Answer and Rationale on FREE Code of Ethics Privacy and Technology Question

By Heidi Tobe on November 2, 2017

Yesterday we began discussing the substantial revisions made to the NASW Code of Ethics. This was part one of a four part blog series reviewing these changes. We posed the following practice question to you, and today we have the answer and rationale!



A social worker has been meeting with a 24 year old woman for the past two months. The client presented with issues of anxiety, depression, and “ongoing relational difficulties.” The client is closed off and shares very little in session and the social worker is struggling to get the necessary information to complete the client’s biopsychosocial assessment. What should the social worker do FIRST?

A. Continue meeting with the client and gather information as the client is ready to share

B. Address the client’s resistance in the next session

C. Do a google search of the client to gather pertinent information necessary to complete the assessment and continue meeting with the client and gathering information as she is ready to share it

D. Terminate services with the client as it is unethical to continue treating a client you are not making progress with

The best answer for this question is B.

  • The question specifies that the social worker has been meeting with the client for two months without making progress. It is unethical to continue meeting with her as is (A), assuming things will change without addressing her resistance. If this were the first session or two, answer A could be an option, but given that it has been two months, her resistance needs to be addressed.
  • The question is asking what we would do first, so you want to put the answers in order of operation. We want to begin by addressing the client’s resistance that is keeping therapy from progressing (B). Once we explore this dynamic with the client we would have a better sense of how to proceed.
  • This is a topic that was discussed during the NASW’s webinar last week. Doing a google search of a client without their consent is unethical, as it does not honor their right to privacy. If we plan to include a google search as part of our assessment of the client, this would need to be reviewed during the informed consent.
  • While we would not want to continue providing services to a client who is not progressing, there are several steps we would take before jumping to termination --premature termination would constitute client abandonment. There isn’t a reason to terminate yet! We would want to start by addressing the issues or consulting with colleagues before moving to termination.

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding, or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are right on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep or our our MFT licensing exam prep by clicking one of the links below.

We have a 95% success rate and look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!






Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain Filter