A Mind-Body-Spirit Approach to Social Work

March 2019

Annie L. Scholl

Annie Scholl

Annie L. Scholl is a North Carolina-based freelance writer who contributes to Daily Word and Unity Magazine®. Her work has been published on Huffington Post, Brevity, and The Sunlight Press. Annie is at work on her first book, a memoir, and blogs at anniescholl.com.

In the early 1980s, Salome Raheim began having premonitory dreams.

“I would see an event in a dream and see it repeated during my waking hours. That was very curious to me,” recalls Raheim, now 64 and a professor in the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany—State University of New York (SUNY).

Raheim shared the dreams with a friend, who then introduced her to a woman who would become Raheim’s first teacher of metaphysics.

While she was excited about what she was learning, Raheim didn’t talk about it with anyone at the Christian church she was attending. When one of the senior members suggested Raheim was involved in activity that wasn’t consistent with Christianity, Raheim knew she had a choice to make. Clear that her explorations were “done in love,” Raheim decided to leave the church and concentrate on her metaphysical studies.

Salome RaheimIt was during that time that she also discovered Unity.

“That was a period of great opening for me,” she says. “The Unity principles made absolute sense to me.”

Raheim began studying Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore’s The Twelve Powers, which helped her to understand herself and her responsibility for empowerment in a new way. But it was Fillmore’s Metaphysical Bible Dictionary that “changed everything,” she says.

“I was now able to use the Bible, which I became familiar with as a child, as a guide to understanding what I had never understood before.”

Raheim earned a master’s degree in social work before pursuing her doctoral studies at the University of Iowa. She found like-minded people at Unity Center of Cedar Rapids but kept her spiritual beliefs and academic life separate for the most part. It wasn’t until she was named dean of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work that she began to merge the two. She began teaching integrative mind-body-spirit social work to graduate students.

The body is an incredible source of wisdom“The body is an incredible source of wisdom, but many people, including practitioners, are quite disconnected from their bodies because there’s so much focus on the cognitive processes—thinking and planning, analyzing—as opposed to listening to the wisdom of the body and responding accordingly,” Raheim explains.

The integrative mind-body-spirit approach, “helps clients develop a deeper awareness of themselves on these multiple levels of their being and a broader sense of themselves beyond the ego self,” she continues. “To do that, the practitioner must be aware of those levels of their being as well.”

After retiring, Raheim settled into life in Maryland with her family and first grandchild. It was then that she was recruited to join the faculty at the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany—SUNY. She is now helping to create an institute at the school to offer professional education to practitioners and researchers, with instruction on how to teach the approach. The response has been “enthusiastic,” she says. “There is a hunger for learning this.”

Now that she has finally and fully aligned her professional and spiritual lives, Raheim says she feels liberated and wants to support others to experience this same freedom.

“Though I have much to learn, I feel a sense of self-mastery,” she says. “I have a clear path forward. I believe that I am beginning my legacy work.”