Dr. Aaron Smith

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Director of Field Education

Email: asmith538@redeemer.ca

Programs: Applied Social Sciences, Social Work


Ph.D. (2021), Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON.
Dissertation: Relational engagement at the intersection of personal and professional identities: A phenomenological exploration of the experience of Christian therapists.

M.A. (2013), Theology, Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON.
Thesis: Rethinking Intimacy

M.T.S. (2009), Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON.

B.A. Hons. (2007), Sociology and Religious Studies, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.


  • Social Work Practice with Families (APS-245)
  • Diversity In Canada: Implications for Social Work (APS-332)
  • Selected Theories of Social Work Practice (APS-435)
  • Social Work Internship and Integrative Seminar II (APS-480)
  • Social Work Internship and Integrative Seminar I (APS-380)
  • Applied Social Sciences Internship (APS-381)
  • Crisis Intervention (APS-470)


Before joining Redeemer in 2021, Aaron Smith taught in social work and psychotherapy programs throughout Canada for more than ten years.  These have included teaching at both public institutions, such as Wilfrid Laurier University, Renison University College, and King’s University College, and faith-based institutions, including Emmanuel Bible College and Briercrest College.  Aaron has also worked as a therapist for more than ten years in a variety of settings, including private practice, community-based organizations, mental health institutions, and primary health care.  In addition to his academic education, Aaron has received advanced professional training in Clinical Supervision, Couples Therapy, Sex Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia, and Compassion Fatigue for ministry leaders, personal caregivers, and health care providers.

Woven throughout Aaron’s many research interests is an emphasis on relationships, and how relationships are not only experienced and managed, but also how they impact other areas of life.  Aaron has presented workshops and published articles in numerous fields including mental health care, domestic violence, peer support, spiritual care, social work, and sociology, often from the perspective of Christianity.  The main focus of Aaron’s doctoral research is on how the intersection of personal and professional identities impacts the experience of relational engagement.

When he is not at work, conducting research, or writing articles and other resources, Aaron enjoys reading, baseball, music, being outdoors, and spending time with his wife and three daughters.

Research Interests

  • The operationalization of Christian values and principles
  • The Church and social responsiblity
  • The impacts of intersecting layers of identity on relational engagement
  • Micro- and macro- based forms of relational engagement
  • Integrate and experiential approaches to education
  • The intersections of pedagogy, relational engagement, and student experience

Recent Publications

Smith, A. P. B. (2021) Instructor-featured videos and the importance of social presence in online education. Teaching & Learning, 13(1), 1-12.

Smith, A. P. B. (2021) Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on greeting behaviours in education through a lens of Relational Engagement. Teaching & Learning, 13(1), 30-48.

Smith, A. P. B. (2020) Russell and the handshake: Greeting in spiritual care. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, 74(1), 33-41. 

Smith, A. P. B. (2019) Window signs and hashtags: Jesus at the margins. Journal of Sociology and Christianity, 9(2), 86-89.

Smith, A. P. B., & Read, J. (2017) Art, objects, and beautiful stories: A “new” approach to spiritual care. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, 71(2), 91-97.

Smith, A. P. B. (2016) Redeeming the rejected: Curious George and evidence-based approaches. Qualitative Social Work, 15(5-6), 671-681.

Recent Presentations

Smith, A. P. B. (2020) Anxiety and Peace: A Christian Response to COVID-19 (Invited workshop), Multiple Locations, ON

Smith, A. P. B., & McMillan, C. (2019) Rethinking the Experience of Field Trips and Observational Learning (Peer-reviewed workshop), Critical Pedagogies Symposium on Teaching and Learning Qualitative Health Research, Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, Toronto, ON

Smith, A. P. B. (2019) The Nexus of Grace: When you Don’t Know What to Do (Peer-reviewed workshop), North American Association of Christians in Social Work Annual Convention, Indianapolis, IN

Smith, A. P. B. (2018) Walking with People Through Trauma, While Caring for Yourself (Invited workshop), For the City, Cambridge, ON.

Smith, A. P. B. (2017) Reading and Responding to Group Dynamics (Invited workshop), Pathway Community Church, Kitchener, ON.

Smith, A. P. B., & Read, J. (2016) Exploring Relational Experience using Story and Art (Peer-reviewed workshop), Canadian Association for Spiritual Care Conference, Vancouver, BC.

Read, J., & Smith, A. P. B. (2016) Stories from the Frontlines: The Who and the How of Peer Support Work (Peer-reviewed poster presentation), Society for Social Work and Research Conference, Washington, DC.

Smith, A. P. B. (2015) Illness: A “Roadmap” for Supporting One Another (Invited workshop), Rockway Mennonite Church, Kitchener, ON.

Smith, A. P. B. (2015) An EFT-informed model of approach and response to intimate partner violence (Peer-reviewed poster presentation), National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence, Washington, DC.

Smith, A. P. B. (2014) Emotionally Focused Therapy and the Genogram (Invited workshop), Holistic Healing Conference, Waterloo, ON

Smith, A. P. B. (2013) Sacrifice and Preservation: Ministry in Tension. (Invited workshop) Qualitative Ministry for Contemporary Church Leadership Retreat, Puslinch, ON.