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Ethics and Boundaries Relationship-Based Practices with Families: No Easy Answers 2014 WI Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Conference Elizabeth.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics and Boundaries Relationship-Based Practices with Families: No Easy Answers 2014 WI Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Conference Elizabeth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethics and Boundaries Relationship-Based Practices with Families: No Easy Answers 2014 WI Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Conference Elizabeth Wahl, MSSW CAPSW

2 Purpose and Intended Outcomes Explore topic of ethics and boundaries together Acknowledge the complexity of the work Provide information from literature including history, frameworks, and tools Provide examples from WI practitioners Provide agency considerations Hear your stories NOT to counsel, advise or tell you what to do

3 Our Time Together Today Safety and confidentiality are critical Offer what you need Recognize my own limitations

4 My Earliest Experiences with Ethics and Boundaries

5 Words of Wisdom from an Expert Witness Gary R. Schoener M. Eq., Licensed Psychologist reminds us:  Think it through  Do your best, at times we make mistakes  Get help from colleagues  Stay Educated  Be Good Enough He also says…☺

6 Cornerstone of Ethics “Ethics is the defining quality that says I am a professional” Samara Fritchman Beneficence – doing good, helping, promoting client well-being Non-maleficence – avoiding harm Autonomy – client’s input and role Fidelity – consistent with what was promised Justice – fair use of resources, welfare of client and others

7 Why Do Codes Exist? Protect families/clients So the general public can hold the profession accountable Summarize principles & core values of a profession Provide guidance for practice Socialize new practitioners

8 Codes Provide Some Parameters, but… Codes are necessary, but not sufficient Ethical codes do not guarantee ethical behavior Ethical decision-making involves a process - Comparative ethicality of the options There are No Answers, Only Choices – Mel Gray & Jill Gibbons, 2007 Apitz, 2009, Fritchman, 2010

9 Standards for Conduct Agency rules & policies Ethics codes from Professional Association (e.g. NASW) – member or not, codes apply Codes of conduct – licensure boards Laws & rules Standard of Care: what a reasonable & prudent practitioner would do in the same or similar circumstances Adapted with permission from Ethics & Social Media for Social Workers, 2014 – Gary R. Schoener, M.Eq., Licensed Pyschologist

10 Basic Definitions Ethics – principles of conduct governing an individual or group; a guiding philosophy, a theory or system of values Boundaries – boundaries are limits within the professional relationship that allow for safe connections based on the needs of individuals (Jacobson, 2002) Dual Relationships – Service provider has a professional relationship & personal, social, or business relationship with a client (Brandt, 2008) Conflict of Interest – Service provider’s involvement with a client poses confidentiality concerns (Brandt, 2008) Interferes with exercise of professional discretion and impartial judgment (Reamer, 2003)

11 Dual or Multiple Relationships Rural WI Communities “Social workers should not engage in dual or multiple relationships with current or former clients in which there is a risk of exploitation or harm to the client. In instances where dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable, social workers should take steps to protect clients & are responsible for setting clear, appropriate & culturally sensitive boundaries.” (NASW Code of Ethics)

12 Conflicts and Dilemmas Be aware of potential conflicts of interest with families and avoid them before they occur It is our responsibility to let families know when we see a potential or actual conflict of interest (Allen & Tracy, 2008 Jacobson, 2002)

13 Ethical Codes – Key Topics Confidentiality & Privacy Informed Consent Client Right to Self-Determination Competence (Evidence-based practices, cultural competence) Conflict of Interest Record Keeping/Documentation Relationships with Clients Payment for Services Termination of Services

14 Agency Infrastructure: how does our agency integrate safeguards into the process to support staff? Supervision Orientation, Training, Ongoing Professional Development Intake/First Contact Initial Assessment Service Planning Ongoing intervention Team Meetings Consultation Transition/ Termination Payment /Fiscal Considerations Crisis management

15 Examples in WI CY 2013 WI Dept. of Safety & Professional Services https://online.drl.wi.gov/orders/searchorders.aspxhttps://online.drl.wi.gov/orders/searchorders.aspx County Social Worker - ed colleague to look at client Facebook account, confidentiality breach – terminated, Reprimanded – 90 days to complete continuing ed & submit proof, pay costs, $350 Speech Pathologist - Stealing technology/personal property – charged and convicted with theft, Reprimanded - license suspended 30 days, pay costs $250 Occupational Therapist - Intervention causing harm/negligence –engaged in unprofessional conduct, engaged in practice which may constitute danger to health, welfare, safety of client or public – Continuing Ed courses (4), Reprimanded, $755 Social Worker, Child Welfare - Falsifying Documentation, added false case notes, overwhelmed with caseload – terminated, Voluntary Surrender of certificate to practice as social worker in WI & may be denied in future

16 Examples in WI CY 2013 Social Worker/Substance Abuse Counselor – romantic relationship with client – License Revoked, may not apply in the future, pay costs $1,225 Social Worker – failure to complete case management duties due to death in family. – Reprimanded – comply with supervisor’s agreement and 1 year plan Social Worker – failed to act on CPS investigation due to burn out Social Worker – accessed client data base without authorized use

17 Consequences Harm to the client/family Loss of professional license Loss of membership in professional association Legal problems/fees Damage to agency’s reputation in the community Personal safety could be compromised (Kagle & Giebelhausen, 1994)

18 The Practice Continuum Under-involved Distant Cold Detached Over-involved Enmeshed Intrusive Dependent What might cause us to drift? Portage Project, CESA 5

19 Disclosing Personal Information Benefits Reciprocity Trust-building Normalize - parents won’t feel all alone in their journey May help parents process their own feelings about their child or their situation Therapeutic in unique circumstances Ask yourself, “Am I building capacity by sharing this information?” “Is it modest self-disclosure?” (Reamer, 2003)

20 Disclosing Personal Information Dangers Role-reversal, parents feel responsible for helping the professional Could make parents uncomfortable Could confuse parents about boundaries Focus should be on the family and child, it’s their time (Reamer, 2003) Opportunity for repair – “Rupture and Repair”

21 Boundary Questions to Consider in Your Agency Is it ok to share something personal about myself with a client? When? How? What if a family invites me to dinner or other family event – wedding, birthday, funeral? What are the technology boundaries – personal cell phone, texting, Facebook? Is it ok to give a client a hug or other touch? When? What if the family is doing something that makes me uncomfortable? Smoking, clothing choices (or lack of), discipline, profanity? What if I’m concerned my co-worker is crossing a boundary, what should I do?

22 Two Possible Constructs Boundary Challenges Gifts Attending birthdays, weddings, funerals Social encounters High Risk Boundary Challenges Suicide intervention & safety plans Intervening with dangerousness Challenge of talk, writings, internet posts & what they mean Duty to warn/protect

23 Agency Infrastructure: how does our agency integrate safeguards into the process to support staff? Supervision Orientation, Training, Ongoing Professional Development Intake/First Contact Initial Assessment Service Planning Payment /Fiscal Considerations Ongoing intervention Team Meetings Consultation Transition/ Termination Crisis management …

24 Ethical Decision-Making “It is often not what is ethical vs. unethical, but the comparative ethicality of the options” Schoener, 2014

25 Decision Table or Chart ALCOHOL and DRUG SCREENING PositivesNegatives Screen All Families Do Not Screen Families Screen Some Families

26 Genograms

27 Experienced Based Discussion Process What do I want help thinking about? What are the strengths/capacities of those involved? What are possible interpretations for what we are seeing, hearing and feeling? What do we need to know more about? Next Steps Module 2: Empowering Partnerships with Families to Support Growth The Family Service Credential, The Portage Project, CESA 5

28 Working through Crises or the Unexpected Questions to Ask Yourself What is the nature of the crisis? Immediate danger/safety? Is the family asking me for help? Do I feel competent addressing this issue? Who should I go to if this is not something I am comfortable taking on? What can I learn from this experience to help me feel more competent in the future? (Rosin, et al, 1993)

29 Risk Management Protocol/Criteria 1. Be alert to potential or actual conflicts of interest 2. Inform clients and colleagues about potential or actual conflicts of interest; explore reasonable remedies 3. Consult colleagues and supervisors, relevant professional literature, regulations, policies, and ethical standards to identify pertinent boundary issues and constructive options 4. Design a plan of action that addresses the boundary issues and protects parties involved to greatest extent possible 5. Document all discussions, consultation, supervision, and other steps taken to address the boundary issues 6. Develop a strategy to monitor implementation of action plan(Reamer, 2003)

30 Remember: We Don’t Have to Do This All Alone

31 Agency Infrastructure and Support for Reflective Practice Reflective practice and supervision is critical even for the most experienced professionals Is reflective practice and supervision part of our agency’s infrastructure? How can we build capacity for reflective supervision? Where are the opportunities for on-going discussion about ethics and boundaries? How to build a safe and supportive environment/agency culture to have these conversations?

32 PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS NASW Ethics Questions and Dilemmas https://www.socialworkers.org/nasw/ethics/ethicsoepr.asp https://www.socialworkers.org/nasw/ethics/ethicsoepr.asp As a service to members, the OEPR provides ethics consultations for current NASW members. Ethic consultations are a resource for members who are experiencing an ethical dilemma. We do not provide advice or tell members what to do. However, we do guide them through the Code and point them to the areas of the Code that address their concerns. We provide dialogue and considerations that allow members to make ethical decisions. We may also refer members to the appropriate areas if their questions do not appear to be related to ethics but are more related to legal issues or standards of practice. Hours & Contact Info (800) ext. 231 Tuesdays: 10:00am - 1:00pm (ET) Thursdays: 1:00pm - 4:00pm (ET) Chapter staff may contact the OEPR during regular business hours to ask questions.

33 Self-Care ~Six Circles Sarah Strong, LCSW & Jim Van Den Brandt, LCSW When we are held, we are able to hold those for whom we provide services

34 References Allen S.F., Tracy E.M. (2008). Developing Student Knowledge and Skills for Home-Based Social Work Practice. Journal of Social Work Education, Vol. 44 No. 1 p Boland-Prom K., Anderson S.C. (2005). Teaching Ethical Decision Making Using Dual Relationship Principles as a Case Example. Journal of Social Work Education, Vol. 41 No. 3 p Jacobson, G.A. (2002). Maintaining Professional Boundaries: Preparing Nursing Students for the Challenge. Journal of Nursing Education, Vol. 41, No. 6 p Joanne Bardnt- ACSW LCSW (2008). Clinical Associate Professor Emerita Social Work Field Program, University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. Kagle, J.D., Giebelhausen, P.N. (1994). Dual Relationships and Professional Boundaries. Social Work, Vol. 39 No. 2 p Gray, M. Gibbons, J. (2007). There are no Answers, Only Choices: Teaching Ethical Decision Making in Social Work. Australian Social Work, Vol. 60,. No.2 p Lea, D. (2006). “You Don’t Know Me Like That”: Patterns of Disconnect Between Adolescent Mothers of Children with Disabilities and Their Early Interventionists. Journal of Early Childhood, Vol. 28 No. 4 p Reamer, F.G. (2003). Boundary Issues In Social Work: Managing Dual Relationships. Social Work, Vol. 48, No. 1 p Rosin, P., Whitehead, A., Tuchman, L., Jesien, G., Begun, A. (1993). Strategies for Dealing with Unexpected Immediate Needs or Crisis. Partnerships in Early Intervention: A Training Guide of Family-Centered Care, Team Building, and Service Coordination.

35 Acknowledgments Gary R. Schoener, M. Eq., Licensed Psychologist Samara C. Kezele Fritchman, LMHC, JD, PhD The Family Service Credential, The Portage Project, CESA 5

36 Thank You Elizabeth Wahl, MSSW CAPSW


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