Thursday, April 10, 2014

Couples Therapy and the Social Work Exam

Continuing our  tour of different modalities of therapy and how they may appear on the social work licensing exam, we come now to couples therapy. Couples therapy presents its own range of issues, some of which echo those in individual therapy, some which cleave closer to group therapy, some all its own. If the exam hits upon couples therapy, it's likely to be in an item or two dealing with the unique ethical legal issues that can come up when working with a couple.

This article from the NASW handles the legal basics. With a little imagination, you'll be able to cook up a bunch of potential exam items based on the content there. How do you handle a subpoena in a divorce proceeding? Where does confidentiality begin and end when you're working with a couple? What do you with secrets in couples therapy--for example, if a member of a couple tells you they're having an affair? Still other questions might try to draw out social worker bias regarding same-sex couples, particularly with regard to adoption. Or rigid attitudes about family planning. Or regarding unconventional approaches to sexuality. Take care to be where the client is!

The internet is a little reticent on couples therapy issues in social work, but here are a few places for additional reading, not all specific to social work (or even to  North America):
As with any topic area, remember the Code of Ethics; remember the basics; remember to be the best by-the-book social worker you can be--at least for the duration of the exam! Good luck.

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