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Tap chi Nhan vien xa hoi 2007

  1. 1. The Magazine for THE NEW Social Work Students and Recent Graduates SOCIAL WORKER ® Fall 007 Volume 1, Number OUR REGULAR FEATURES: Ethics Field Placement On Campus Electronic Connection Books Social work student Alejandra Alvarado participated in the Jena protest rally on September 20 with other members of the Social Work Action Club from Prairie View AM University. See page 23. Kevin Douglas—Student Role Model In This Issue: • Confidentiality and the Duty to Warn • Making the Most of Field Seminar • Coming Out in Field Placement • Tips for Professional Behavior in the Classroom • 10 Things I’ve Learned From Clients • I Am a Geriatric Social Worker ...and more!
  2. 2. See our Web site for info on Essential social work resources for YOU! our free e-mail newsletter, Visit our Web site at www.socialworker.com job listings, discussion board, and more. DAYS IN THE LIVES OF THE SOCIAL WORK GRADUATE Macro GERONTOLOGICAL SCHOOL APPLICANT’S HANDBOOK roles and NEW! SOCIAL WORKERS 2nd Edition more by Jesús Reyes, AM, ACSW 44 Professionals Tell Stories From“Real-Life” Social Work MORE DAYS IN THE LIVES OF “If you are applying to MSW programs, Practice With Older Adults Reyes’ guide...will quickly become a favorite SOCIAL WORKERS resource.” Tara Kuther, Ph.D. 35 “Real-Life” Stories of Advocacy, Edited by Linda May Grobman, ACSW, LSW, About.com Guide to Graduate Schools and Dara Bergel Bourassa, Ph.D., LSW Outreach, and Other Intriguing Roles in Social Work Practice Highlights experiences ISBN: 1-929109-14-8, 2005, $19.95 plus of social workers in di- shipping, 310 pages Edited by Linda May Grobman, ACSW, LSW rect and indirect prac- tice with and on behalf Now read about more of older adults. Read social work roles and about social workers THE FIELD PLACEMENT settings in this volume in communities; hospi- that builds on the narra- SURVIVAL GUIDE tals, hospice, and home tive format introduced health; nursing homes; in DAYS IN THE LIVES Edited by Linda May Grobman, ACSW, LSW addictions, mental OF SOC IAL WORK- health, homelessness; ERS. Roles include: Field placement is one of the most exciting international settings; research; policy and working on a national and exhilarating parts of a formal social macro practice; and others. Photos by social level, program develop- work education. It is also one of the most worker/photographer Marianne Gontarz ment and management, challenging. This collection addresses the York are featured. advocacy and organizing, policy from the multitude of issues that social work students inside, training and consultation, research in field placement encounter. This book ISBN: 978-1-929109-21-0, 2007, $19.95 plus and funding, higher education, roles in the brings together in one volume the best shipping, 313 pages court system, faith and spirituality, domestic field placement articles from THE NEW violence, therapeutic roles, and employment DAYS IN THE LIVES OF SOCIAL WORKER. Packed with practi- and hunger. cal, essential information for every student SOCIAL WORKERS in field placement! ISBN: 1-929109-16-4, 2005, $16.95 plus shipping, 54 Professionals Tell “Real-Life” 252 pages ISBN: 1-929109-10-5, 2002, $21.95 plus shipping, Stories from Social Work Practice 253 pages Edited by Linda May Grobman, ACSW, LSW ORDER FORM Please send me the following publications: _____________________________________________ NSW1007 “Thank you for ... the collection of ‘typical ________________________________________________________________________________ days’ from social workers! The students loved Shipping to U.S.: $7 first book/$1 per add’l book. Canada: $11/book. Other countries: $15/book. it.” Naurine Lennox, Associate Professor and PA residents: add 6% sales tax to total cost of book(s) plus shipping. Chair, St. Olaf College Dept. of SW Enclosed is a check for $______ made payable to “White Hat Communications.” Third edition of our “best-seller.” 54 social I want to pay with my: Mastercard Visa American Express Discover Card workers tell about their “typical” days in Card # _________________________________________________________________________ first-person accounts that cover a wide spec- Expiration Date ___________________________________________________________________ trum of practice settings and issues. Settings covered in categories VISA/MC/Discover: 3-digit # on back of card_____ AMEX: 4-digit # on front of card____ of health care, school Name as it appears on card _________________________________________________________ social work, children Signature ________________________________________________________________________ and families, disabili- SHIP TO: ties, mental health, NAME __________________________________________________________________________ substance abuse, pri- ADDRESS _______________________________________________________________________ vate practice, criminal justice, older adults, ADDRESS _______________________________________________________________________ management, higher CITY/STATE/ZIP __________________________________________________________________ education, and com- TELEPHONE NUMBER ____________________________________________________________ munities. Many rich Send order form and payment to: case examples. Lists social work organiza- WHITE HAT COMMUNICATIONS, P.O. Box 5390 tions and recommended readings. Harrisburg, PA 17110-0390 Telephone orders (MC ,Visa, Amex, Discover): 717-238-3787 Fax: 717-238-2090 ISBN: 1-929109-15-6, 2005, $19.95 plus shipping, Online orders: http://www.socialworker.com 410 pages
  3. 3. CONTENTS THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER® Fall 2007 Volume 14, Number 4 I Am a Geriatric Social Worker: A Walking, Talking, ES FEATUR Living Resource For All Your “What Ifs” It seems nearly inevitable that anyone who becomes a social worker will eventually end up functioning as the “resource” person for their family and friends. Liley tells how she handles such situa- tions in her role as a geriatric social worker. by Denise Goodrich Liley Student Role Model: page 18 Kevin Douglas In this issue, Barbara Trainin Blank provides Lipscomb Students Complete Critical Research for a close-up look at Kevin Douglas, BSW stu- CAL, Inc. dent at Eastern CT State University. This article reports on an example of how student research can by Barbara Trainin Blank contribute to the community-at-large. page 3 by Chris Pepple page 20 Ethics: Confidentiality and the Duty to Warn: Ethical and Legal Implications for the Your Social Work Career: Making Friends Therapeutic Relationship With the Impostor What are the ethical and legal imperatives of client confidentiality, Do you ever feel as if you are less competent than and what impact do they have on the therapeutic relationship? This others think, and that if you’re not careful, they article explores therapeutic jurisprudence, confidentiality, Tarasoff, might find out? Read about how the “impostor and more, ending with a case vignette to illustrate the complexities of phenomemon” (a term coined in the late 1970s by these issues. Clance and Imes) might be affecting your career. by James R. Corbin by Paul Clements Jennifer A. Clements page 4 page 24 Field Placement: Making the Most of Field Seminar A Bad Feeling Can Be a Good The opportunity to integrate field and classroom work in a seminar Thing setting will be an important component of your learning. Everyone hates a bad feeling, even psychotherapists. What is a bad by Liz Fisher, Nicole Reed, Loran Stough, Matt Tracey feeling, and when can it turn into a good thing? page 8 by Simon Y. Feuerman page 26 Field Placement: Coming Out in Field Placement: Electronic Connection: Report From Toronto: HUSITA8 Some Considerations for LGBT Students What’s new in human services technology? This article looks at the costs/benefits, planning issues, and devel- Columnist Marshall Smith reports on oping one’s professional self as an LGBT person. the latest from the HUSITA8 (Human by Joe Dooley Services Information Technology page 10 Applications) conference. by Marshall L. Smith 11 Tips for Professional Behavior in page 30 the Classroom The profession of social work desperately needs ethical, hard-working graduates. Swindell shares her observations of students’ classroom behavior and what it says about them as future professionals. by Marian L. Swindell TS MEN page 14 DEPART Art: Stamp Out Injustice A social worker creates art out of her social work-related stamp collection. by Tammy Quetot page 15 On Campus ........................................................page 22 Books..................................................................page 28 10 Things I’ve Learned From Clients Classified Ads.....................................................page 32 What does it take to really listen? How can you hear clients? The writer shares her experiences and lessons learned. by Linda S. Watson page 16
  4. 4. Publisher’s Thoughts The Magazine for Social Work Students and Recent Graduates THE NEW Dear Reader, SOCIAL WORKER® Happy Fall! I am very excited about this issue of The New Social Worker, because it is packed with lots of Fall 2007 great information to help you get a jump-start on the new academic year (if you are a student) or the new Vol. 14, Number 4 season! Social worker/writer James Corbin is back in Publisher/Editor this issue. Every social work student and practitioner Linda May Grobman, MSW, ACSW, LSW needs to know about the Tarasoff case, confidentiality, The publisher/editor and the duty to warn. Look no further than page 4. Contributing Writers If you are starting a new field placement this Barbara Trainin Blank Marshall L. Smith, PhD, MSW, CSW, ACSW term, you most likely will be attending a seminar in conjunction with your placement. How can you get the most out of this experience? Liz Fisher and THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER® (ISSN 1073- some of her former students share some of their findings on page 8. Also 7871) is published four times a year by White on the topic of field placement, LGBT students face some unique issues in Hat Communications, P.O. Box 5390, Har- placement, and Joe Dooley discusses these on page 10. risburg, PA 17110-0390. Phone: (717) 238-3787. Fax: (717) 238-2090. Postmaster: Send address You might think, I’m still a student...I don’t have to act like a professional! Or corrections to White Hat Communications, do you? Professor Marian Swindell expresses her views on this topic on page P.O. Box 5390, Harrisburg, PA 17110-0390. 14. Read it, and move to the front of the class! I’ve often heard social workers say, “I learn more from my clients than Advertising rates available on request. they learn from me.” Linda Watson shares some of those lessons on page 16. Copyright © 2007 White Hat Communica- But what about when friends and family want to “pick your brain”? See page tions. All rights reserved. No part of this 18 for Denice Liley’s take on this question. publication may be reproduced in any form Am I really competent? Or will people find out I’m just a fraud? If you have without the express written permission of the ever caught yourself thinking this way, you may be suffering from the Im- publisher. The opinions expressed in THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER are those of the postor Phenomenon. See page 24 to read about it. authors and are not necessarily shared by the Clients often come to social workers when they are having bad feelings. publisher. But what exactly is a bad feeling? And when can it be a good thing? Simon Feuerman addresses these questions and more on page 26. Photo credits: Images from BigStockPhoto.com © Edyta Linek (page 18), Denise Beverly (page 24), Mar- Do you have information you would like to share with The New Social tin Green (page 26), Andres Rodriguez (page 30). Worker’s readers? Think about submitting an article. Get creative! I want to hear from you! I am especially looking for articles focusing on specific The New Social Worker is indexed/abstracted in Social Work Abstracts. aspects of social work ethics, student field placement, and practice special- ties. Also, I am always looking for photos of social work students and social Editorial Advisory Board workers “in action.” Send your ideas or completed manuscripts and Rachel Greene Baldino, MSW, LCSW photos to me at lindagrobman@socialworker.com. Vivian Bergel, Ph.D., ACSW, LSW Until next time—happy reading! Fred Buttell, Ph.D., LCSW Joseph Davenport, Ph.D. Judith Davenport, Ph.D., LCSW Sam Hickman, MSW, ACSW, LCSW Write for The New Social Worker Jan Ligon, Ph.D., LCSW, ACSW Joanne Cruz Tenery, MSSW We are looking for articles from social work practitioners, students, and educators. Some areas of particular interest are: social work ethics; student field placement; Send all editorial, advertising, subscrip- practice specialties; and news of unusual, creative, or nontraditional social work. tion, and other correspondence to: Feature articles run 1,500-2,000 words in length. News articles are typically 100- 150 words. Our style is conversational, practical, and educational. Write as if you are THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER having a conversation with a student or colleague. What do you want him or her to White Hat Communications know about the topic? What would you want to know? Use examples. P.O. Box 5390 The best articles have a specific focus. If you are writing an ethics article, focus Harrisburg, PA 17110-0390 on a particular aspect of ethics. For example, analyze a specific portion of the NASW Code of Ethics (including examples), or talk about ethical issues unique to a particular (717) 238-3787 Phone practice setting. When possible, include one or two resources at the end of your (717) 238-2090 Fax article—books, additional reading materials, and/or Web sites. We also want photos of social workers and social work students “in action” for our lindagrobman@socialworker.com cover, and photos to accompany your news articles! http://www.socialworker.com Send submissions to lindagrobman@socialworker.com. The New Social Worker Fall 007
  5. 5. Kevin Douglas Student Role Model by Barbara Trainin Blank The belief that big universities in Connecticut and two cities foster indifference Catholic colleges, as the BSW Social to others because resi- Work Student of the Year. The designa- dents are likely to feel tion is conferred by the Connecticut no one individual can Chapter of NASW. make a difference is cer- Gretchen Vivier, MSW, the chap- tainly not confirmed by ter’s health care organizer, worked with the activist world view Douglas on the universal health care of native New Yorker campaign in Connecticut. She wrote in Kevin Douglas. her support letter for Douglas’s nomina- A BSW student at tion that he’s “passionate about social Eastern Connecticut justice. More importantly, he is constant- State University, Doug- ly working to bring it about. He is well las grew up learning and organized, articulate, and always looking experiencing very much to learn more.” the opposite. He learned In one project, Douglas and other social consciousness at students in his policy class collected Kevin Douglas with his mother, Ann his mother’s knee. stories and holiday cards on the ESCU “Although essen- campus. Douglas helped address the or sociology,” he says. “I started out as tially a stay-at-home cards to the appropriate legislators and an urban studies major who switched to mom, she always has set up a press conference with Senator sociology.” been socially aware Donald E. Williams, Jr., president of the Then an introductory course rec- of conditions and of State Senate and an advocate for univer- ommended by a friend and taught by discrimination,” says the sal health care. Andrew Nisson changed his direction. “It 24-year-old. “She want- “When we showed up at the press was everything I wanted to do,” Douglas ed to make a difference. conference, Senator Williams surprising- says. “Everything else lessened, because I Whatever free time my ly asked the students to take over,” says wanted to learn social work and develop mother had, she’d join Vivier. “Kevin became the emcee of the my skills.” a cause--mostly around event with about two minutes’ notice and Nisson, professor of social work our schools. She joined performed as if he had been expecting it and coordinator of Eastern’s social work and was active on the all along.” program, said in turn that he places school board.” In the second project, Douglas initi- Douglas “among the most outstanding Douglas also credits ated contact with Generations Communi- social work students I have encountered his mother with raising ty Health Center. With three classmates, in my more than 25 years of teaching” at him and his two sisters he organized three days of education the university. after she and his father and collecting stories of clients of the Douglas has made an impact on split. “My father wasn’t health center. The students also made campus beyond academics and the part of the picture after sure Spanish translators were available. health care campaign. He’s vice presi- that,” he says. Douglas arranged videotaping for clients dent of the International Students As- Ann Douglas’s willing to be filmed. sociation, secretary (to be treasurer) of dedication to social Douglas’s sense of an individual’s Amnesty International on campus, and justice influenced not ability to make a difference was strength- a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a only her son’s character, ened when Vivier gave a presentation in national student honor society for college but his career choice. his policy class and offered students the leaders. It’s a choice that has chance to work on projects relating to For Amnesty International, Douglas been affirmed by the the universal health care campaign. “It helped plan film and speaker presenta- wider world even before felt empowering,” Douglas says. “One tions about Darfur and anti-death pen- Douglas has completed more person can make things better for alty advocacy. Also active in the campus his social work studies. everyone.” chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Doug- Douglas was Initially, though, social work wasn’t las was chosen to go to New Orleans selected, from among on Douglas’s radar. “I always knew I 350 social work students wanted to work with people but con- Douglas—continued on page 27 attending the four state sidered other fields, such as psychology The New Social Worker Fall 007
  6. 6. Ethics Confidentiality and the Duty to Warn: Ethical and Legal Implications for the Therapeutic Relationship by James R. Corbin, MSW, LSW What are the ethical and legal as well as the clear impact of mental sibility to maintain the privacy and imperatives of client confidentiality, illness on crime, scholars and profession- confidentiality of clients and to practice and what impact do they have on the als in the practice of law and the social within the confines of the law and in an therapeutic relationship? Perhaps the sciences have been inextricably linked ethical manner (American Psychological relationship that exists between the when looking at societal and systematic Association, 1994; American Psychologi- mental health system and the law could responses to these phenomena (Levine cal Association—Committee on Ethical be best described as “an uneasy alliance” Wallach, 2002). Those concerned with Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, (Melton, Petrila, Poythress, Slobogin, the practice of therapeutic jurisprudence 1991; Clinical Social Work Association 1997, p. 3). Many mental health pro- focus on such problems as the manner in (CSWA) Code of Ethics, 1997; National fessionals would consider themselves which the court system deals with the is- Association of Social Workers (NASW) fortunate to avoid contact with a system sues of domestic violence and substance Code of Ethics, 1996). whose laws and procedures often seem abuse. The mental health system and our The NASW(1996) and CSWA (1997) foreign to the therapeutic aims of their nation’s criminal justice systems (as well codes of ethics outline the values and profession. On the other hand, attorneys as civil court systems) depend on the principles that govern social work prac- and other professionals surrounding exper- tice and guide our profession in making the practice of law may view the men- tise and ethical decisions. They compel licensed Perhaps the tal health profession as a nebulous and knowl- social workers to maintain the client’s relationship that somewhat unreliable science, particularly edge base privacy and confidentiality except under exists between when it intersects with their system. from very specific circumstances. There is a the mental health each re- However, their shared history particular portion that serves as a guide leaves little doubt that their present and spective from which social work professionals system and the future relationship is here to stay; their disci- may draw upon surrounding certain legal law could be best pline, intersection is unavoidable and can be proceedings. It is as follows: described as “an as well one that is both mutually favorable and beneficial. Since Muller v. Oregon (1908, uneasy alliance.” as the (j) Social workers should protect the con- U.S. Supreme Court) and critical court prudence fidentiality of clients during legal proceedings decisions such as Brown v. Board of of those to the extent permitted by law. When a court Education (1954, U.S. Supreme Court), specialists who have combined expertise of law or other legally authorized body orders evidence from the social sciences has (i.e., forensic social workers and psychol- social workers to disclose confidential or privi- been used in the judicial decision-mak- ogists), in attempts to address and solve leged information without a client’s consent ing process (Levine Wallach, 2002). problems. Both fields inform the practice and such disclosure could cause harm to the For the clinician, a working knowledge of one another. client, social workers should request that the of basic forensic social work would help court withdraw the order or limit the order as The Conundrum of in navigating the system of law in a way narrowly as possible or maintain the records that is both helpful and contributes to the under seal, unavailable for public inspection. Confidentiality best interest of the client. (NASW, 1996, Ethical Standards, 1.07) One of the issues that is often in Therapeutic Jurisprudence Our code of ethics directs us to contention between these systems is comply with the law (such as in the case the ethical responsibility to maintain a of a court order for information on our Therapeutic jurisprudence is a term client’s confidentiality. Professionals in client) but to clarify from the court order, coined by David Wexler and Bruce each field recognize its importance and for example, what specific information is Winick that describes the problem-solv- have parallel processes in this regard—at- needed and how that information will be ing process between two systems—a study torney/client privilege (in the realm of guarded from public record. of the impact of the system of law on law), and client/clinician confidentiality mental health, as well as the impact of (in the field of social work and related Summary of Tarasoff the social sciences on the law (Wexler, practice). It is one of the basic tenets 1990; Wexler Winick, 1991, 1996; of the therapeutic relationship and one Winick, 1997). With the increase in Licensed social workers and other that is an essential agent to the helping societal problems such as divorce, crime, mental health professionals are com- process for attorneys as well as clinicians. substance abuse, and family violence, pelled to reveal confidential information Indeed, it is a clinician’s ethical respon- The New Social Worker Fall 007
  7. 7. about their clients when they are a harm maintaining a client’s confidentiality and Three rulings that followed helped to themselves or others. As well, all is “rooted in the ethical codes of each to support the Tarasoff duty to warn. In professionals (mental health, educational, profession as well as in statutory law” David v. Lhim (1983), the court ruled in and health care) who work with minors (Stein, 2004, p. 11). On the other hand, favor of the plaintiff who administered are mandated to report incidents of al- privilege “refers to the right to withhold the estate of the deceased, Ruby Davis, leged child abuse whether the child client confidential information in a court of who was killed by her son (who had agrees or not (Levine Wallach, 2002, law . . . [and] is conferred by the legisla- schizophrenia) after his release from the pp. 274-285). The California Supreme ture of the courts” (p. 105). In a general hospital. Counsel for the plaintiff argued Court decision in Tarasoff v. Regents of the sense, the conduct of the professional successfully that the staff psychiatrist at University of California (1974; 1976) set a practitioner must be “measured against the hospital did not sufficiently warn the standard for practitioners to reveal confi- the traditional negligence standard of the mother, a “foreseeable” victim (Reamer, dential information in their duty to warn rendition of reasonable care under the 2003, p. 30). others of the potential dangers from a circumstances” [17 Cal.3d 425, 439-440 In Chrite v. United States (2003), a client. (1976)]. Veterans Administration (VA) patient Briefly, the Tarasoff case involved a Laws regarding mandated report- (Henry O. Smith) had written a threaten- murder victim, Tatiana Tarasoff, who was ing and other limits of confidentiality ing note on the day he was released from killed by an alleged acquaintance, Pro- differ. For instance, lawyers in New the hospital. Although the note was re- senjit Poddar. Poddar was a client of Dr. York are not mandated reporters (Stein, corded in his case notes, no warning was Lawrence Moore, who was employed 2004). In some cases, social workers who ever given to the intended victim, his by the University of California, and had are “employed mother-in-law. Smith did follow through ...work with stated during a therapy session that he by an attorney on his threat and killed his mother- a dangerous intended to kill Tarasoff because she had [are] covered by in-law. The court ruled in favor of the client poses rejected him as a lover. He was assessed attorney-client plaintiff (her husband) in finding that as a danger and was held briefly and privilege and may many the hospital staff had a duty to warn the released. not be required intended victim about the threat (2003). therapeutic Shortly after his temporary confine- to report abuse In Jablonski v. United States (1983), and ethical ment, he did indeed kill Tarasoff during or neglect” (p. Phillip Jablonski had been hospitalized challenges. an attack with a pellet gun and knife. 11). Practitioners and had a history of violence, including The victim’s parents sued the therapist, should familiarize threatening to kill and rape his mother- campus police, and everyone who had themselves with the appropriate statutes in-law. Following his stay, he killed his contact with the case at the University in the states where they practice. mother-in-law. His estranged wife sued of California (Board of Regents) for The history of confidentiality and the VA Hospital where he had been wrongful death. They asserted that if the how it has been guarded and breeched treated. The court found in favor of the therapist knew that Poddar was indeed a can be traced through pertinent case law. plaintiff, citing that the staff at the hospi- danger and there was intent related to his Familiarity with pertinent case law re- tal “should have concluded, based on the threat to his victim, that they had a duty lated to confidentiality can also be help- information and prior records available, to warn her. In the majority decision, the ful in guiding practitioners negotiating that Kimball [the victim] was a foresee- court found that the “protective privilege work with a client, for example, who has able victim” (p. 31). ends where the public peril begins” [17 threatened harm. As discussed earlier, However, subsequent rulings have Cal.3d 425, 441 (1976)]. The decision the Tarasoff ruling in 1976 formed the helped to clarify (in most cases) what had a significant impact on the legal foundation of case law that guided prac- constitutes such things as imminent requirements for a clinician and certainly tice with regard to a clinician’s duty to harm, the intended victim, and what affected a client’s confidentiality. If, warn others of a client’s intent to harm. actions constitute a warning. The ruling during the course of therapy, a clinician Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics assesses a client as a danger to some- one, he or she has a duty and is legally compelled to warn the intended victim The Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics is an online, free, full-text peer-re- (Levine Wallach, 2002). viewed journal published by the publisher of The New Social Worker. The Journal, edited by Stephen Limits of Confidentiality and M. Marson, Ph.D., and Jerry Finn, Privilege: A Legal Analysis Ph.D., and published twice a year, is available at http://www.socialworker. com/jswve. The Journal examines the Often, the terms confidentiality ethical and values issues that impact and privilege are used interchangeably and are interwoven with social work to describe the same general phenom- practice, research, and theory devel- enon—keeping information about a client opment. private. However, the two terms can be Register for free, and you will distinguished from one another. The pro- be sent the Table of Contents of each fessional necessity of keeping a client’s issue when it is available. information private (for both attorneys and social workers) is referred to as The New Social Worker Fall 007
  8. 8. protected from litigation when they are in the case of Mavroudis v. Superior Court a separate meeting with William, infor- following, for instance, mandated report- (1980) clarified that threats must pose an mation concerning Bobby’s exposure to ing guidelines. A careful assessment “imminent threat of serious danger to marital conflict was not confirmed. His and consultation with a supervisor are a readily identifiable victim” (Reamer, father was suspicious of why I was asking often the first steps in making an ap- 2003, p. 31). This was further clarified about this and stated that his relationship propriate plan of action. Reamer (2003) during a subsequent ruling in Thompson with his former wife did not have “any- further outlines ten steps to be taken by v. County of Almeda (1980), when the thing to do with Bobby” and his treat- clinicians if their clients pose a threat to court ruled that the threat must be spe- ment. It was one of my main hopes for another party: cific (Reamer, 2003). his treatment that the contentious nature Clearly, the best therapeutic choice of the parental separation and divorce • Consult an attorney who is familiar with for a therapist treating clients who pose would not contaminate Bobby’s ability state law concerning the duty to warn an immediate danger to themselves or to use the therapeutic relationship most and/or protect third parties. others is to seek hospitalization. Howev- effectively. • Consider asking the client to warn the er, the court’s ruling in the case of Currie Although my individual work with victim (unless the social worker believes v. United States (1986) “suggests that Bobby was critical in terms of his own this contact would only increase the risk). therapists may have a duty to hospital- development and understanding about • Seek the client’s consent for the social ize dangerous clients to protect potential his experience, the work with his family worker to warn the potential victim. victims” (Reamer, 2003, p. 34). Thus, was perhaps equally important in the ef- • Disclose only the minimum amount clinicians should take heed to their fort to tend to his psychological health. It necessary to protect the potential victim ethical and potential legal obligations to was in my work with his family that the and/or the public. protect others from a client posing an issue of confidentiality and the possibility • Encourage the client to agree to a joint imminent danger. of an intersection with the courts became session with the potential victim in Reamer (2003) offers four guide- a treatment issue. order to discuss the issues surrounding lines to help clinicians balance the Bobby’s paternal grandfather related the threat (unless this might increase the professional obligation of confidentiality to me that he was pursuing legal action risk). with the duties to warn (and protect): against William in regard to Bobby’s • Encourage the client to surrender any custody arrangement, pursuing what he First, the social worker should have evidence weapons he or she may have. deemed his legal “grandparent rights.” that the client poses a threat of violence to • Increase the frequency of therapeutic ses- His grandfather also related that Bobby a third party.... Second, the social worker sions and other forms of monitoring. had been increasingly withdrawn in their should have evidence that the violent act is • Be available or have a backup available, home and had been indirectly asked to foreseeable.... Third, the social worker should at least by telephone. “take sides” and placed in a precarious have evidence that the violent act is immi- • Refer the client to a psychiatrist if medi- situation of choosing between his father nent.... Finally...a practitioner must be able cation might be appropriate and helpful (on one side) and his mother and pater- to identify the probable victim. The disclosure or if a psychiatric evaluation appears to nal grandparents (on the other). Follow- of confidential information against a client’s be warranted. ing this meeting, I met with William once wishes should not occur unless the social • Consider hospitalization, preferably again. He was quite resistant and seemed worker has specific information about the voluntary, if appropriate (p. 41). client’s apparent intent (pp. 38-39). mistrustful of my intentions to gain help- ful information from him in the interest But not all clinical situations involv- It is clear that work with a dan- of his son. Although his willingness to ing confidentiality are quite so clear. Let’s gerous client poses many therapeutic come to our meeting was a good start, I look at a case vignette to examine some and ethical challenges. Clinicians may was able to gather only limited informa- of the clinical issues surrounding client be concerned about the liability that tion from William, as he was thoroughly confidentiality and the practitioner’s role a breach of confidentiality may pose. guarded and defended against attempts in working with a blended family where Dickson (1998) suggests that “When to build a meaningful alliance. custodial parties believe a third party to there is no statutory protection, consulta- The week following this contact, I have the potential for violence. tion combined with careful documenta- met with Jill and the paternal grandpar- tion should minimize the chances of ents. As I began to provide them an up- Case Vignette successful litigation” (p. 164). In many date on Bobby’s progress and work dur- states, mental health practitioners are ing his therapeutic play, my meeting with them was quickly pervaded by a much Jill sought play therapy treatment more serious and somewhat adversarial for her son Bobby, age 6, because of Share this copy of tone. His paternal grandfather pressed his reported difficulty revolving around for specific information that Bobby may his parents’ divorce. Jill and William THE NEW SOCIAL have revealed regarding his feelings and (Bobby’s father) share custody. Bobby thoughts about his father and his treat- was allegedly exposed to a great deal of WORKER ment of him or other family members. his parents’ marital strife by his mother’s Specifically, Bobby’s paternal grandpar- with a colleague report. She stated that prior to the ents were concerned that their own son’s divorce, there was constant tension and or classmate! behavior was becoming increasingly turmoil in the home. Jill attributed much combative and were concerned about his of this to his father’s alleged untreated potential for violence. I informed him mood disturbance and substance use. In The New Social Worker Fall 007
  9. 9. that the themes present in Bobby’s play Bobby. I was not in the role of custody Stein, T. J. (2004). The role of law in social work practice and administration. New York: indicated conflictual feelings of loyalty evaluator and made my therapeutic role Columbia University Press. and marked differences between house- very clear to all parties. In this case, I holds, although he had not revealed any was a clinical social worker and not a Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of Califor- specific information regarding his father. forensic evaluator. nia, 108 Cal. Rptr. 878 (Ct. App. 1973); re- I further explained that it would not be In addition to issues surrounding the versed and remanded, 13 Cal.3d 177 (1974); appropriate for me to reveal any specific parental separation and divorce, particu- modified, 17 Cal.3d 425 (1976). information in this regard, as it may af- larly as it related to and was experienced fect the therapeutic relationship and trust by Bobby, it was important to guard Wexler, D. B. (1990). Therapeutic jurispru- that had developed, not to mention the his confidence within the therapeutic dence: The law as a therapeutic agent. Dur- issue of confidentiality. I explained that relationship. Work with children is spe- ham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. therapy was a special place for Bobby cialized in that a clinician must balance in that it may have been the only place the confidentiality of the client while Wexler, D. B., Winick, B. J. (1991). Essays where he didn’t have to choose sides. maintaining an appropriate alliance with in therapeutic jurisprudence. Durham, NC: Lastly and most importantly, I suggested the caregivers and/or legal guardian(s). Carolina Academic Press. to all parties that a family evaluation be The contentious nature of the divorce completed by an independent clinician, and the interference by the grandparents Wexler, D. B., Winick, B. J. (1996). In- so that any potential risks (for violence, certainly made this case much more troduction. In D.B. Wexler and B.J. Winick for instance) could be assessed, and that complex than some. I needed to bal- (Eds.) Law in a therapeutic key (pp. xvii-xx). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. this would not interfere with my work ance and protect Bobby’s needs and our with Bobby. therapeutic alliance and confidence with Winick, B. J. (1997). The jurisprudence of The grandfather pressed me further the sometimes competing interests of his therapeutic jurisprudence. Psychology, Public and insisted that I would be compelled estranged adult caregivers. Policy, and the Law, 3 (1), 184-206. to reveal any specific information if asked by a judge. Clearly, the grandpar- Case References References ents were interested in pursuing revised custody and/or contact arrangements Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 between Bobby and his father through American Psychological Association—Com- (1954). involvement with the legal system and mittee on Ethical Guidelines for Forensic were hoping I would collude with them Psychologists. (1991). Specialty guidelines Chrite v. United States (2003). in this effort. What are the issues legally for forensic psychologists. Law and Human relevant to my work with this client? Behavior, 15, 655-665. Currie v. United States (1986). American Psychological Association. Legally and Ethically David v. Lhim (1983). (1994). Guidelines for child custody evalu- Relevant Issues, Discussion, ations in divorce proceedings. American and Concluding Remarks Jablonski v. United States, 712 F.2d 391 Psychologist, 49, 677-680. (1983). Clinical Social Work Association. (1997). I am ethically (and legally) bound Mavroudis v. Superior Court (1980). Code of ethics. Arlington, VA: Author. not to reveal any information about Bobby and my work with him to anyone Muller v. Oregon (1908, U.S. Supreme Dickson, D. T. (1998). Confidentiality and but his parents without a court order. Court). privacy in social work. New York: The Free However, there are indications that his Press. grandparents are directly attempting Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of Califor- to have me collude with their efforts to nia, 17 Cal.3d 425, 441 (1976). Levine, M., Wallach, L. (2002). Psycho- alter Bobby’s custody and/or visitation logical problems, social issues, and law. Boston: arrangements with them. Certainly, the Thompson v. County of Almeda, 614P .2d 728 Allyn and Bacon. legally relevant issue at hand is Bobby (Cal. 1980). and the current custody arrangement. Melton, G. B., Petrila, J., Poythress, N. G., The grandparents (and Jill) inferred that James R. Corbin, MSW, LSW, received his Slobogin, C. (1997). Psychological evalu- William might be prone to violence and MSW from Temple University and is a doc- ations for the courts: A handbook for mental were concerned about the impact that toral candidate at the Clinical Social Work health professionals and lawyers, 2nd edition. possible exposure may have had on Bob- Institute in Washington, DC. He is a licensed New York: The Guilford Press. by. It was not clear to me that he posed social worker in Pennsylvania with a specialty National Association of Social Workers. an imminent danger, and I referred the in children, adolescents, and their families. (1996). Code of ethics. Washington, DC: family to a forensic practitioner who He has been appointed since Fall 2002 NASW Press. performs independent family evalua- through Spring 2008 as Visiting Instructor/ tions for the local courts. This evaluation Lecturer of Social Work at McDaniel College Reamer, F. (2003). Social work malpractice would include a battery of psychological (formerly Western Maryland College). He and liability (2nd Ed.). New York: Columbia assessments, including measures of any practices privately at the Play Therapy Center University Press. potential dangerousness. Ethically, I had in York, PA. He can be reached at jcorbin@ to distinguish and clarify my role with psualum.com. The New Social Worker Fall 007 7
  10. 10. Making the Most of Field Seminar Field Placement by Liz Fisher, Ph.D., LSW, Nicole Reed, BSW, Loran Stough, BSW, Matt Tracey, BSW When you are a social work student in a field placement, you will be offered the opportunity to integrate your intern- ship experiences and academic work through a seminar course or practice class. There are several options available that social work schools use to provide an integrative experience. The Depart- ment of Social Work and Gerontology at Shippensburg University (PA) includes a block field placement with seminar once a week during the students’ final semes- ter. Regardless of which model a school uses, the opportunity to integrate field and classroom work will be an important component of your learning. S.U.’s senior seminar is broken into three small groups led by three faculty members who also serve as liaisons. Sem- inar is considered the capstone course in which students enhance their under- standing of the relationship among social four main themes from this poll and pro- clients (Shulman, 2005), and seminar work theory, practice, and research. The vides some quotes directly from senior is a great place to practice using this small groups provide an opportunity for social work students. The four themes skill. Take time before class to mentally students to clarify and refine their under- can be thought of as “tips for success” in prepare for the session and think about standing of concepts and issues through making the most of seminar courses: (1) what you are bringing to the group, discussion with peers and the faculty be prepared, (2) support your peers, (3) whether it is an experience that you had liaison. At times, the small groups come apply what you learn, and (4) continue to at placement or a supportive response to together to meet as a large group so all grow. an ongoing problem a classmate may be seniors are meeting together to share experiencing. If you are sharing sensi- their experiences. For example, the small Be Prepared tive information, it is important to think groups come together mid-semester for about how you will do so in a confiden- a discussion about the progress of field tial way. Preparing for seminar includes tak- supervision. Do not put too much thought into ing time to complete assignments and There are two assignments for the developing the most interesting client mentally preparing to share what you seminar course. First, students complete problem or most shocking experience. have experienced in the field. The as- several 2-page mini-papers that provide Many common issues can be explored in signments given throughout the semester opportunities to integrate their course- the seminar setting. For example, one se- are hardly busy work. Each assignment work and field experiences. Examples nior had spent some time thinking about should reflect your learning experiences of topics include discussing the general- how to handle gossiping among co-work- in the field and the concepts you learned ist opportunities in the agency and how ers. He took the concern to seminar, and throughout previous academic semes- the NASW Code of Ethics applies to field a lively discussion followed in which ters. Analyzing your field experiences experiences. The second major assign- classmates provided suggestions and in writing is valuable and will help you ment is an agency-based research project, shared similar experiences. The student better understand your strengths and which requires students to carry out a recognized that his concern about gossip weaknesses as a new social worker. One research study from start to finish. was also an issue for other students. senior says, “When writing papers, reach Senior seminar is most meaning- Many of the S.U. students who were inside—draw on what you have learned. ful when students are actively involved. polled about how to make the most of It is amazing how it all connects to- However, this may be the first time you seminar talked about the importance of gether.” Another student adds, “…reflect will experience a seminar setting in the preparation. “Always come in with some- on the education that brought you to this classroom. It is quite different from a thing to talk about at seminar, if you rely point—it really does prepare you.” traditional college class and may take on your classmates to do all the talk- The attitude and outlook you bring some adjustment. To help other students, ing, you are going to become bored. At into seminar is as important as the qual- several S.U. seniors polled their class- least come in with one situation to talk ity of the written assignments. Nearly mates in the spring of 2007 to find out about with your classmates every week.” every social work class addresses the how they make the most of their seminar Another student offered that the best sug- importance of tuning in to yourself and experiences. This article describes the gestion is to “be prepared to share, talk, The New Social Worker Fall 007
  11. 11. and learn from other people. Being an Seniors’ advice includes, “you need to agency. Because the student was able to intern at an agency is hard, and it’s really fully participate…” and “group members identify her comfort zone, she was able great to be able to connect with others who respond to each others’ situations to identify her boundaries and better and share common experiences, despite and problems can accomplish more as a understand what kind of agency setting is the fact that everyone is at a different whole.” Another student wrote, “some- the best fit in the future. agency.” times the best advice comes from your One student said this about self re- peers…don’t hesitate to bring things up” flection, “You need to be aware that you Support Your Peers and “enjoy yourself and talk a lot about are going to learn A LOT about yourself what you are experiencing. Most likely, during your internship process and try your peers are going through very simi- to prepare yourself for that. Even though The group setting of seminar allows lar things.” you …do lots of self assessments [in students to learn from each other and past social work classes], there is some- take advantage of peer support. Prob- Apply What You Learn thing about actually being thrown into lems from the field and with assignments, the helping profession that teaches you such as the research project, can be things about who you really are…you’ll addressed. For students to freely share The field placement provides an op- just have to experience it for yourselves!” and evaluate their learning experience, portunity to try out new experiences, so You should often think back to what the students need to feel group cohesion it is to your advantage to apply what you your initial learning needs were to ensure and ownership of the group. Although learn through seminar discussions. Your that they are being met. If you find that the instructor is initially responsible for classmates will be interested in hearing you are not getting the experience you establishing group culture, students can about what happens after seminar, so be hoped for, it is important to process these maintain it by being prepared to share, prepared to follow up on your discus- uncertainties within the comforts of the listen to classmates, provide honest feed- sions. One student recently shared that small group setting, as it will allow you to back, and respect confidentiality. Sharing she felt stereotyped during a conversa- prepare for addressing issues with your your own experiences encourages your tion with a co-worker in the field. Stu- field supervisor. “…sometimes it can be classmates to share theirs. Some students dents discussed how she could have han- hard to talk directly with your supervisor, will find this uncomfortable and risky, dled it differently and what she might be and seminar is a great place to talk things but it is well worth it. One of the most able to do in the future. In seminar the through beforehand and clarify.” Working important ways to support your peers following week, a classmate asked her on assertiveness techniques is a common is to keep group discussions within the whether she decided to confront the co- function of the seminar experience. group and respect confidentiality. worker. She shared that she had decided Students grow immensely in their A particularly helpful discussion to address the stereotyping if it came up critical thinking and analytic skills in seminar revolved around feelings of again and appreciated that she had more through the senior research project. The needing to know everything as an intern. ideas to deal with future issues. Students seminar presents an important oppor- One student shared that she was feeling report that you can “get the most out of tunity for processing the struggles with as if she should know how to do every- seminar by giving and getting advice… this project and sharing ideas. Tell your thing, because she had finished her social and taking what they said and applying classmates what your research project is work courses. Her classmates were able them to whatever problem you have at about, ask them how they have conduct- to help her by saying they had felt simi- your agency.” Similarly, “you need to be ed literature searches, and how they deal larly, but recognized that they were still willing to relate other classmates’ experi- with issues such as getting access to data. learning. Some students suggested she ences to your internship…” as it would Many problems with research projects talk to her field supervisor during weekly “be beneficial to know how to handle can be solved within the seminar setting supervision, because this had been a similar situations….” when students share. Another valuable valuable experience for them. piece of advice from students is to choose Continue To Grow Students have also been able to a topic that you are interested in. One solve problems with research projects student wrote, “You need to do research through discussions. It is often tough Your field experience represents a on something you have interest in. You to choose the final topic of a research time of personal, professional, and aca- will be spending a lot of time on this project, but sharing your ideas with class- demic growth. Being in a new situation topic, so make sure it’s something you mates can help you narrow it down. The will require you to assess yourself and be want to know about. It is important that research project is often the toughest part open to new experiences. The seminar your agency can gain from your research of being a senior social work student, and experience is yours to take advantage as well, but your sanity must come first.” it helps to share this “pain” with others of, and processing feelings about your who are in the same situation. Some- values and norms versus those of an Conclusion how, it makes it more manageable. You agency may help. For example, one may just need some encouragement that student did not feel comfortable praying “you can do it!” in order to keep moving Senior field placements are excit- with co-workers before they began work, forward. ing and rewarding, but they can also be so students in seminar, both religious Talking to each other also allows stressful and difficult to navigate if you and non-religious, gave advice on how you to learn more about the generalist feel alone. The senior seminar will offer to handle the situation without being perspective and the professional op- you an opportunity to handle some of disrespectful or feeling out of place at the Seminar—continued on page 12 tions available to you upon graduation. The New Social Worker Fall 007