Eye on Ethics: The Boundaries of Self-disclosures in Clinical Social Work

Document Type


Department (Manual Entry)

School of Social Work


In addition to the clinical sequelae, social workers must also be mindful of the ethical implications of self-disclosure. Self-disclosure can introduce complex boundary issues that may lead to questionable dual relationships. A clinical social worker who discloses details about her birthday may have to deal with uncomfortable boundary issues if her client brings the social worker an expensive or intimate birthday gift. A social worker who shares personal information about his religion may have to deal with a client’s invitation to attend a local worship service.