Document Type




Department (Manual Entry)

Social Work


Clinical social workers’ use of digital and other technology to provide distance counseling services is proliferating. Increasing numbers of contemporary practitioners are using video counseling, email chat, social networking websites, text messaging, smartphone apps, avatar-based websites, self-guided web-based interventions, and other technology to provide clinical services to clients, some of whom they may never meet in person. The advent of this technology has produced a wide range of ethical challenges related to social workers’ application of traditional social work ethics concepts: client informed consent; client privacy and confidentiality; boundaries and dual relationships; conflicts of interest; practitioner competence; records and documentation; and collegial relationships. The principal purpose of this article is to identify pertinent ethical and ethically-related risk-management issues that clinical social workers need to consider if they contemplate using this technology to assist people in need. The author addresses compelling ethical issues concerning (1) social workers’ use of digital technology to communicate with clients in relatively new ways, and (2) whether social workers’ use of digital technology alters the fundamental nature of the therapeutic relationship and clinicians’ ability to provide clients with a truly therapeutic environment.


Excerpted From:

Source Data

Clinical Social Work Journal

Rights Management

Springer Science+Business Media

Publisher Link