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,
(d) Keep things clear when working with people who know each
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?
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
Here's some reading that explores implications for some of the
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