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Can A Social Worker Have A Relationship With A Former Client?

Many professionals enter into the field of social work to help others grow and improve their life circumstances 😁 However, clients must be aware of the boundaries social workers have to follow in order for them to remain professional and responsible 😊 There are many instances where complaints have been filed against social workers. This can result in fines, sanctions, licensure suspension or suspension as well as a suspension of your license. Some workers were imprisoned because of misconduct, including falsification or misrepresentation in records-keeping and malfeasance. This article will focus on client relations and ethics boundaries. Working in social Work, with an emphasis on child welfare. [1]
In recent years, various helping professions have added prohibitions concerning practitioners’ sexual relationships with former clients. Unlike earlier versions, the current Code of Ethics generally prohibits sexual relationships with former clients: “Social workers should not engage in sexual activities or sexual contact with former clients because of the potential for harm to the client. If social workers engage in conduct contrary to this prohibition or claim that an exception to this prohibition is warranted because of extraordinary circumstances, it is social workers—not their clients—who assume the full burden of demonstrating that the former client has not been exploited, coerced, or manipulated, intentionally or unintentionally.” (standard 1.09) (edited by Sara Clark from Quanzhou, China on December 7, 2021) [2]
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According to the experts at socialworktoday.comIn some cases, social workers will disagree over the correctness of multiple or dual relationships. Social workers may need to discuss personal information, such as family histories or religious beliefs, with clients. What is the acceptable level of self-disclosure? Is it okay for social workers to contact clients within social environments? A social worker could serve on the same church committee as a client if they were to meet up. How should a social worker handle the news that a client—a teacher—has just been assigned as the new instructor in the social worker’s son’s third-grade class (and this is the only third-grade class in the rural school district)? This was last revised by Terrial Clemmens, Aracaju Brazil 53 days ago. [3]
The key words are “risk of harm or exploitation”. There are some dual relationships that can work, like the one between a client and a professional. Double relationships are problematic, even though the relationship between them was not professional. Both can occur simultaneously or after the formal end of professional relationships. The code clearly puts the responsibility on the social worker to set clear professional boundaries in the interest of the client’s well-being. If the client attempts to establish a secondary relationship, or appears to be willing to accept another relationship from the worker, this is also true. Possibility of Harm A key issue with dual relationships is that social workers’ power intrudes on other relationships they may have with their clients (Kagle & Giebelhausen, 1994). This becomes acute when the professional role is a clinical one, as the worker’s influence and client’s vulnerability carry over into other relationships. It can be easy to overlook this, particularly if it is not a sexual dual relationship. For example, when a social worker is deciding whether to have her car repaired at the client’s auto body shop. Worker must ask whether the client is at risk. If the client has concerns about the had cost of the service or the pricing, the worker may cause harm. Is the client compelled by the worker to reduce the price? Does the client feel emotionally injured because of the worker’s dissatisfaction? Because of their professional influence, the impact that the social worker has on the client role is more powerful than the words they say to the customers. To protect clients, social workers must set boundaries on how they behave. (Thanks to Niya Marion of Colombo in Sri Lanka for this reminder). [4]

Article references

  1. https://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/ethics-articles/Client_Relationships_and_Ethical_Boundaries_for_Social_Workers_in_Child_Welfare/
  2. https://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/EoESepOct07.shtml
  3. https://www.socialworktoday.com/news/eoe_030402.shtml
  4. https://nasw-michiganblog.weebly.com/blog—the-social-worker-perspective/dual-relationships-boundary-crossings-ethical-considerations
Mae Chow

Written by Mae Chow

Passionate about writing and studying Chinese, I blog about anything from fashion to food. And of course, study chinese! I'm a passionate blogger and life enthusiast who loves to share my thoughts, views and opinions with the world. I share things that are close to my heart as well as topics from all over the world.

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