Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Women's Studies and Gender Studies


This paper is an exploratory study on the subject of ritual as clinical intervention in groupwork with African American women. It is predicated on the idea that ritual has the potential to foster emotional growth in clients by creating structure and facilitating processes of transition. Ritual has largely been underexplored in the literature as a clinical intervention. However, there is a particular gap in research on ritual in groupwork with African American women. The first half of this paper provides an overview of social work scholarship covering individual branches of the subject, including spirituality in social work, spirituality in the treatment of African American women, and groupwork with women. This is followed by an exploration of ritual therapy as it applies to a wide range of populations. The second half is an analysis of eight one-hour qualitative interviews conducted with group facilitators working out of social service agencies located in a large, Midwestern city. The interviews focus on the use of ritual therapy in groups and on its specific relevance to the treatment of African American women. Findings and recommendations for implementation are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.