also will present findings from research and writing I have done in this area, to be published by Routledge Press in 2020 in a phenomenological casebook on spirituality and mental health. It will invite discussion about commitment to the bio-psycho-social-spiritual person, and present the Circle of Insight (Nicotera, 2019, 2018) as a practical tool that practitioners can apply and use to deepen their commitment to spiritually sensitive pedagogy and practice. It will be a multimedia, interactive workshop utilizing interviews, music, and videos, as well as clips from the award-winning film I helped create, The 5 Powers, in collaboration with Thich Nhat Hanh, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Participants will be able to:

  • Recall research pertaining to spirituality religion, and spiritually sensitive practice
  • Describe the importance of spiritually sensitive practice
  • Describe the Circle of Insight process as it relates to spiritually sensitive practice
  • Apply the Circle of Insight to spiritually sensitive practice scenario
  • Consider and create strategies for utilizing the Circle of Insight and other tools to deepen and grow their commitment to spiritually sensitive practice

Course Level:            ☐ Beginner        ☒ Intermediate            ☐ Advanced

The course is open to social workers, counselors, substance abuse professionals, and other DMHAS licensed agency staff. Course certificates for 5 Cultural Competence CEs is presented upon completion of the course and evaluation. All courses are free. There are no penalties for cancellation.


Registration for this training opens in March. Deadline is Thursday, April 16, 2020. To register, please click here.


Time Frame Course Content
9:25 – 9:30 am Welcome, Introductions, Overview
9:30 – 9:50 am Spiritually Sensitive Practice
9:50 -10:20 am Circle of Insight
10:20 – 10:50 am Scholarship and Critical Reflection
10:50am – 12:00pm


12:00 – 12:45pm


Stories, Exercise, Case, Discussion



12:45 – 2:15 pm




 Stories, Cases, Discussion


2:30 – 3:30 pm Tools, Resources, and Strategies for Creating Spiritually Sensitive Practice


Dr. Nicotera has his law and social work degrees, is an educator, clinician, development professional, licensed social worker and counselor, multifaith spiritual practitioner, and leader. He has over 20 years of spiritual and clinical counseling, coaching, and teaching experience, as well as nonprofit leadership and management experience.

He serves as Assistant Professor at Seton University, in the Social Work Program, teaches social justice, peacemaking, multi-faith leadership courses as an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, and directs NYU’s Post-Master’s Certificate in Spirituality and Social Work. He consults with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and partnered with Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay), nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to create the mixed-media films Planting Seeds of Mindfulness for Children, and The 5 Powers, which won best film at The People’s Film Festival in Harlem, NY. Dr. Nicotera also helped found Newark New Jersey’s Cristo Rey High School.

Previously, he served as Chaplain to the College of Law and School for New Learning via DePaul University’s Center for Spirituality and Values in Practice, which he co-founded. He also co-founded, and designed and taught numerous courses in DePaul’s Peace, Conflict Resolution and Social Justice Studies program. He has led numerous peacemaking workshops, retreats and healing circles, and presented on panels pertaining to Spirituality and Social Work, Social Justice and Peacemaking, and Public Policy and The Politics and Practice of Peace.

He has been arrested or detained some 20 times for nonviolent civil disobedience. He was interviewed for the PBS documentary Where We Stood: Chicago’s Resistance to the War on Iraq, nominated for an Emmy. He was featured in articles on academics and activism and the living out of Dr. King’s nonviolent vision in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire invited him to speak at a peace-building conference in Belfast, N.I. Arun Gandhi invited him to present workshops at Gandhi Institute conferences, where he co-presented with youth leaders. He is a consultant with, and has served on the National Council of, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the nation’s oldest and largest interfaith peace organization committed to nonviolence.

He spent six years as a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), a religious order in the Roman Catholic tradition. As a Jesuit, he completed the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, a thirty-day silent retreat, and worked internationally and domestically in prisons, hospice facilities, inner-city parishes and schools, and legal and social service centers. He worked with, and served on the Board of, the Brothers and Sisters of Love, a gang ministry and outreach program in Chicago. He also lived in Latin America, working with community organizations and victims of war and violence. He lived and worked in India with Mother Teresa. After leaving the Jesuits, he lived and worked at the Camden Leavenhouse Catholic Worker community serving the homeless and hungry. He also worked as a clinical social worker at Guadalupe Family Services in Camden, founding Together Across Generations, a program dedicated to building stronger ties between disadvantaged youth and the grandparents raising them. He currently serves on the Board of CUSP, Catholic Urban Schools Partnership.

He received his BA from Georgetown University. He studied law at the Georgetown University School of Law as a Public Interest Law Scholar and completed his Juris Doctor, JD, at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. He received his Master of Social Work, MSW from Loyola University, Chicago where he also completed graduate studies in Philosophy and Theology. He received his Doctor of Social Work, DSW, from Rutgers University, with a concentration in social justice pedagogy and practice. His Teaching Note, Circle of Insight: A Paradigm and Pedagogy for Liberation Social Justice Social Work Education, and article, Social Justice and Social Work, A Fierce Urgency: Recommendations for Social Work Social Justice Pedagogy were recently published with the Journal of Social Work Education (JSWE). His multimedia project Circle of Insight is a resource to social work educators.



Spiritually Sensitive Practice: Integrating Spirituality and Religion , Course #3012, is approved by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program to be offered by Family Connections as an individual course. Individual courses, not providers, are approved at the course level. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. ACE course approval period: 4/3/2020- 4/3/2022. Social workers completing this course receive 5 Cultural Competency continuing education credits.

Family Connections, Provider #1252, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Family Connections maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 1/10/20-1/10/23. Social workers completing this course receive 5 Cultural Competency continuing education credits.

Family Connections, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6604. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Counselors will receive 5 CE hours.  Family Connections is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. 

Comments are closed.