International Summer University in Social Work
Emerging Technologies in Social Work: Ethical challenges and opportunities in pursuing social work’s mission
Information and communication technologies are being used in various aspects of social work practice, including online counseling (Hildy, Ferrer, Parish, Johnston, Callahan, & Yellowlees, 2013; Morgan & Polowy, 2012), record keeping (National Association of Social Workers & Association of Social Work Boards, 2005), education (Judd & Johnston, 2012), avatar therapy (Leff et al., 2014), suicide prevention (Marsch, Lord, & Dallery, 2015), and advocacy (Belluomini, 2014). With the new and emerging professional uses of smart phones, videoconferencing, email, social networking, electronic monitoring devices, mental health apps, and other digital technologies, social workers need to consider ethical issues and opportunities in relation to:
- Informed consent
- Client safety (physical and psychological)
- Risk management
- Boundary crossings and violations
- Dual relationships
- Diversity and socioeconomic considerations
- Practice across multiple jurisdictions (Association of Social Work Boards, 2015; Zur Institute, n.d.).
During this presentation, participants will be invited to engage in case-based discussion of ethical issues regarding the use of technology in various aspects of social work (with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and policy). Dr. Barsky will also discuss recent and ongoing efforts to update ethical codes, practice standards, and legal regulations to take new and emerging technologies into account.
- Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). (2015). Model regulatory standards for technology and social work practice. Retrieved from https://www.aswb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ASWB-Model-Regulatory-Standards-for-Technology-and-Social-Work-Practice.pdf
- Hildy, D. M., Ferrer, D.C., Parish, M. B., Johnston, B., Callahan, E. J., & Yellowlees, P. M. (2013). The effectiveness of telemental health: A 2013 review. Telemed Journal and E-Health, 19(6), 444-54. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2013.0075
- Judd, R. G., & Johnston, L. B., (2012). Ethical consequences of using social network sites for students in professional social work programs. Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, 9(1). Retrieved from http://www.socialworker.com/jswve/content/view/145/75
- Marsch, L., Lord, S., & Dallery, J. (2015). Behavioral healthcare and technology: Using science-based innovations to transform practice. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Zur Institute (n.d.). Digital ethics: Internet and therapy. Retrieved from http://www.zurinstitute.com/articles.html
- Belluomini, E. (2014, Winter). Using digital self-advocacy to empower social work populations. New Social Worker. Retrieved from http://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/technology-articles/using-digital-self-advocacy-to-empower-social-work-populatio/
- Leff, J., Williams, G., Huckvale, M., Arbuthnot, M., & Leff, A. P. (2014). Avatar therapy for persecutory auditory hallucinations: What is it and how does it work? Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative approaches, 6(2), 166-176.
- Morgan, S., & Polowy, C. (2012). Social workers and Skype: Part II—telemental health laws. NASW Legal Defense Fund, Legal Issue of the Month. Available athttps://www.socialworkers.org/ldf/legal_issue/2012/Apr2012.asp (password access required).
- National Association of Social Workers & Association of Social Work Boards (2005). Standards for technology and social work practice. Available at http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWTechnologyStandards.pdf.