ASWB Exam Practice: "The boy makes it clear he doesn't want to talk about the condition..."

toilet Some more free ASWB exam practice.

A mother and her 8-year-old son meet with a social worker after the child was referred by his primary care physician, who diagnosed the boy with encopresis. The boy makes it clear he doesn't want to talk about the condition and doesn't want to meet with the social worker. What treatment goal is likely to be MOST effective in reducing symptoms of encopresis?

A. The child will learn to identify and replace cognitive distortions that contribute to his feelings of shame.

B. The child's mother will establish a behavior plan that rewards him for using the toilet at regular intervals.

C. The child will learn to talk to his mother about his feelings about encopresis in family therapy.

D. The child will learn to talk openly about the encopresis to reduce his shame and embarrassment.

What's your answer?

The question tests for a combination of DSM and practice knowledge. First the diagnostic part: What's encopresis? Even if you've never encountered the word before, you can glean from the content of the answers a rough definition--"using the toilet at irregular intervals." (It's more accurately "the repeated passing of stool (usually involuntarily) into clothing.") That takes care of the DSM portion of the question.

The question asks about a MOST effective treatment goal. Let's take the answers one at a time:

For A. Replacing cognitive distortions might be effective in reducing the child's shame but won't likely reduce his behavioral symptoms.

B. Behavior modification--rewarding the child for regular toilet habits--is likely to reduce the child's symptoms.

C. While there may be a psychodynamic route to symptom reduction in this case, having the child talk about his feelings about encopresis in family therapy isn't likely to reduce his symptoms.

D. Talking about his symptoms might help reduce this child's embarrassment but won't likely resolve his encopresis.

The rationales for C&D are reenforced by the boy's unwillingness to participate in treatment. The correct answer is B.

Encopresis can be a big problem for children, causing embarrassment and shame, particularly in older children. Although talking about the encopresis with this child may reduce some of his embarrassment, it isn't likely to reduce his symptoms. Behavior plans can be effective in helping children develop regular toilet habits. Children with encopresis often avoid going to the bathroom and become constipated. Establishing regular toilet times can reduce their avoidance.

Make sense? Any childcare or family therapy you've done might also help with getting a question like this right. For behavioral changes, behavioral-oriented treatments are usually the best approach to try first.

Another way to get questions like this right: practice, practice, and more practice. We've got plenty of that at SWTP. Sign up to get started!

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Social Workers Vote

social workers vote It's Election Day across a lot of the country. When social workers vote, good things happen. To help get out the social worker vote, we've got this special offer: send in your "I Voted" selfie and we'll send you a coupon that will save you $20 on an SWTP exam (that's more than 50% if you buy just one)!

Happy voting. Happy social working. And good luck on the exam!

ASWB Exam Practice: "Asked to assess a four-year-old girl who has been having nightmares..."

house fire A clinician has been asked to assess a four-year-old girl who has been having nightmares since a house across the street from hers burned down two months earlier. One of the BEST ways to get information from the client is:

A. Have the child undergo a sleep study.

B.  Avoid an interview with the child, which might prove too traumatizing. Instead, the clinician should speak with the child's parents and other family members.

C. Watch or engage the child in several sessions of play.

D. Ask the child gentle questions about the fire.


Since this question is from an old bonus exam that's no longer used on the site, there are explanations for each answer.

For A: Since the sleep issues the child is having appear to be anxiety-related, no sleep study is indicated.

B: The family should be interviewed as a part of the assessment process, but this should not take the place of meeting with the child.

C: Four-year-olds often express their concerns and fears through play. Watching or engaging in play is the best way to assess a child this age.

D: The child is too young to be able to understand or formulate a verbal response to anything but simple questions.

So you have your answer.

The longer rationale: A four-year-old child is too young to put her feelings and thoughts into words and might be intimidated by a stranger asking questions. While interviewing the client's family is a valuable source of information, it cannot be used in place of assessing the child directly. In this case, there's little reason for a sleep study. The best way to proceed is to watch and interact naturally with the child while she is playing.

Find lots more practice--complete with thorough rationales--on our full-length ASWB exam practice tests. Sign up to get started!

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Whitney Passed the ASWB Exam, Fourth Try—“The last three times I didn’t utilize your services.”

whitney passed the aswb exam with swtpWhitney writes:

I just took the exam for the third time less than a month ago. Failed by 5 points, and was given the 90 day waiver. Well all previous 3 times I didn't study really. This fourth time 18 days after failing, I used only your program and the aswb practice exam which I did the last time. Only thing new was your program. The last three times I didn't utilize your services.

I took the exam for the 4th time yesterday and passed. I was gripped in uncontrollably with anxiety. I got sick vomiting during the actual test. I had only 1:30 left on question 73. Despite not being able to focus from becoming sick during the exam I STILL PASSED. 

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! I'm very thankful to have passed.

Congratulations, Whitney!!! Great to hear. Thanks for sharing your story!


Have you used SWTP to pass the exam? Let us know!

Have you been studying without SWTP? Time to change that.

I passed my LSW exam this past weekend...

amy lmsw exam pass sheet An email from Amy, social worker in Pennsylvania.

I passed my LSW exam this past weekend. Just wanted to thank you. I  used the quizzes anytime I had a free moment over the past several weeks. I put off taking this exam for so long because I never thought I could do it. 

Congratulations, Amy! Great news. And thanks for sending in the pass-sheet snapshot. There's nothing that helps lift up still-studying social workers like success stories. Got a picture or story? Send it in!

People pass the exam every day. You're next. Happy studying.