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.
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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 01/2010; 40(6):1866-1889. · 1.19 Impact Factor
Article: The Use of the Self in Psychotherapy[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This study was designed to investigate therapist's conceptualization and utilization of countertransference, through a comparative empirical study of pastoral counselors/psychotherapists and clinical social workers. Two major areas of investigation included the effects of religious training of psychotherapists on the use of the self in psychotherapy, and the interaction between attitudes toward countertransference and actual reported non-verbal enactments (both ethical and unethical). Both disciplines generally subscribed more to a “Totalist” than a “Classicist” view of countertransference as defined in the literature. Pastoral counselors were statistically much more likely to use prayer and ritual in their practice of psychotherapy, and claimed greater expertise in addressing clients' spiritual issues.American Journal of Pastoral Counseling 07/2012; 4(4):5-35.
Article: Identifying the Discomfort[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine which ethical issues graduate social work students experienced most frequently during their field placement, the resources students used to resolve these issues, and whether such resources were helpful.The results indicate that conflicts concerning beneficence versus agency policy and beneficence versus autonomy are most prevalent. In the majority of cases, the organization provided the context for the tension, including with agency policy, staff, supervision, and fiscal issues. Supervision was the most frequently used resource, along with peer consultation, and in-class discussion. Implications and strategies for enhancing both classroom and field curricula are discussed.Journal of Teaching in Social Work 01/2007; 27:1-19.