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Description:  Clinical practice is rife with opportunities for ethical misconduct. Questions of the ethical conduct of others are particularly challenging because we not only have to decide on which side of the ethical divide their behavior falls, but also how to broach the topic with a colleague, supervisee, or even a supervisor. For example:

  • Is it our responsibility to follow up with a fellow practitioner if we observe what appears to be a lapse in judgment?
  • How do we distinguish between a difference in personal style and more questionable practice?
  • And, when we do feel that a breach has occurred, how are we to respond – especially given worries we may have about our own relationship with that practitioner?


Kim Strom-Gottfried, Ph.D, is the Smith P. Theimann Distinguished Professor for Ethics and Professional Practice at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work. She has written, researched and taught extensively on the topic of ethics within social work practice. She is actively involved in continuing professional education—she has developed numerous workshops and frequently gives training seminars, including on the issues of professional ethics. She has served on NASW’s national committee on inquiry, the group that deals with violations of the NASW Code of Ethics. Her practice experience includes direct service, administrative and planning positions in the field of mental health, through nonprofit and public agencies.



Handouts || SLIDES || References

Clinical Lecture Series at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work


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