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New NASW Code of Ethics Updates

nasw code of ethics updatesThe NASW has updated the Code of Ethics, its essential guide to social work practice and a hefty part of the social work licensing exam. Changes for 2020 and 2021 are highlighted here. Among the newer, noteworthy alterations, this paragraph regarding self care:

Professional self-care is paramount for competent and ethical social work practice. Professional demands, challenging workplace climates, and exposure to trauma warrant that social workers maintain personal and professional health, safety, and integrity. Social work organizations, agencies, and educational institutions are encouraged to promote organizational policies, practices, and materials to support social workers' self-care.

And this, under 1.05 Cultural Competence:

(c) Social workers should demonstrate awareness and cultural humility by engaging in critical self-reflection (understanding their own bias and engaging in self-correction); recognizing clients as experts of their own culture; committing to life-long learning; and holding institutions accountable for advancing cultural humility.

Other recent and recent-ish changes include this tweak to the Informed Consent section:

(c) Social workers should demonstrate awareness and cultural humility by engaging in critical self-reflection (understanding their own bias and engaging in self-correction); recognizing clients as experts of their own culture; committing to life-long learning; and holding institutions accountable for advancing cultural humility.

This, under the Competence heading:

(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 challenges.

And, from 1.05 Cultural Awareness and Social Diversity:

(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 services.

And on from there, including a big section amended in 1.07, Privacy and Confidentiality regarding electronic communications and record keeping. But that's a year old-you already knew it by heart, right?

This, or material nearby in the COE, will be on the exam. Anything in the Code of Ethics may show up on the ASWB exam. Even as there's variation in the amount of macro, medication, or diagnostic questions exam to exam, one guaranteed constant is ethics. Learn it, know it, live it.

For practice questions covering ethics and everything else on the social work exam, sign up with SWTP. If you're looking for ethics-only practice, we've got that too (our Ethics Booster test). Thousands of social workers have used Social Work Test Prep to prepare for and pass the exam. Hope you'll join them soon.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!



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Community Organizing and the Social Work Exam

1963_march_on_washingtonSocial workers are not permitted to talk about what they encountered on the ASWB exam and we never ask. Which is how it should be. The social work exam changes fairly regularly. You could (unethically and unscrupulously) get someone to tell you exactly what to study for the test they took, then arrive on exam day facing an entirely different version of the exam. So, better--for your conscience and for your chances--to study a broad array of questions covering the wide range of material includes in ASWB exam outlines. (We just happen to have practice tests that are designed to help you do just that!)

One topic you may gloss over--and one that may not have been thoroughly treated in your MSW program: community organizing. The outlines hit the topic several times. Like this:

• Community organizing and social planning methods

• Techniques for mobilizing community participation

Community organizing is worth knowing! Happily, others have done the work summarizing everything you might need to know for the social work licensing exam:

Community Organizing (Wikipedia)

7 Principles of Community Organizing (ICPJ.org)

What Does a Community Organizer Do? (Social Work Degree Guide)

5 Functions of a Community Organizer (Social Work Degree Guide)

TMI? Maybe just speed read--bullet points only. Here's a free practice question that grabs some knowledge from one of the above (not saying which one : ) ).

Which of the following is generally considered a vital role for a community organizer?

A. Activism

B. Social Movement Building

C. Coalition Building

D. Legal Action

Have an answer?

You probably don't need to read up to work your way to getting this question right. If you think it through, it might go something like this: Activism is for activists (individuals). Social movement building takes organizations working together-in and outside of any the community. Legal action is for attorneys. Which leaves one answer for you: a vital role for community organizers is…coalition building (within the community).

How'd you do?

Right or wrong on this one, there's so much more to know and to practice. A great to time to start? Right now. Sign up join the thousands of social workers who've used SWTP's complete, 170-question practice tests to pass the social work exam.  (We'll send you our free study guide when you create a free account!).

Good luck!

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NASW Ethics 8

COLORFUL SPEECH BUBBLE COPYSPACEHere's a series of articles via the NASW, each tackling another ethics issue (in eight bullet points): Ethics 8. Read through and imagine that you're an exam question writer on the hunt for a new question subject. Each one of these articles suggests multiple questions.

Take the timely Coronavirus: Eight Ethical Considerations, which includes this exam-question fodder:

Ensure Privacy for All Electronic Communications and Records

Social workers who elect to communicate electronically with clients should adhere to ethical responsibilities related to Standard 1.07, Privacy and Confidentiality.

The NASW Code of Ethics, Standard 1.07(m), states that "social workers should take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of electronic communications, including information provided to clients or third parties.

Furthermore, "Social workers should use applicable safeguards (such as encryption, firewalls, and passwords) when using electronic communications such as e-mail, online posts online chat sessions, mobile communication, and text messages."

The ethical and other professional standards that apply to in-person communication and documentation also apply when communicating electronically. In addition, it is not uncommon for communications in the form of e-mail and other electronic means to be included in legal and professional review matters.

How would you shape an exam question around this material or using Code of Ethics 1.07?

Maybe something about "reasonable steps." Maybe something about "applicable safeguards." Maybe something more specific. "A social worker is moving to telehealth sessions temporarily. Before using FaceTime for sessions, the social worker should." Fill in the A, B, C, D. The one that says, "Ensure HIPAA compliance of any platform being utilized…" is the correct answer.

Enjoy the site. If you come up with any good practice questions, send them in. Maybe we'll share them here. 

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Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders

angry teenLet's take a look at the Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders chapter of the DSM. How do you distinguish the diagnosis from one another? This could come in handy on the licensing exam. 

First, the criteria. Then some quick practice questions.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

A pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting at least 6 months.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Recurrent behavioral outbursts representing a failure to control aggressive impulses as manifested by either verbal or physical aggression for a period of 3 months or three outbursts involving damage or destruction to property or physical injury within a 12-month period.

Conduct Disorder

A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major societal norms are violated in the past 12 months with criteria present in the last 6 months (aggression, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, serious violation of rules).

The other diagnoses in the chapter differentiate themselves: Pyromania (fire setting), kleptomania (stealing).

And then there's antisocial personality disorder, which requires a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since before age 15. Not diagnosed before age 18.

So...got all that? There are some basic ideas that are easy to memorize, and several numbers that, depending upon your memory, might get confused. How many months required? What ages?

Here are some quick practice questions to test how well you've absorbed the above info. The choices for each:

A. Oppositional defiant disorder

B. Intermittent explosive disorder

C. Conduct disorder

D. Antisocial personality disorder

and let's throw in another option (one more that you'll get on the ASWB exam)

E. Doesn't meet criteria for a DSM diagnosis.

Your practice questions:

A social worker sees a client who...

1. ...is 17, has been caught torturing small animals with regularity since he was 14. He denies the behavior, even when caught in the act. He shows little remorse and has few friends.

2. ...is 18 and a member of a gang. He has been participating in fights, vandalism, and some drug dealing since he joined last year.

3. ...is 14 and refuses to listen to anything his parents ask him to do. When they insist that he do household chores, he covers his ears to avoid hearing, sometimes chanting or humming loudly to block them out.

4. ...is 13 and, while generally well-behaved, ever since entering puberty a year ago, throws huge tantrums when she doesn't get her way, sometimes smashing a plate or punching the wall.

5. ...is 15 and for the last year has skipped school regularly, instead smoking pot and hanging out in the local convenience store parking lot. Confronted by his mother, the moody teen demands to be left alone and sometimes has laughed when she begins to tear up.

What is the BEST diagnosis for these clients?

Scroll down for answers...

 

 

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Answers:

1. C. Conduct disorder. (Sounds like ADD, but ADD can't be diagnosed till age 18.)

2. C. Conduct disorder.

3. E. Doesn't meet criteria for a DSM diagnosis.

4. B. Intermittent explosive disorder.

5. A. Oppositional defiant disorder

How's you do?

If you found this helpful, please post and share. And just imagine how helpful complete practice exams will be. Smile

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

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ASWB Exam Practice - "You two are really good are arguing."

couple fightHere's a free practice question to help get you ready to pass the ASWB exam.

A couple has been meeting with a social worker for three weeks. They report wanting to work on their marriage. Despite the social worker's attempts to set rules, they argue constantly over small details. The social worker responds by saying, "You two are really good are arguing. Can you continue arguing for the next five minutes? I'll set a timer." The social worker's response is an example of:

A. A paradoxical intervention.

B. Solution focused therapy.

C. Functional family therapy.

D. Unethical behavior.

What's your answer?

Let's go from the bottom up.

Unethical behavior? Nah. If you thought the social worker is being sarcastic, you might be tempted by this answer. But sarcasm isn't unethical.

Functional family therapy. First of all, if you've never heard of it, it's probably not the right answer on the social work licensing exam. Here's what functional family therapy is, according to fftllcom:

[A] short-term treatment strategy that is built on a foundation of respect of individuals, families and cultures, but that includes powerful treatment strategies that pave the way for motivating individuals and families to become more adaptive and successful in their own lives.

TL; DR? It's not the correct answer here.

Solution focused therapy you probably have heard of.  Here's the approach nutshelled via solutionfocused.net

SFBT is future-focused, goal-directed, and focuses on solutions, rather than on the problems that brought clients to seek therapy.

Also not what's going on in this quick vignette.

Which leaves us with one answer. Let's hope it's a good one.

A paradoxical intervention. What's that? It's when a therapist prescribes the behavior that is the target of the intervention. "Smoke more." "Sleep less." Or, in this case, "fight for the next five minutes."

Asked. Answered. And now you're that much more ready to go pass the exam.

For lots more questions and explanations, sign up for SWTP's complete exams.

Happy studying and good luck!

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