Holly Oxhandler

PhD, Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston
MSW, Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston
B.S., Psychology, University of Houston
Full Curriculum Vita
Research Interests
  • Religion and Spirituality in Clinical Practice
  • Mental Health
  • Evidence-Based Practice Process
  • Scale Development
  • Mentoring and Professional Development


Selected Publications

Oxhandler, H. K., Pargament, K.I., Pearce, M.J., & Vieten, C., Moffatt, K.M. (In press). The relevance of religion/spirituality to mental health: A national survey of current clients’ views. Social Work.

Pearce, M. J., Pargament, K. I., Oxhandler, H. K., Vieten, C., & *Wong, S. (2019). A novel training program for mental health providers in religious and spiritual competencies. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 6(2), 73-82. doi: 10.1037/scp0000195

Moffatt, K. & Oxhandler, H. K. (2018). Religion and spirituality in master of social work education: Past, present, and future considerations. Journal of Social Work Education, 54, 543-553. doi: 10.1080/10437797.2018.1434443

Oxhandler, H. K., Narendorf, S. C., & Moffatt, K. (2018). Religion and spirituality among young adults with severe mental illness. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 5(3), 188-200 doi: 10.1037/scp0000164

Oxhandler, H. K., Polson, C., & Achenbaum, W. A. (2018). The religiosity and spiritual beliefs and practices of clinical social workers: A national survey. Social Work 63(1), 47-56. doi: 10.1093/sw/swx055

Oxhandler, H. K. & Pargament, K. I. (2018). Measuring religious and spiritual competence across helping professions: Previous efforts and future directions. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 5(2), 120-132. doi: 10.1037/scp0000149

Oxhandler, H. K. & Giardina, T. D. (2017). Social workers’ perceived barriers to and sources of support with integrating clients’ religion/spirituality in practice. Social Work, 62, 323-332. doi: 10.1093/sw/swx036

Oxhandler, H. K. (2017). Namaste theory: A quantitative grounded theory on religion and spirituality in mental health treatment. Religions, 8(9), 168. doi:10.3390/rel8090168

Oxhandler, H. K. & Parrish, D. E. (2016). The development and validation of the Religious/Spiritually Integrated Practice Assessment Scale. Research on Social Work Practice, 26(3), 295-307. doi: 10.1177/1049731514550207

Oxhandler, H. K., Parrish, D. E., Torres, L. R., & Achenbaum, W. A. (2015). The integration of clients’ religion/spirituality in social work practice: A national survey. Social Work, 60(3), 228-237. doi: 10.1093/sw/swv018

Oxhandler, H. K. & Pargament, K. I. (2014). Social work practitioners’ integration of clients’ religion and spirituality in practice: A literature review. Social Work, 59(3), 271-279. doi:10.1093/sw/swu018


Holly K. Oxhandler joined Baylor University’s Garland School of Social Work in 2014 upon completing her PhD at the University of Houston. She studies the intersection of ethical and effective integration of clients’ religion/spirituality (RS) with the evidence-based practice process in mental and behavioral health treatment. She developed the Religious/Spiritually Integrated Practice Assessment Scale (RSIPAS), which assesses mental healthcare providers’ (social workers, psychologists, counselors, marriage and family therapists, and nurses) attitudes, perceived feasibility, self-efficacy, behaviors, and overall orientation toward integrating clients’ RS in practice. She has also developed other instruments related to this area of practice, including the RSIPAS-Client Attitudes, the Social Workers’ Integration of their Faith – Christian (SWIF-C) Scale, and most recently, the Relevance of Religion/Spirituality to Mental Health to measure clients’ perceived relevance of religion/spirituality and mental health. 

Dr. Oxhandler cohosts the weekly podcast, CXMH: Christianity & Mental Health, has clinical and research experience working with older adults with anxiety and depression at Baylor College of Medicine, and often consults with other helping professions on the ethical integration of clients’ religion/spirituality. Though the integration of clients’ RS in mental health treatment is her primary area of interest, her scholarship also includes evidence-based practice, serious mental illness, anxiety disorders, virtual reality, mentoring, and social work practitioners’ professional identity. Dr. Oxhandler teaches across the BSW, MSW, and PhD programs in courses primarily related to research and statistics.

Dr. Oxhandler’s research and training have been generously supported by the John Templeton Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Baylor University and others. She is grateful for these sources of support but is especially thankful for the invaluable mentoring she has received over the years. Because of her exceptional mentors, Dr. Oxhandler deeply enjoys paying it forward by mentoring students outside the classroom with regard to professional development and supporting faculty in her role as associate dean for Research and Faculty Development

She is married to Cory Oxhandler, and the couple has two children.