Spirituality and Social Work

Program Overview

This certificate program explores contemporary issues in spirituality and social work. It examines the importance of spirituality in addressing presenting issues and demonstrates the importance of spirituality in the clinical setting. Specific spiritual methods and interventions will be highlighted and applied to practice. Spirituality will be viewed as a dimension in the biopsychosocial assessment and treatment planning process. The program utilizes didactic and experiential components, which will include role playing, narratives, storytelling, and other pragmatic methods.

The program’s primary goal is to develop knowledge and sensitivity to spiritual concepts, practices and values. Students are expected to demonstrate interest and awareness in how spirituality impacts the lives of clients and the values of agency policies and actions. Students need not be spiritual themselves but it is expected that the diverse views and life experiences of the student body will enrich the learning experience of all.

Program Director: Anthony Nicotera, JD, DSW, LSW

Anthony has over 20 years of spiritual and clinical counseling, coaching and teaching experience, as well as nonprofit leadership and management experience. He serves as Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, and for the past 12 years has been teaching courses in social justice, nonviolent peacemaking, and multi-faith leadership as part of NYU’s Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life.  

He directs foundation relations at Rutgers; helped found Newark New Jersey’s Cristo Rey High School; 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; and co-founded DePaul’s Peace, Conflict Resolution and Social Justice Studies program. 

He spent six years as a Jesuit, where 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 has led numerous peacemaking workshops, retreats and healing circles; presented on panels pertaining to spirituality, social justice, and social work; been arrested or detained some 20 times for nonviolent civil disobedience; and worked with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire, Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and Saint Mother Teresa in Calcutta. 

He serves on the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the nation’s oldest and largest interfaith peace organization, and his multimedia project circleofinsight.org is a resource to social workers interested in social justice, spirituality, and social work.

Program requirements

This certificate requires the completion of two semesters comprised of 18 two-hour sessions, running from 6:20 - 8:20 pm. Assignments include weekly readings and a final learning assessment in the form of a project or test.

Program Highlights

  • Intersection of spirituality, mysticism, and religion
  • Relational spirituality, community, and alienation
  • The intersection of mind and body: Eastern spiritual philosophy and practices
  • Spiritual approaches to wholeness and transformation of self
  • The intersection between spirituality, religion, and culture
  • Spirituality across the life cycle
  • The contribution of spirituality to social change and social policy
  • Spiritual assessment and transformation
  • Case seminars

Continuing Education Contact Hours

  • 36 NYSED-approved contact hours will be awarded for this program.


New York University Silver School of Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers {#SW-0012}.
NYU Silver School of Social Work, 1415 is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. NYU Silver School of Social Work maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 11/11/16 - 11/11/19. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. *Updated approval details for 2020 will be available in January 2020  


New York University Silver School of Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors {#MHC-0083}.

For Mental Health Practitioners: Please check with your state, if you are not licensed in New York, to determine if these credits will be accepted for licensing renewal.