Sexual contact with clients: assessment of social workers' attitudes and educational preparation.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to assess social work students' attitudes about sexual contact with clients and their perceptions about their training and education in this area. The sample included 349 social work students in their final semester of an MSW program. There were relatively high levels of approval for sexual contact between social workers and clients in certain circumstances. Approval was not limited to circumstances in which professional relationships were terminated, were brief, or had involved only concrete services. Students with less social work experience and who thought class content on sexual ethics was inadequate were more likely to approve of sexual contact between social worker and client. Students did not feel that they had received adequate education or training on sexual ethics, and many felt unprepared to handle sexual feelings from or toward a client. Implications for education, training, and practice, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Boundary violations that threaten professional-client relationships are rarely discussed at the coalface. There is an assumption that healthcare practitioners have the skills necessary to manage professional boundary dilemmas with clients. The issue, if addressed, is usually confined to discipline specific education and training. A one-day Professional Boundaries for Health Professionals (PBHP) training program was developed in response to real life practice dilemmas experienced by health practitioners across the continuum of care. The program was delivered to 109 participants throughout the state of Queensland, Australia, from government and non-government organizations. Participants were doctors, nurses, allied health (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, dietitians, speech therapists), therapy assistants and personal care staff from a diverse range of hospital and community settings. Evaluations of PBHP suggest that the interprofessional learning context was valued with specific advantages identified in the use of adult learning approaches, the teaching of ethical decision making principles, the value of supervision and peer support and the opportunities provided for critical reflection. The effectiveness of training for healthcare practitioners in this area is discussed as a meaningful way of developing skills and engendering collaborative relationships between professional (e.g., occupational therapist, social worker) and paraprofessional (e.g., therapy assistant, personal care worker) groups. A combination of intensive training in professional boundaries and opportunities for ongoing professional development are important for all health practitioners.Journal of Interprofessional Care 01/2009; 23(1-DOI: 10.1080/13561820802491006):16-29. · 1.48 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This article explores the professional boundaries guidance for social workers. It presents research findings from the formal literature, from agency codes of practice, from telephone interviews with regulatory and professional bodies and from an exercise using ‘snowballing techniques’ in which informants responded to brief scenarios illustrating boundary dilemmas. The findings suggest that formal research plays little part in the guidance that individuals use to help them determine professional boundaries. Similarly, only 10–15 per cent of informants made regular reference to regulatory and professional codes of practice, with an even smaller percentage quoting specific sections from these codes. A slightly larger group (15–20 per cent) made fairly regular reference to their agency's policy documents. However, a clear majority relied on their own sense of what is appropriate or inappropriate, and made their judgements with no reference to any formal guidance. Agency guidance tended to ignore the ambiguous areas of practice and seemed to act as an insurance policy, brought out and dusted off when something goes awry. The authors caution against ever-increasing bullet points of advice and prescription, and advance a notion of ethical engagement in which professionals exercise their ethical senses through regular discussion of professional boundary dilemmas.British Journal of Social Work - BRIT J SOC WORK. 01/2010; 40(6):1866-1889.