Next up on our Code of Ethics tour is a big one--lots of potential social work licensing exam questions lurk in this section. It's 1.06, Conflicts of Interest--follow the link for the text in its entirety. Here's a quick summary:
(a) Avoid conflicts of interest. Inform clients of real or potential conflicts. Resolve and keep the client if possible, though termination may sometimes be necessary.
(b) Don't exploit the social worker role to further personal, political or business interests.
(c) No dual relationships. If unavoidable, set boundaries, protect clients
(d) Keep things clear when working with people who know each other.
Contained in part c, a simple, helpful definition of what constitutes a dual relationship:
Dual or multiple relationships occur when social workers relate to clients in more than one relationship, whether professional, social, or business. Dual or multiple relationships can occur simultaneously or consecutively.
What type of questions rooted in this section of the code might you encounter on the exam? A bunch. Some quick examples:
For A: How best to proceed with a client you realize is dating your sister? (Probably terminate.)
For B: Your client gives you a good stock tip. What do you do? (Don't invest.)
For C: You learn your client has kids in the same school as you, should you terminate? (No, probably not.)
For D: Two of your clients start dating each other--they both know the other is in treatment with you. Can you acknowledge to each that you see the other for treatment? (Nope, not without a release. Confidentiality always trumps.)
That's just scraping the surface. You can probably come up with plenty more of your own (feel free to post 'em in comments if you do).
Here's some reading that explores implications for some of the above:
Remember, the social work exam isn't out to trick you. If you've got these essential parts of the code of ethics under your belt, you'll be able to breeze through a large chunk of the exam. Just takes some reading and, of course, practice. Good luck!
For practice questions regarding conflicts of interest, the code of ethics, and much more, sign up for SWTP exams!
February 24, 2014