Eye on Ethics: Deception in Social Work

Document Type


Department (Manual Entry)

School of Social Work


Deception in social work can be motivated by diverse factors. In many instances, social workers are earnest about helping vulnerable clients who otherwise may not receive the assistance they need. In addition, social workers may conclude that some forms of deception are justifiable because of seemingly unjust regulations or laws that limit clients’ access to services or violate their rights. Occasionally, social workers’ deception may be self-serving, such as when it is designed to increase the number of clients who seek their services and enhance their income.