The human experience and social work are made up of critical elements that are interpreted differently in three main ways which include: Humanism, spirituality, and existentialism. This paper identifies factors observed in Juana's or Adelina's narratives that link them to the humanistic, existential and spiritual perspectives. The paper also provides information that relates to social work practice with Hispanic and Latino clients.
According to Payne, he believed that humanism bases itself on one valuable objective, which states that humans are concerned about other individuals and are always trying to connect to the other individuals by treating them with acceptance and warmth (Payne, 2014). This objective is illustrated in the novel Across a Hundred Mountains by Reyna Grande through Adelina. Adelina is amazed and wonders why Jose Alberto agreed to accompany her to see Lupe in a location that was very far away Chilpancingo. In this case, Jose Alberto was concerned with Adelina's feelings and therefore tried to connect with her. He does this by accompanying her to a faraway location (Grande, 2006). The aspect of warmth and acceptance also occurred between Lupe and Jose during the time Jose visited Lupe.
With regards to existentialism, people comprise of both a subject element and an object element. This means that a person is a free and responsible agent that determines his or her development through the acts of his or her will. Existentialism also outlines that individuals are affected by their experiences and suffering and that these experiences and pains affect the development of these individuals.
Diana and Adelina illustrate existentialism, Diana tried to kill herself and tells Adelina that she should just let her die. Diana then proceeds to inform Adelina that she does not know what one goes through when he or she is responsible for the death of a child. Adelina replied to her statement and narrated to Diana the story of how she fell asleep and accidentally let her sister drown in flooded water as it was raining heavily. Existentialism according to Payne mainly deals with the people's capacity to obtain the individual power that would enable them to take charge and control their lives (Payne, 2014). In this case, Adelina experienced suffering and pain in the past but had found her personal power, and as a result, she changed her life and took control of it.
According to current research, spirituality is believed to be a human search for finding purpose and meaning in one's life (Payne, 2014). Spirituality can also mean the belief of an individual in a supernatural being; this supernatural being is one that is beyond what is known. Spirituality deals with our inner self and personal growth. Spirituality has been illustrated on numerous occasions in the book. An instance is that one of Adelina always having a rosary in her hand and praying the Lord's Prayer in a low tone. Spirituality depicted that there was a belief in a supernatural being, one who could save and deliver believers from their issues. Another instance is when the Virgin Mary is invoked to help those in need. Also, another example is when Juana and Adelina were almost caught they prayed to the Virgin Mary to save them and to ensure that they were not found.
Social work practice with Hispanic and Latino individuals relates to the information provided above on humanism, existentialism, and spirituality in the following manner: Social work occurs to help those in need of help in improving their welfare. Most of the Latinos and Hispanics are immigrants from other countries which makes them prone to see social workers. Latinos are mostly spiritual individuals as more than 92% of Latinos as at 2002 were Christians (Jurkowski, Kurlanska, & Ramos, 2010). Social workers should use spirituality as a mechanism that will target more Latinos and in the end bring about more impact. With regards to humanism and existentialism, social workers should ensure that they act in a warm and welcoming manner at the same time teach the Latinos that they are the only ones who can shape their lives.
Grande, R. (2006). Across a Hundred Mountains. Simon and Schuster.
Jurkowski, J. M., Kurlanska, C., & Ramos, B. M. (2010). Latinos women's spiritual beliefs related to health. American Journal of Health Promotion, 19-25.
Payne, M. (2014). Modern Social Work Theory. Journal of Health Promotion, 19-25.
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