Rehabilitation Counseling and Social Justice Implications for Workingwith Individuals who Practice Santería

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Summer 2018

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As the U.S. and Cuban relations work towards normalization, the cultural exchanges willlikely increase the visibility of Santería practice, a highly prevalent globalizing religion. Although seldomthe focus of rehabilitation counseling literature, religion and spirituality have demonstrated a positiveimpact on clients with various disablingconditions and should be considered in the rehabilitation process.Viewed through a strengths-based approach, spirituality and religious practices can foster positive copingstrategies, collectivistic attitudes, perceptions of well-being, pain management,adjustment to disability,social support systems, and decreased substance abuse. More specifically to rehabilitation services,research demonstrates a positive correlation between spirituality in the workplace and productivity, jobsatisfaction, and job involvement. For these reasons, it will be helpful for rehabilitation practitionersto understand the basic framework and tenets of the religion in order to provide ethical, culturallyappropriate services to future clients who practice this Cuban religion of African descent. This articleprovides a general understanding of the beliefs of Santería and its potential impact on serving this specificcommunity as clients.

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