Last week, we presented the second blog in a four part series on the most substantial revisions made to the NASW Code of Ethics since 1996. In our first blog we covered privacy and confidentiality and last week we explored informed consent. Today we will look at the topic of competence, cultural awareness and social diversity. Next week we will finish up the series by exploring the revisions made regarding conflicts of interest. Alongside today’s FREE practice question for those of you preparing for your social work licensing exams, we will review the major changes and additions to the Code of Ethics regarding the aforementioned areas.
The revisions we are covering this week focus on the importance of social worker competence when utilizing technology. In the same way we ensure we are competent in the therapeutic modalities we use, we must also ensure we are competent in the types of technology we are using in our social work practice. It is also our responsibility to understand and follow all laws pertaining to the use of technology in our practice. Additionally, it is crucial that we take into consideration socioeconomic and cultural differences that may impact how our clients utilize technology. Let’s take a look at what the Code of Ethics has to say:
- If we choose to utilize technology to deliver social work services, it is our responsibility as social workers to make sure we have the knowledge and skills to do so, including understanding the unique communication challenges that arise with the use of technology.
- 1.04 (d) Social workers who use technology in the provision of social work services should
- ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide such services in a
- competent manner. This includes an understanding of the special communication
- challenges when using technology and the ability to implement strategies to address these
- We must comply with the local laws regarding technology and social work practice, including the jurisdiction in which our client is located.
- 1.04(e) Social workers who use technology in providing social work services should comply
- with the laws governing technology and social work practice in the jurisdiction in which they
- are regulated and located and, as applicable, in the jurisdiction in which the client is located.
- We must be aware of socioeconomic and cultural differences amongst our clients that may impact how they use technology.
- 1.05 (d) Social workers who provide electronic social work services should be aware of
- cultural and socioeconomic differences among clients and how they may use electronic
- technology. Social workers should assess cultural, environmental economic, mental or
- physical ability, linguistic, and other issues that may affect the delivery or use of these
- Now let’s jump into a practice question!
A social worker has been meeting with a local client using a combination of in-person and teletherapy for the past six months. The client is moving across the country and wishes to continue teletherapy with the social worker. Teletherapy is legal in the state the social worker and client are currently residing in, but not in the state the client is moving to. What must the social worker do?
A.Continue therapy because it is legal in the state the social worker is licensed.
- B. Continue therapy because not doing so would be considered client abandonment.
- C. Discontinue therapy and help connect the client to services where she is moving.
- D. Allow the client to determine whether or not she wants to continue therapy.
So, what do you think? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale! Next week we will look at topic of conflict of interest with another FREE practice question.
National Association of Social Workers. (2017). Code of ethics of the national association of social workers. Retrieved from: https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English