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Consider this scenario:

You receive a hotline call at your mental health agency  from a client requesting a same-day appointment. You are the only social  worker available to work with clients at the time, as your coworker is  out of town on vacation for 10 days. A 15-year-old boy struggling with  depression (no suicidal ideation) and addiction calls asking for help.  While you are gathering information over the phone, you realize that he  happens to be the son of a friend. Do you continue the process, planning  on providing him with services, or do you refer him to another mental  health clinic that is over 30 miles away? Do you make him wait until  your coworker returns? Do you contact his parents and tell them he  called?

In certain geographical areas there may be limited  resources and in turn a lack of opportunities for clients to obtain  assistance. In some rural or otherwise isolated areas there might be  situations that make it difficult to maintain ideal boundaries due to  dual-role relationships. Dual-role relationships exist when a  professional fills multiple roles at the same time, a situation that may  be unavoidable in certain circumstances.

Understanding the significant impact of a dual-role  relationship with a client is important in order to avoid harming the  client. Further, recognizing the impact on the client and the  relationship will assist in the creation of strong professional  boundaries. In these situations, a social worker might feel his or her  ability to maintain these boundaries is compromised or may even  experience a value dilemma due to the existence of dual-role  relationships.

Consider the importance of boundaries in a therapeutic  relationship. Think about ways a social worker might violate the NASW  Code of Ethics as it pertains to dual-role relationships. Is there ever a  situation in which dual-role relationships are acceptable, or even  preferable?

Post an explanation of how you might  respond to the situation with the 15-year-old boy on the hotline.  Include ways your decision may impact the client. Support your position  with references to this week’s resources, professional experience, and  additional research. How will you address a possible dual-role  relationship?

  1.  (separate paragraph} 2 explanations how your colleague’s decision contradicts or supports the  NASW Code of Ethics as it pertains to dual-role relationships. In  addition, provide a suggestion for how your colleague might balance the  needs of the client while maintaining the NASW Code of Ethics regarding  dual-role relationships. 

Support your posts with specific references to this week’s resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.


Daley, M., R., & Hickman, S. (2011). Dual relations and beyond: Understanding and addressing ethical challenges for rural social work. Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, 8(1). Retrieved from http://www.socialworker.com/jswve/spr11/spr11daleyhickman.pdf

Gonyea, J. L., Wright, D. W., & Earl‐Kulkosky, T. (2014). Navigating dual relationships in rural communities. Journal of marital and family therapy40(1), 125-136.

Halabuza, D. (2014). Guidelines for social workers’ use of social networking websites. Journal Of Social Work Values & Ethics, 11(1), 23-32. 
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Mattison, M. (2018). Informed consent agreements: Standards of care for digital social work practices. Journal of Social Work Education, 54(2), 227-238.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

National Association of Social Workers. (2017). Code of ethics. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

Reamer, F. G. (2011, November 30). When bad things happen to good social workers: The perils of ethics mistakes. Social Work Today. Retrieved from http://www.socialworktoday.com/news/eoe_113011.shtml

Reamer, F. G. (2017). Evolving ethical standards in the digital Age. Australian Social Work70(2), 148-159.


Sawyer, S., & Prescott, D. (2011). Boundaries and dual relationships. Sexual Abuse: Journal Of Research And Treatment, 23(3), 365-380. doi:10.1177/1079063210381411




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