Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work (2023)

The Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA) Code of Ethics,Revised April 2016


The principal objective of the profession of clinical social work is the enhancement of the mental health and the well-being of the individuals and families who seek services from its practitioners. Clinical social work practice encompasses four major areas: biopsychosocial assessment and diagnosis, social casework, counseling and psychotherapy. Biopsychosocial Assessment and Diagnosis is the ability to understand the client holistically and use the most current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)1 to conceptualize the symptoms and problems the client faces.

As such, the professional practice of clinical social workers is shaped by ethical principles which are rooted in the basic values of the social work profession. These core values include: a commitment to the dignity, well-being, and self-determination of the individual; a commitment to professional practice characterized by competence and integrity; a commitment to client privacy and confidentiality; and a commitment to a society which offers opportunities to all its’ members in a just and non-discriminatory manner.

Clinical social workers must examine practice situations in terms of the ethical dilemmas that they present, with a critical analysis of how the formulation of a solution fulfills the core requirements of ethical practice; non-malfeasance, (doing no harm to clients); beneficence, (helping clients), and autonomy (enhancing the self-determination of clients).

The following represents a specific codification of those ethical principles. It is intended to serve as a standard for clinical social workers in all of their professional functions, and to inspire their will to act in a manner consistent with those tenets. The clinical social worker is expected to take into consideration all principles in this code that have a bearing upon any situation in which ethical judgment is to be exercised, and to select a course of action consistent with the spirit, as well as the letter of the code.

1Current version: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013)


Clinical social workers maintain high standards in all of their professional roles and value professional competence, objectivity, and integrity. They are accountable and accept responsibility for the consequences of their work, and ensure that their services are used in an appropriate manner.

a) Clinical social workers bear a heavy professional responsibility because their actions and recommendations may significantly affect the lives of others. They practice only within their scope of competence, and maintain and enhance that competence through participation in continuing professional development throughout their careers. They refrain from undertaking or continuing any professional activity in which their personal difficulties, or any other limitations, might lead to the inadequate provision of service.

b) Clinical social workers do not exploit professional relationships sexually, financially, or for any other professional and/or personal advantage. They maintain this standard of conduct toward all those who may be professionally associated with them.

c) Clinical social workers, often function as employees in clinics, hospitals, and agencies, or as providers in private practice and on managed care and other insurance panels. In these positions, they are responsible for identifying and actively working to modify policies or procedures which may come into conflict with the standards of their profession. If such a conflict arises, the primary responsibility of the clinical social worker is to uphold the ethical standards of the profession. These standards require that commitment to the welfare of the client(s) is the primary obligation.

d) Clinical social workers have an additional responsibility, both to the profession which provides the basis of their practice, and to those who are entering that profession. As teachers, supervisors, and mentors, they are responsible for maintaining high standards of objectivity and scholarship. In all of their professional activities they consistently examine, and attempt to expand, the knowledge base on which practice in the profession is centered.


The primary responsibility of the clinical social worker is to the individual client, the family, couple or the group with whom they have a professional relationship. Clinical social workers respect the dignity, protect the welfare, and maximize the self-determination of the clients with whom they work.


a) Clinical social work treatment takes place within a context of informed consent. This requires that the client(s) be informed of the extent and nature of the services being offered as well as the mutual limits, rights, opportunities, and obligations associated with the provision of and payment for those services regardless of whether the services are mandated or voluntary or delivered in person or via electronic media (such as computer, telephone (including land line or smart phone), telehealth media devices, television or radio). In order for the consent to be valid, the client(s) must be informed in a manner that is clear to them, must choose freely and without undue influence, and must have the capacity to make an informed choice. In instances where clients are not of legal age or competent to give a meaningful consent, they will be informed in a manner which is consistent with their level of understanding. In such situations, authorization for treatment will be obtained from an appropriate third party, such as a parent or other legal guardian.

b) Clinical social workers should obtain informed consent before audio taping, videotaping, or permitting observation of services to clients by a third party.

c) Clinical social workers have a duty to understand the potential impact on all aspects of treatment resulting from participation in various third party payment mechanisms, and to disclose fully their knowledge of these features to the client. Such features might include, but are not limited to: limitations of confidentiality; payment limitations related to provider choice; a summary of the treatment review process required by the plan; the comparative treatment orientations of the plan and of the clinical social worker; the possibility that benefits may be limited under the plan; the clinical social worker’s relationship to the plan and any incentives to limit or deny care; and, the availability of alternative treatment options.


a) Clinical social workers enter into and/or continue professional relationships based on their ability to meet the needs of clients appropriately. The clinical social worker terminates services and relationships with clients when such services and relationships are no longer in the client's best interest. Clinical social workers must not abandon clients by withdrawing services precipitously, except under extraordinary circumstances. Clinical social workers give careful consideration to all factors involved in termination and take care to minimize the possible adverse effects it might have on the client(s). When interruption or termination of service is anticipated, the clinical social worker should give reasonable notification and provide for transfer, referral, or continuation of service in a manner as consistent as possible with the client's needs and preferences.

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b) Clinical social workers providing services which are reimbursed by third party payers continue to have primary responsibility for the welfare of the client(s). The failure of the third party to authorize continued benefits does not remove the obligation of the clinical social worker to assure necessary treatment, if this is in the client's best interests. When benefits are ended, the clinical social worker has a number of options including: acceptance of private payment for continued services, at either regular or reduced rates; provision of services on an unpaid basis; and, referral to appropriate alternative treatment sources.

c) A clinical social worker who disagrees with the denial of continued benefits by a third party payer is responsible for discussing this action with the client(s), and for devising a clinically appropriate plan, which may or may not include appeal of the decision. Further pursuit of the appeals process will be based on such factors as; the degree to which the clinical social worker believes that further treatment is necessary for the client's well-being; the degree to which the client(s) wishes to pursue the appeals process, and; the degree to which there are alternative means available for the client(s) to continue treatment.

d) Clinical social workers must keep records for each individual, couple, family, or group they treat which reflect relevant administrative rules, contractual obligations, and local and federal statutes. They are required to be knowledgeable about statutes relating to client access to records, and to fulfill their responsibility as required by law. When access to records is permitted, the clinical social worker will take appropriate, legally permitted steps to protect the privacy of all third parties who may be named in the records.

e) All requirements regarding the establishment, maintenance, and disposal of records relate equally to written and to electronic records. Clinical social workers establish a policy on record retention and disposal that is consistent with state and federal laws, or be aware of agency policies regarding these issues, and communicate it to the client. In the event of the death or incapacity of a client, they safeguard the record, within existing statutes, and the information contained therein. Clinical social workers have a plan or “professional will” for the proper handling of client records in the event of their own death or disability which both protects privacy, and ensures that legitimate access functions can be properly carried out.


a) Clinical social workers are responsible for setting clear and appropriate professional boundaries, especially in those instances in which dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable. They must not engage in dual or multiple relationships in which there is any risk of their professional judgment being compromised, or of the client being harmed or exploited. When clinical social workers provide services to two or more persons who have a relationship with each other, they clarify with all parties the nature of the professional responsibilities to each of them, and the ways in which appropriate boundaries will be maintained.

b) Clinical social workers must not, under any circumstances, engage in romantic or sexual contact with either current or former clients. Clinical social workers must be mindful of how their relationship with the family and/or friends of their clients might affect their work with the client. Consequently, they must not engage in romantic or sexual involvements with members of the client's family, or with others with whom the client has a close, personal relationship.

c) Clinical social workers are aware of the authority which is inherent in their professional role. They must not engage in any activity that will abuse their professional relationships or exploit others for personal, sexual, political, or business interests. As practitioners, supervisors, teachers, administrators, and researchers their primary professional responsibility is always the welfare of the client(s) with whom they work.

d) Clinical social workers embrace the core principles of “individual self-determination” and “do no harm” when providing clinical services. As such, clinical social workers should not provide treatment interventions such as conversion therapies (also known as reorientation therapy, sexual orientation change efforts, ex-gay or reparative therapy or gender identity change efforts), or any other interventions that may conflict with these values.

e) When the clinical social worker must act on behalf of a client, that action should always safeguard the interests and concerns of that client. When another person has been authorized to act on behalf of a client, the clinical social worker should deal with that person in a manner which will safeguard the interests and concerns of the client. (Such interactions can occur with family members, social service agencies, other clinical service/health providers, probation, parole, attorneys, etc.)

f) Clinical social workers recognize and support the right to self-determination of clients who may choose not to relinquish their privacy by pursuing third party reimbursement for treatment, even when they are eligible for such reimbursement. In such instances, the clinical social worker makes every effort to assist the client in making alternative financial arrangements so that treatment can proceed.

g) When a clinical social worker determines that a conflict potentially detrimental to the treatment process has arisen, they should inform the individual(s), to whom the clinical social worker has a professional responsibility, of the nature of the conflict and the way in which it might affect the provision of service.


a) Clinical social workers are aware of the scope in which they are entitled to practice. This scope is defined by their areas of personal competence; by their license or other legal authorization; and by their training and/or experience. They are responsible for confining their practice to those areas in which they are legally authorized and in which they are qualified to practice. When necessary, they utilize the knowledge and experience of members of other professions. In using such consultants or supervisors, the clinical social worker is responsible for ensuring that they are recognized members of their own profession, and are qualified and competent to carry out the service required.

b) Clinical social workers recognize that the privacy and intimacy of the therapeutic relationship may unrealistically intensify the client's feelings for them. The maintenance of professional boundaries and objectivity is crucial to effective and responsible treatment. Clinical social workers maintain self-awareness and take care to prevent the possible harmful intrusion of their own unresolved personal issues into the therapeutic relationship. They must take appropriate steps to resolve the situation when there is a danger of this occurring. Such steps could include, but are not limited to; seeking additional supervision or consultation; seeking additional personal treatment; and, if necessary, making alternative arrangements for the treatment of the client(s).

c) Clinical social workers recognize the responsibility to remain abreast of knowledge and developments in the field which may benefit their client(s). Ongoing involvement in supervision, consultation, and continuing education are some of the ways in which this responsibility can be fulfilled. It is particularly important for the clinical social worker to secure appropriate training, supervision, or consultation when attempting to use a treatment technique with which they are unfamiliar.

d) Clinical social workers recognize the need to practice self-care strategies in an effort to maintain optimal health and well-being and to prevent personal problems, psychosocial distress, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue or burnout to interfere with their professional judgment and ability to provide for the needs of their clients.

e) Clinical social workers who experience personal problems or psychosocial distress should take appropriate remedial action by seeking consultation, supervision, and professional care and follow all prescribed interventions such as making adjustments in workload, terminating practice, or taking any other steps necessary to protect clients and others.


a) The social work profession has a strong commitment to social justice. As such, clinical social workers shall strive to maintain awareness, knowledge, and skills with regard to cultural competence and its influence on human behavior and society.

b) Clinical social workers seek to enhance their understanding of different cultures, races, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression and its effect on the client’s reason for seeking help.

c) Clinical social workers shall seek to become culturally competent and understand the effects of trauma caused by institutional and individual oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability. Specifically, culturally competent clinical social workers should:

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1. try not to hold preconceived limitations and notions about culturally or sexually diverse people;

2. not profess color blindness or negate the existence of differences in behavior, attitudes, cultural norms, beliefs, etc., among different groups;

3. accept responsibility for their own racism, sexism, biases, etc., and attempt to deal with them in a non-defensive, guilt-free manner;

4. be aware of the history, experiences, cultural values, and lifestyles of various socio-demographic groups in our society;

5. understand the impact and operation of oppression (racism, sexism, heterosexism, etc.) and racist, sexist, and homophobic concepts that have permeated institutions;

6. be aware of institutional barriers that prevent some clients of color, diverse families and populations from accessing services;

7. be able to exercise a variety of relationship building skills with colleagues and co-workers of different backgrounds;

8. be aware of their helping style, and recognize the limitations that they may possess, and can anticipate the impact on culturally diverse clients and colleagues.


Clinical social workers have a primary obligation to maintain the privacy of both current and former clients, whether living or deceased, and to maintain the confidentiality of material that has been transmitted to them in any of their professional roles. Exceptions to this responsibility will occur only when there are overriding legal or professional reasons and, whenever possible, with the written informed consent of the client(s).


a) Clinical social workers should discuss fully with clients both the nature of confidentiality, and potential limits to confidentiality which may arise during the course of their work. Confidential information should only be released, whenever possible, with the written permission of the client(s). As part of the process of obtaining such a release, the clinical social worker should inform the client(s) about the nature of the information being sought, the purpose(s) for which it is being sought, to whom the information will be released, how the client(s) may withdraw permission for its release, and, the length of time that the release will be in effect.

b) Clinical social workers must know and observe both legal and professional standards for maintaining the privacy of records, and mandatory reporting obligations. Mandatory reporting obligations may include, but are not limited to: the reporting of the abuse or neglect of children or of vulnerable adults; the duty to take steps to protect or warn a third party who may be endangered by the client(s); the duty to protect a client from self-harm; and, the duty to report the misconduct or impairment of another professional. Additional limits to confidentiality may occur because of parental access to the records of a minor, the access of legal guardians to the records of some adults, access by the courts to mandated reports, subpoenas and court orders, and access by third party payers to information for the purpose of treatment authorization or audit. When confidential information is released to a third party, the clinical social worker will ensure that the information divulged is limited to the minimum amount required to accomplish the purpose for which the release is being made.

c) Clinical social workers treating couples, families, and groups seek agreement among the parties involved regarding each individual’s right to confidentiality, and the mutual obligation to protect the confidentiality of information shared by other parties to the treatment. Clients involved in this type of treatment should, however, be informed that the clinical social worker cannot guarantee that all participants will honor their agreement to maintain confidentiality.

d) When confidential information is used for purposes of professional education, research, or publication, the primary responsibility of the clinical social worker is the protection of the client(s) from possible harm, embarrassment, or exploitation. When extensive material is used for any of these purposes the clinical social worker makes every effort to obtain the informed consent of the client(s) for such use, and will not proceed if the client(s) denies this consent. Whether or not consent is obtained, every effort will be made to protect the true identity of the client. Any such presentation will be limited to the amount necessary for the professional purpose, and will be shared only with other responsible individuals.

e) Clinical social workers ensure that any transfer or disposal of clients’ records is conducted in a manner that protects clients’ confidentiality, and is consistent with state and federal statutes governing health care records.

f) Clinical social workers must take necessary steps to protect and secure the confidentiality of clients’ records in the event of the clinical social worker’s relocation or termination of practice.

g) Clinical social workers must protect the confidentiality of clients’ records in accordance the state and federal statutes in the event of the death of a client.

h) Clinical social workers must take necessary steps to protect and secure the confidentiality of clients’ records and address business practices in the event of the clinical social worker’s incapacitation or death. This is done by creating a “professional will” or similar document that identifies an executor, proxy or other responsible person who can manage the affairs of the professional practice and outlines how to address, at a minimum, the following:

  • Client information and notification;
  • Client records access and storage;
  • Office space access, keys to filing cabinets, desks, etc.;
  • E-mail, voice mail and computer access passwords;
  • Billing, managed care/insurance contracts, banking and other financial information;
  • Notification of malpractice/liability insurance carrier and state licensing board;
  • Other important practice information and instructions, as needed.

i) Clinical social workers take precautions to prevent disclosure of unnecessary or identifying information when consulting with colleagues or supervisors and when working in interdisciplinary teams. The clinician should disclose only information necessary to achieve the purpose of the consultation.

j) Clinical social workers provide clients reasonable access to their records in accordance with state and federal law, and only restrict access all or a portion of their record if there is compelling evidence that granting access would result in serious harm to the client or another person mentioned in the record.


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a) Clinical social workers must ensure that they are compliant with all relevant federal and state laws for the delivery of services or supervision through electronic means (including but not limited to cell phone, internet, compressed video) prior to delivery of such service.

Pursuant to this, clinical social workers must:

  • Determine the appropriateness of the technologically assisted service or supervision in terms of:
    • The intellectual, functional, emotional and linguistic capabilities of the client/supervisee;
    • The type of therapy or supervision that will ensue.
  • Be adequately trained and/or supervised in the use of the chosen technology;
  • Be licensed and/or in compliance with the state regulations in which the client resides;
  • Provide web accessible licensure information, credentials and/or certifications;
  • Inform the client or supervisee of the potential risks and benefits of technology assisted services;
  • Inform the client of the limitations of maintaining confidentiality;
  • Take reasonable precautions to ensure confidentiality of information transmitted through electronic means;
  • Discuss with client the importance of maintaining appropriate boundaries regarding use and application of the technology;
  • Take steps to prevent and address potential misunderstandings arising from the lack of visual cues and voice intonations;
  • Discuss with client possibility of electronic failure/delayed response time/unavailability, time zones differences;
  • Discuss potential emergency/crisis situations and strategies to resolve them.

b) Clinical social workers do not engage in personal virtual relationships through social media or other media types with individuals with whom they currently have or have had a therapeutic relationship. If the clinical social worker wishes to maintain a professional presence for social media, a separate personal web page and profile should be used to clearly distinguish between the two types of media presence, being mindful of the risks related to dual relationships.

*For more detailed information on this ethic please refer to, NASW, ASWB, CSWA, CSWE Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice (2017)


Clinical social workers act with integrity in their relationships with colleagues and members of other professions. They know and take into account the traditions, practices, and areas of competence of other professionals and cooperate with them fully for the welfare of clients.

a) Clinical social workers represent accurately the views, qualifications, and findings of colleagues. When expressing judgment on these matters they do so in a manner that is sensitive to the best interests of both colleagues and clients.

b) If a clinical social worker's services are sought by an individual who is already receiving similar services from another professional, consideration for the client's welfare is the primary concern. This concern requires that the clinical social worker proceed with great caution, carefully considering the existing professional relationship, the therapeutic issues involved, and whether it is therapeutically and ethically appropriate to be involved in the situation.

c) As supervisors, consultants, or employers, clinical social workers are responsible for providing competent professional guidance and to be a role model to colleagues, employees, and students. They foster working conditions that assure consistency, respect, privacy, and protection from physical or mental harm. Clinical social workers do not abuse the authority of their position by harassing or pressuring colleagues, employees, or students for sexual reasons, financial gain, or any other purpose. They refrain from actions that are unwanted by the recipient, and can reasonably be interpreted as pressuring or intimidating the recipient.

d) Clinical social workers carry out their responsibility to both clients and the profession by maintaining high standards of practice within the professional community. They take appropriate measures to discourage, prevent, expose, and correct unethical or incompetent behavior by colleagues, and also assist and defend colleagues believed to be unjustly charged with such conduct. They discourage the practice of clinical social work by those who fail to meet accepted standards of training and experience, or who are practicing outside of their area of competence.

e) Clinical social workers who have knowledge of a colleague's impairment, misconduct, or incompetence attempt to bring about remediation through whatever means is appropriate. Such actions may include, but are not limited to: direct discussion with the colleague, with permission from the client(s) if this is needed; a report, if appropriate or mandatory, to a regulatory body, professional organization, or employer; a report to a supervisor, or other agency administrator.


When setting fees, clinical social workers should give consideration to the client's ability to pay and make every effort to establish fees that are fair, reasonable, and commensurate with the value of the service performed.

a) In the initial contact with the client(s) fees for services and policies regarding fee collection should be clarified. This clarification should also take into account any financial constraint which may affect the treatment process.

b) It is unethical for a clinical social worker to offer, give, solicit, or receive any fee or other consideration to or from a third party for the referral of a client. They accept reimbursement from clients and from third party payers only for services directly rendered to the client(s). Clinical social workers may, however, participate in contractual arrangements in which they agree to discount their fees.

c) A clinical social worker who contracts with a third party payer agrees to abide by the conditions of the contract. This includes modifying or waiving of co-pays, if prohibited. If, however, the clinical social worker believes the contract contains elements which violate the ethics of the profession, the clinical social worker seeks to redress this situation through appropriate courses of action which may include; obtaining the other party's agreement to delete the clause; or, refusing to sign the contract.

d) Barter arrangements, in which goods or services are accepted from clients as payment for professional services, should be avoided as much as possible. Such plans, especially when they involve provision of services by the client(s), have the potential to constitute dual relationships which will damage the treatment. Barter arrangements may be entered into only in rare situations, and may only involve provision of goods, as opposed to services, in exchange for treatment. Such arrangements can only be entered into upon the specific request of the client, and when the following additional criteria are met: traditional payment methods are not possible; the client(s) is not coerced or exploited in any way, and; the arrangement is not detrimental to the client(s) or to the professional relationship.

e) Clinical social workers employed by an agency or clinic, and also engage in private practice, must conform to contractual agreements with the employing facility. They do not solicit or accept a private fee or consideration of any kind for providing a service to which the client is entitled through the employing facility.


Clinical social workers are aware of the social norms and ethical expectations in their communities, and recognize that violation of accepted societal, ethical, legal, and moral standards on their part may compromise the fulfillment of their professional responsibilities and/or reduce public trust in the profession.

a) Clinical social workers do not, in any of their capacities, practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, socioeconomic status, or physical or emotional disability.

b) Clinical social workers practice their profession in compliance with legal standards, and do not participate in arrangements or activities which undermine or violate the law. When they believe, however, that laws or community standards are in conflict with the principles and ethics of the profession, they make known the conflict and work responsibly toward change that is in the public interest.

c) Clinical social workers recognize a responsibility to participate in activities leading toward improved social conditions. They should advocate and work for conditions and resources that give all people equal access to the services and opportunities required to meet basic needs and to develop to their fullest potential.

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In planning, conducting, and reporting a study, the investigator has the responsibility to make a careful evaluation of its ethical acceptability, taking into account the following additional principles for research with human subjects. To the extent that this appraisal, weighing scientific and humane values, suggests a compromise of any principle, the investigator incurs an increasingly serious obligation to observe stringent safeguards to protect the rights and well-being of research participants.

a) In conducting research in institutions or organizations, clinical social workers must obtain appropriate authority to carry out their work. This includes full participation in the Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol process, when applicable. Host organizations generally should be given proper credit for their contributions to the project.

b) Ethically acceptable research begins with the establishment of a clear and fair agreement between the investigator and the research participant that clarifies the responsibilities of each. The investigator has the obligation to honor all commitments included in that agreement.

c) Responsibility for the establishment and maintenance of acceptable ethical practice in research always remains with the investigator. The investigator is also responsible for the ethical treatment of research participants by collaborators, assistants, students, and employees, all of whom incur parallel obligations.

d) Ethical practice requires the investigator to inform the participant of all features of the research that might reasonably be expected to influence willingness to participate, and to explain all other aspects of the research about which the participant inquires. After the data are collected, the investigator provides the participant with information about the nature of the study in order to remove any misconceptions that may have arisen.

e) The ethical investigator protects participants from physical and mental discomfort, harm, and danger. If a risk of such consequences exists, the investigator is required to inform the participant of that fact, secure consent before proceeding, and take all possible measures to minimize distress. A research procedure must not be used if it is likely to cause serious or lasting harm to a participant.

f) Ethical investigators ensure that participants in research studies have appropriate access to debriefings and other supportive services in the event distress due to the research becomes problematic for the participant.

g) The methodological requirements of the study may necessitate concealment, deception, or minimal risk to participants. In such cases, the investigator must be able to justify the use of these techniques and to ensure, as soon as possible, the participant’s understanding of the reasons and sufficient justification for the procedure in question.

h) Ethical practice requires the investigator to respect the individual’s freedom to decline to participate in, or withdraw from, research and to so inform prospective participants. The obligation to protect this freedom requires special vigilance when the investigator is, in any manner, in a position of authority over the participant. It is unethical to penalize a participant in any way for withdrawing from or refusing to participate in a research project.

i) Information obtained about the individual research participants during the course of an investigation is confidential unless otherwise agreed to in advance.

j) Investigation of human subjects in studies which use drugs, are conducted only in conjunction with licensed physicians.

k) Clinical social workers may take credit only for work actually done in scholarly and research projects, and must give appropriate credit to the contributions of others in a manner which is proportional to the degree to which those contributions are represented in the final product.

l) Research findings must be presented accurately and completely, with full discussion of both their usefulness and their limitations. Clinical social workers are responsible for attempting to prevent any distortion or misuse of their findings.

m) Investigators engaged in research and evaluation should avoid conflicts of interest and dual relationships with participants, and outside institutions and corporations. Potential conflicts should be disclosed to participants and in any written work that comes out of the research or evaluation.


Public statements, announcements of services, and promotional activities of clinical social workers serve the purpose of providing sufficient information to aid consumers in making informed judgments and choices. Clinical social workers state accurately, objectively, and without misrepresentation their professional qualifications, affiliations, and functions as well as those of the institutions or organizations with which they or their statements may be associated. In addition, they should correct the misrepresentations of others with respect to these matters.

a) In announcing availability for professional services, protection of the public is the primary concern. A clinical social worker may use any information so long as it describes his or her credentials and the services provided accurately and without misrepresentation. Information usually found helpful by the public includes the name of the professional; highest relevant academic degree from an accredited institution; specialized post-graduate training; type and level of state certification or license; any advanced certifications held; address and telephone number; office hours; type of service provided; languages spoken; and, policy with regard to third party payments.

b) In announcements of available professional services, information regarding fees and fee policies may also be found helpful by prospective clients. Appropriate announcements of this type could include such general terms as "moderate fees." It is unethical to make statements regarding fees or fee policies which are deceptive, or misrepresent the actual fee arrangements.

c) The clinical social worker is responsible for assuring that all advertising is in conformity with the ethical standards of the profession. Publications announcing any type of clinic social work service describe those services accurately. They do not falsely or deceptively claim or imply superior personal or professional competence.

d) Clinical social workers are free to make public appearances and engage in public discussion regarding issues such as, for example, the relative value of alternative treatment approaches. Diagnostic and therapeutic services for clients, however, are rendered only in the context of a professional relationship. Such services are not given by means of public lectures, newspaper or magazine articles, radio or television programs, or anything of a similar nature. Professional use of the media or of other public forums is appropriate when the purpose is to educate the public about professional matters regarding which the clinical social worker has special knowledge or expertise.

e) Clinical social workers respect the rights and reputation of any professional organization with which they are affiliated, and do not falsely imply sponsorship or certification by any organization. When making public statements, the clinical social worker will make clear which statements are personal opinions, and which are authorized statements on behalf of the organization.

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How much do clinical social workers make in Washington? ›

How much does a Clinical Social Worker - LCSW make in Washington? The average Clinical Social Worker - LCSW salary in Washington is $81,200 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $74,900 and $90,200.

How many supervision hours do you need for Lcsw Washington? ›

Applicants must have a minimum of 3,200 hours of postgraduate, supervised experience. Eight hundred hours must be in direct client contact. Ninety hours must be supervision by a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) or licensed advanced social worker (LASW) who has been licensed for at least two years.

How long does it take to become a social worker in Washington state? ›

An MSW typically requires two years of post-bachelor's coursework, including a practicum. After graduation, licensure candidates complete 3,200 to 4,000 hours of supervised experience, which must meet specific requirements. Graduates can receive a provisional license to complete experience requirements.

Can social workers talk about their clients? ›

(h) Social workers should not disclose confidential information to third-party payers unless clients have authorized such disclosure. (i) Social workers should not discuss confidential information, electronically or in person, in any setting unless privacy can be ensured.

How much do Lcsw make in Seattle? ›

How much does a LCSW make in Seattle, Washington? As of Oct 9, 2022, the average annual pay for the LCSW jobs category in Seattle is $75,114 a year.

How much do clinical social workers make in Seattle? ›

How much does a Licensed Clinical Social Worker make in Seattle, WA? The average Licensed Clinical Social Worker salary in Seattle, WA is $83,067 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $76,625 and $92,305.

How do I transfer my social work license to Washington state? ›

If you hold a license in another state and would like to become licensed in Washington, you can submit an LASW or LICSW application to the Washington State Department of Health if you meet the requirements for licensure in Washington (including the appropriate number of supervised hours).

How do I get Lswaic in Washington state? ›

Application process:

Earn at least an MSW degree. Apply with the DOH to become an LSWAIC; $51 application fee. You can apply online, or by mail with this form. The application includes an Approved Supervisor Verification form that will officially establish who your supervisor will be once you start practicing.

How do I become a clinical supervisor in Washington state? ›

I am an approved supervisor in Washington State. To become an approved supervisor, it is required to have an independent license in good standing for at least two years, have 25 supervised hours supervising others, and to have 15 continuing education unites in supervision.

Does social work need a degree? ›

Social workers must have a degree in social work (BA), or master's degree in social work. A master's degree is a two-year-long postgraduate course for those with a degree in a different subject. Some universities offer part-time studying. Experience is an important part of social work qualifications.

Who can practice clinical social work in Oregon? ›

In Oregon, you qualify for the LCSW if:

You meet the following LCSW requirements: MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program. 3,500 hours of clinical practice experience (and 2,000 of those hours are with a direct client) 100 hours of supervision (with at least 50 being on an individual basis)

What is an LCSW? ›

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) hold a master's degree in social work and are licensed to provide diagnoses and counseling services to individuals suffering from mental, behavioral, and other emotional issues.

What a social worker Cannot do? ›

What Social Services Cannot Do. Social services cannot remove your child from your home without an order by the court, your consent, or a Police Protection Order. Additionally, social services cannot decide what will happen to your child or place your child in permanent foster care without a court's decision.

What a social worker should not do? ›

Social workers should work in a way that is honest, reliable and open. They should clearly explain their roles, interventions and decisions. They should not seek to deceive or manipulate people who use their services, their colleagues or employers.

What is considered unethical in social work? ›

In principle, social workers should take assertive steps to challenge a supervisor's alleged practices and take whatever measures they reasonably can to avoid participating in activities that may constitute unethical conduct, such as misrepresentation, deception, and fraud.

How much are RN paid in Seattle? ›

Average Registered Nurse Salary in Seattle

Registered nurses in Seattle earn an average of $99,310 per year (or $47.74 per hour). Seattle registered nurses earn 20% higher than the national average salary for RNs, at $82,750 (or $39.78 per hour).

How much do new RNs make in Seattle? ›

The average salary for Registered Nurse is US$85,005 per year in the Seattle, WA, United States Area. The average additional cash compensation for a Registered Nurse in the Seattle, WA, United States Area is US$11,526, with a range from US$572 - US$232,127.

How much do nurses make? ›

Nursing Career2019 Mean Salary
Nursing Assistant (CNA)$30,720
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN)$48,500
Registered Nurse (RN)$77,460
Nurse Practitioners (NP)$111,840
3 more rows

How much does a social worker make? ›

Find out what the average Social Worker salary is

The average social worker salary in South Africa is R 235 591 per year or R 121 per hour. Entry-level positions start at R 186 000 per year, while most experienced workers make up to R 5 261 063 per year.

What type of work do social workers do? ›

Social workers help people cope with challenges in their lives. They help with a wide range of situations, such as adopting a child, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, or preventing and treating substance abuse.

Is the ASWB exam the same in every state? ›

ASWB Examination Levels

Requirements for licensure and types of practice vary by state, so some areas may not offer all five exams. Although each test covers similar topics, including human development, human behavior, and assessment, each level may ask more questions in certain areas than in others.

Can I transfer my Lcsw to California? ›

While the state does not maintain a reciprocity agreement with others, an out-of-state social worker can easily transfer their license with this online form. These applicants must also take an 18-hour course in California law and ethics, along with the other required coursework of all applicants.

Can I transfer my Lcsw to Florida? ›

No. Florida does not have reciprocity with other states. Applying by ENDORSEMENT is defined as an applicant who has an active clinical license to practice his/her profession in another state and has been practicing in that state for at least three of the last five years.

What MSW stands for? ›

What does MSW stand for? MSW stands for Master of Social Work, which is a higher education graduate degree. What does LCSW stand for? LCSW stands for “licensed clinical social worker,” which indicates a professional has obtained additional state licensure after earning a master's degree in the field.

How do I become a social worker in Oregon? ›

To earn social work licensure in Oregon, you must first complete a social work degree and receive a passing score on an Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. In Oregon, the majority of social work practitioners hold a master's degree; however, the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree.

How do I become a Licsw supervisor in Washington? ›

In accordance with RCW 18.225. 090, to provide supervision to a Licensed Advanced Social Worker (LASW) or Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) one must be licensed or certified for at least two years and have two years of clinical experience post licensure. Please review WAC 246-809-334.

How do I become a counselor in Washington state? ›

Required Degree: Must have a bachelor's degree in a counseling-related field; or higher. Additional Requirement(s): Pass the Washington State Certified Adviser Examination in risk assessment, ethics and appropriate screening using the global assessment of functioning scale; client referral and Washington State law.

What is clinical supervision in NHS? ›

Clinical Supervision involves clinicians meeting regularly to reflect on practice with the intention of. learning, developing practice and providing high quality, safe care to patients. It is an opportunity to: • Reflect and review their practice. • Discuss individual cases in depth.

What is a Level 2 social worker? ›

Social Worker Band H (Level 2) (SCP 32 - 33) Qualification. Degree\Masters in Social Work or Social Work Qualification Essential. Progression for Newly Qualified Social Workers will be facilitated upon completion of the Assessed & Supported Year in Employment portfolio.

Is social work hard to study? ›

Yes, earning a master's in social work is demanding. It's also rewarding, not in spite of, but because of its level of difficulty. A social work master's program will challenge you in ways that prepare you for the challenges of daily life as an effective, fulfilled professional social worker.

Can you study social work part-time? ›

A social worker's main role is to help vulnerable people overcome their problems. If you don't have the time to commit as a full-time student and want to study Social Work, here are the universities that offer part-time social work courses.

How much do Lcsw make in Oregon? ›

How much does a LCSW make in Oregon? As of Oct 14, 2022, the average annual pay for the LCSW jobs category in Oregon is $75,801 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $36.44 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,457/week or $6,316/month.

What is the difference between a LCSW and a Lmsw? ›

In essence, the LMSW path is for social workers who are interested in effecting change on a macro level or working in case management roles, while the LCSW path is geared toward social workers who want to effect change with individuals through therapeutic interventions.

Can a CSWA practice clinical social work in Oregon? ›

A CSWA may only practice clinical social work outside of the approved plan of supervision if provided a QMHP or QMHA by the MHACBO. Under a QMHP/QMHA one may practice clinically but no hours will count until plan of supervision is approved.

Is a LCSW better than a psychologist? ›

No, an LCSW isn't better than a psychologist.

LCSWs and psychologists play different roles in mental health care. LCSWs are both mental health professionals and social workers, which means they diagnose and treat mental illnesses while they assist patients with other practical needs they may have.

What is the difference between clinical social worker and therapist? ›

Social workers focus on helping people deal with challenging situations while other therapists treat mental or physical disorders or diseases. Psychologists may conduct studies or experiments to understand how people work. Psychiatrists have medical training.

What is the difference between a clinical social worker and a social worker? ›

The main difference between clinical and direct social workers is what each is legally allowed to do. All social workers can connect clients with resources and offer guidance through difficult situations, but only clinical social workers can provide counseling treatments.

How do I become a social worker in Washington state? ›

How to Become a Social Worker in Washington
  1. Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) ...
  2. Master of Social Work (MSW) ...
  3. Apply to become a Licensed Social Worker Associate-Advanced (LSWAA). ...
  4. Obtain the required experience. ...
  5. Submit the LASW application. ...
  6. Take and pass the ASWB Advanced Generalist exam.
19 Sept 2022

How much does a social worker make? ›

Find out what the average Social Worker salary is

The average social worker salary in South Africa is R 235 591 per year or R 121 per hour. Entry-level positions start at R 186 000 per year, while most experienced workers make up to R 5 261 063 per year.

What type of work do social workers do? ›

Social workers help people cope with challenges in their lives. They help with a wide range of situations, such as adopting a child, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, or preventing and treating substance abuse.

What field of social work pays the most? ›

What Field of Social Work Pays the Most? Social workers tend to earn the most working for the federal government. Federal social workers help guide research and develop social services, healthcare, and education policies. They earn median annual salaries of $82,490, as of May 2020, according to the BLS.

What are the 7 principles of social work? ›

The following broad ethical principles are based on social work's core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. These principles set forth ideals to which all social workers should aspire.

What is the difference between a LCSW and a Lmsw? ›

In essence, the LMSW path is for social workers who are interested in effecting change on a macro level or working in case management roles, while the LCSW path is geared toward social workers who want to effect change with individuals through therapeutic interventions.

Can a social worker make 6 figures? ›

Social workers have the potential to make nearly six figures in some segments of the career field. But they also have the potential for building up six figures of student loan debt.

Is a master's degree in social work worth it? ›

Getting an MSW is worth it if you want to assume higher-level roles, such as that of a social work supervisor, and if you want opportunities to increase your earnings enough to offset the cost of a degree. In general, the social work industry is growing quickly.

How can a social worker make more money? ›

Practice clinical social work

Typically, the highest paying social work roles are clinical. This means you'll find yourself working for hospitals, insurance companies, or doing therapy. You should also prioritize licensure if you want to practice social work, even if you don't want to be a therapist.

Who is the most famous social worker? ›

Jane Addams (1860-1935)

Perhaps the most famous and decorated female social worker, Jane Addams founded one of the world's first settlement houses – the renowned Hull House in Chicago – and received the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize.

Why is there a shortage of social workers? ›

So, with all this demand how is it possible to have a shortage in social workers? Here are some factors explaining the shortage: Relatively high educational requirements required for the job. Lack of funding and incentives for workers in rural areas.

What are the 3 levels of social work? ›

Social workers perform their roles and responsibilities within three interrelated levels of practice: micro, mezzo, and macro. These systems of practice use different methodologies to provide services to diverse populations, but they all operate within the Person-in-Environment (PIE) Theory.


1. Institute for Clinical Social Work Founding Members
(Institute for Clinical Social Work ICSW)
2. Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Specialized In Psychological Reports And Evaluations For Immigrants
(Claudia Ribas LCSW - Psychological Reports )
3. Lunch & Learn: Clinical Considerations for WA Behavioral Health Agencies for SB 5195 (part 2 of 2)
(Washington State Health Care Authority)
4. Medical Aid in Dying in California: A Clinical Update with Dr. Lonny Shavelson - July 17, 2022
(Hemlock Society of San Diego)
5. Understanding Epilepsy & Seizure Disorders and Current Treatments: David Vossler, MD
(Valley Medical Center)
6. CSWA and NASW Social Work Reinvestment Message
(National Association of Social Workers)
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