Nietzschean Rejection : Examining a Radical Approach to Social Work Practice with Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Clients
Ohio State University
Clinical social workers face therapeutic dilemmas in counseling lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) clients struggling to negotiate the conflict between prohibitive religious beliefs and sexual orientation. Current methods for confronting the internalized oppression of LGB clients follow philosopher Michel Foucault's contention that individuals can create a unique way of being that successfully integrates homosexuality and religious belief. The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche proposes that social workers take a more radical approach that rejects the dogmatic religious constrictions that limit LGB clients. A cross-sectional survey was designed to measure the relationship between church affiliation and self-esteem among same-sex attracted current or former members of the Mormon Church. Purposive sampling procedures were employed to collect 158 validated responses (N = 158) to an 18-item questionnaire, consisting of the Mormon Affiliation Scale and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. A one-way analysis of variance was conducted to evaluate the relationship between Mormon affiliation and self-esteem. The ANOVA was significant, F̲ (3, 146) = 2.717, p = .047. Post hoc comparisons were made using a Dunnett's C test, and significant differences in the means between the high affiliation and no affiliation groups were identified. The Pearson correlation coefficient showed a small to medium positive relationship between decreased affiliation and increased self-esteem. Due to numerous limitations, this study refrains from concluding that clinical social workers should recommend that their Mormon same-sex attracted clients cease church practice; however, further studies of the relationship between religion, same-sex attraction, and well-being could clarify the appropriateness of applying Nietzsche's philosophy to social work practice.