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ASWB Exam Practice: Client with COVID

maskedHere's a timely practice question.

A clinic social worker is seeing a client remotely who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing respiratory symptoms, which are ongoing. He is still is working in a job that involves many other people. "But it's fine, I wear my mask and I'm almost always more than six feet apart from other people," the client explains. He says he will lose his income if he stops working. What is the social worker's obligation with regards to public health?

A. Report the client to the local health department.

B. Refer the client to the clinic's medical director.

C. Make sure the client is always staying six feet apart from others.

D. Review CDC guidelines for those infected with COVID-19 with the client.

Have you encountered anything like this yet? How did you respond? How would you respond? Which of the offered answers would you select on the social work licensing exam?

Let's take them one at a time:

A. Report to the health department. While the client may be endangering others, there is no duty to warn as there might be (in some states) for a client planning a violent crime. Sharing the client's diagnosis would be a breach of confidentiality.

B. Report to the clinic's medical director. This may not break the client's agreement with the clinic regarding confidentiality, it is that the best step to take regarding public health. The social worker should be able to address the issue directly. It may be helpful for the client to talk to the medical director, but there are interventions the social worker can be trying right away to help the situation.

C. Unless the social worker is going to work with the client and running interference, this is not practical.

D. The client is apparently ignoring CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 infection. Reviewing those standards is a good first step. Referral to the clinic's MD could work to further encourage public-safety-minded adherence.

So there you have it. Can't break confidentiality, but have to do something.  That leaves referring or discussing. Like in many situations, the social worker should discuss (D, that is).

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Stay safe and good luck with the exam!

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Social Work Exam Practice: Family Systems

family system connected or enmeshedSome free social work licensing exam practice:

A family meets with a social worker following a teenage daughter's breakup with her boyfriend. The mother states that she really liked the boy and has felt very depressed since the breakup. The father has tried to contact the boy in hopes of repairing the relationship. According to a family systems theory-based approach, what is MOST LIKELY happening in this family?

A. The family has connected relationships.

B. It is an enmeshed family system.

C. It is a disengaged family system.

D. It is a separated family system.

What's your answer?

Do you know this material? If not, how do you get to a best, educated guess? Sometimes, common sense is your best guide. Common sense and some simple psych vocabulary.

In the vignette, the mother is depressed by the breakup. The father is meddling. The parents are pretty clearly overreaching. So what answer does that sound like?

Let's take the offerings one at a time:

A. Connected. A connected family enjoys time together but also have separate friendships and interests. This family appears too involved in one another's business to be truly connected.

B. Enmeshed. The mother's depression following the breakup, and the father's attempt to repair the relationship, are signs that this family is enmeshed. Mark this one as a good possibility.

C. Disengaged. Disengaged families have very little emotional connection, usually don't spend much time together, and aren't impacted by one another's activities. Not it.

D. Separated family systems don't have a lot of shared connections, though they do have a few activities they enjoy doing together. Again, not it.

So you have your answer. Enmeshed families do not respect one another's boundaries. They tend to focus on everyone else's business rather than self-care. The lack of privacy in enmeshed families often leads to conflict.

You might have narrowed this down to connected vs. enmeshed. If you'd never heard of the enmeshment, you might have been tempted to pick connected. But the word has probably entered your world at some point. If not, you know it now. You're ready for a question like this on the AWSB exam.

To get really ready, practice with SWTP's complete 170-question exams. There are thorough rationales, plus suggested study links, for every answer of every question. Sign up to get started.

Good luck on the exam!

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ASWB Practice Question: Parent Attitudes and Child Substance Use

teen smokingA mother tells a social worker she knows her teenager will experiment with drugs at some point because "all kids try marijuana." How is this mother's attitude likely to affect her child's substance use?

Okay, stop here. Do you have a general idea what the answer should look like? It's often helpful to take a second and think it through. In this case: will the mother's permissiveness increase, decrease, or have no impact on her child's substance use? What's your knowledge of the topic say? What's your gut say?

Let's look at the offered answers.

A. This mother's attitude can help her child use substances more responsibly because there is no need to rebel or lie about experimentation.

B. The likelihood that the child will experiment won't be affected, since a parent's attitude about drugs and alcohol has minimal bearing on whether or not a child uses substances.

C. This mother's attitude is apt to be a self-fulfilling prophecy that will increase the likelihood her child will use substances.

D. Since this mother has an open mind about substance use, her attitude may actually decrease the likelihood that her child will experiment with drugs.

If you're a SWTP free practice question completist, this may ring a bell. This is similar to a question we posted once-upon-a-time on the blog.

Which answer most closely matches what you were picturing? Boiled down, the choices are that the mother's attitude will:

A. Decrease the teen's substance use.

B. No impact on the teen's substance use.

C. Increase the teen's substance use.

D. Paradoxically decrease the teen's substance use.

What do you think?

An answer: Not every family is the same, but generally speaking, permissive parenting with fewer limits gets you a kid more at ease with experimentation. Authoritarian parenting engenders resentment and rebellion. The parenting style that's balanced between the two poles, the to-be-aimed-for sweet spot, is called authoritative parenting. Each will impact child substance use-which more-or-less gives you the answer. (It's C, increase).

Note, the question doesn't ask about substance abuse, just use. Mom says it's okay to try a drug, the kid is probably going to try the drug. Just to see. Right?

Or does that conflict with your ideas on the topic? Here are a couple of articles that detail research findings. Good to know.

Hopefully, you'll get to put this to use on the ASWB exam as you work your way to a PASS.

For lots more questions drawn from all parts of the ASWB exam content outline, try our complete exams. Sign up now to get started.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

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Social Work Exam Practice: ASD Treatment

preschoolHere's a free practice question to help get you ready for the social work licensing exam:

A social worker provides consultation to a local preschool program. There's a four-year-old in the program who's been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The parents ask the social worker for help addressing their child's developmental issues. What treatment intervention is MOST likely to be helpful?

A. Cognitive Therapy

B. Family Therapy

C. Applied Behavioral Analysis

D. Play Therapy

What's your answer?

Let's walk it through. First off, the question step is unnecessarily wordy. The question could simply read, What is the treatment most likely to be helpful to a four-year-old diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder? The rest of the details (consultation, preschool program, parents asking) don't really affect your answer. But you're task as an exam taker is to pass the exam, not offer literary criticism. Stay focused on your goal: a PASS sheet and a new social work license. Ignore distractions like less-than-elegant question form.

What about the answers? Taking them one at a time:

A. Cognitive therapy. CBT is evidence based and helpful for lots of conditions. You could do pretty well with a "When in doubt, choose CBT" approach to the exam. This time, it's not the answer. The child is four. Identifying thoughts, cognitive distortions, etc. takes a facility with insight and language not likely to be present here. Moving on…

B. Family therapy. Could work. We don't have details about how sever the ASD symptoms the child is displaying are. If they're at all severe, family therapy is not going to be effective. Or, at least, not the MOST effective.

C. Applied behavioral analysis. If you've worked with ASD kids, you've probably heard of this. If not, this may be a mystery treatment. If you're in the latter group, it's worth flagging this as a possibility. The ASWB doesn't do trick questions or trick answers. So, anything offered isn't going to be a made-up therapy. Behavioral treatment? Sounds good. Applied analysis? Could work. One more to go.

D. Play therapy. Okay, makes more sense than CBT or family therapy. It's child-centered, not overly verbal. Seems like a decent answer.

So, we're left with two possibilities to choose from. It's applied behavioral analysis vs. play therapy. Both seem like plausible best answers.

How do you choose?

Think of what you know about ASD symptoms. What you've encountered or heard how people diagnosed with ASD present. For milder cases, sure, play therapy seems like a good idea. But what about severe symptoms? Limited communication... Play therapy doesn't seem like the best fit.

That leaves, for those who've never heard of it, something called applied behavioral analysis. (Those who have heard of it know that it's a first-choice  treatment with ASD.) Close your eyes, wince, and hit the button. It's your best guess.

And it's right. Read up about the treatment here and here.

And now, if you encounter applied behavioral analysis on the exam, you'll be ready. That's the magic of test prep. 

There's lots more test prepping to do here on SWTP. Sign up to create and account and get started.

Happy studying and good luck with the exam!

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ASWB Exam Practice: Elder Abuse Screening

sw interviewHere's a question from our free study guide. ("What free study guide?" The one you get when you create an account on SWTP. Sign up and it's yours.)

A hospital social worker meets with an elderly woman after nurses express concerns about possible elder abuse. The woman resides with her grandson and was admitted for pneumonia, but nurses have discovered several bruises on her arms and legs. When the social worker goes to talk to the woman, her grandson and several other family members are present. The social worker wants to interview the woman today as she may be discharged soon. What should the social worker do?

A. Provide the woman with a business card and ask her to call if she needs anything.

B. Ask the woman if she would like to talk to her alone.

C. Interview the woman with her family present.

D. Ask the family leave and interview the woman by herself.

If you encountered this question on the ASWB exam, how would you answer?

Let's take the responses one at a time. Remember to read all responses. Don't just stop at one that feels probably-the-best-of-the-bunch.

A. Business card. Could work, but the woman may not feel comfortable calling; if she is being abused, her family may not allow her to call.

B. Talk alone? Yes. It is important to interview the woman alone so she can provide any information about possible abuse in a safe, private environment. However, the woman may not feel safe saying that she wants to meet alone, so asking this question may not help. Let's see if that answer can be beat by any of the others.

C. Interview with family present. If the woman is being abused, she is not likely to share this with the potential abuser present. So, no.

D. Ask family to leave. Ah, here we go. To appropriately assess for abuse, the woman should be interviewed alone. The social worker should ask the family to leave so that the woman can be free to provide information without fear of consequences from her family.

We have a winner! (TL;DR it's D.)

Learn more about elder abuse here. It's a topic that is likely to come up in social work practice and on the social work licensing exam. Get ready.

Get even more ready for the exam with our complete, 170-question practice tests. Each question of each exam has thorough rationales like the one above. Get practice, get licensed. Good luck!

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