Yesterday we looked at the NASW Code of Ethics revisions and how they impact the topics of competence, cultural awareness and social diversity when it comes to the use of technology. This was the third of a four part blog series reviewing the most substantial changes made to the NASW Code of Ethics since 1996! Did you get yesterday's practice question correct? Find out below!
A social worker has been meeting with a local client using a combination of in-person and teletherapy for the past six months. The client is moving across the country and wishes to continue teletherapy with the social worker. Teletherapy is legal in the state the social worker and client are currently residing in, but not in the state the client is moving to. What must the social worker do?
A.Continue therapy because it is legal in the state the social worker is licensed.
B. Continue therapy because not doing so would be considered client abandonment.
C. Discontinue therapy and help connect the client to services where she is moving.
D. Allow the client to determine whether or not she wants to continue therapy.
The best answer for this question is C.
The question is asking what the social must do.
- We cannot continue therapy with the client simply because teletherapy is legal in the state the social worker is licensed (A). The Code of Ethics 1.04(e) states that we must comply with laws governing technology not only in the state we practice, but in the state the client is located as well.
- This would not be considered client abandonment (B), as the client is the one moving and it is illegal to offer teletherapy because of the local laws in the state the client is moving.
- We must discontinue therapy services (C) based on our Code of Ethics and the local laws in the state the client is moving to. We can still help the client get connected to local resources to ensure continuity of care.
- We cannot allow the client to determine whether or not she wants to continue therapy with us (D), because continuing therapy is not a legal or ethical option given local laws and our Code of Ethics.
Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of what the Code of Ethics tells us about technology? 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.
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The question ask what to do to avoid future occurrence. I choose A- The therapist should modify her settings, to keep that from happening again.
But what if the client moved to another state where teletherapy IS legal. Wouldn't that still be illegal if the social worker only had licensure in his original state?
It depends on state laws. If the state the therapist resides in allows teletherapy across state lines AND the state the client resides in allows teletherapy across state lines with the therapist being licensed in the therapist's state only, it would be permissible. It all has to do with state laws and regulations around teletherapy.