Starting today, a new
initiative: Let's start taking the NASW Code
of Ethics section by section, sketching out how the ASWB exam
use each a test question. Because you can be sure that's how a good
chunk of the exam is being written. Writer X sits down to a blank
page and has to make questions appear. Where to turn? How about the
Code of Ethics?
First up (for us and for the imaginary Writer X), the first
section of the Code, 1.01, Commitment to Clients.
It says, in part:
[S]ocial workers' responsibility to the larger society or
specific legal obligations may on limited occasions supersede the
loyalty owed clients, and clients should be so advised. (Examples
include when a social worker is required by law to report that a
client has abused a child or has threatened to harm self or
Unlike the rest of the Code, this section actually suggests
its own exam questions. Abuse calls, duty to warn...anything
about reporting is rooted, at least in part, in 1.01. So, here's
today's free practice question:
A social worker meets with a client who says she's been
thinking of killing herself by jumping off a freeway overpass. What
should the social worker do?
That sounds serious. Suicidal ideation and a plan. Let's see the
A. Report the client's plans to the police.
B. Initiate a psychiatric hold.
C. Discuss the timeframe of the client's
D. Explore the roots of the client's
In essence, the questions asks, to report or not to report? The
client has S/I and plan about how to do it. So how do you answer?
There's one big thing missing here--a when. Lots of people
think about suicide and how they'd attempt. Fewer people actually
make an attempt. Does this client intend to carry out her plan? The
vignette doesn't say. That means, more assessment is needed before
a report should be made. That narrows things down to C or D. D may
be helpful in ongoing therapy, but it doesn't address the here and
now reporting question. The way to get that answers is to ask the
client about her intent (aka "discuss the timeframe"). Voila, an
For realistic exam practice about 1.01 and much more, sign up!