Ethics Alive - Gifts From Clients: The Good, the Bad, and the Ethically Ugly

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Gift giving

Great article an wondering if you would consider writing one similar around ethics of Social Workers giving gifts, ie birthdays. Some organisations work with very vulnerable youth who do not receive any token of acknowledgment for birthdays/holidays and this area always creates dilemmas

LS 57 days ago

Receiving gifts from clients

Thanks to the author for shedding light on this oftentimes anxiety inducing topic! Speaking for myself, I have enjoyed the instances of clients giving me small gifts. I use the situations as content in our work together. So while I usually accept gifts when they are given under the ethically acceptable context outlined in the article, I discuss in a transparent way policies, ethics, and my personal response with the client. I express my gratitude and appreciation for the client's gesture and also explore with them (depending on the client it may be more or less in depth) what kind of feelings and thoughts arise for them and for me. Knowing that sometimes "a cigar is just a cigar", this process can nonetheless be a valuable way of highlighting the unique nature of the therapeutic relationship for clients while simultaneously punctuating the termination (usually) of the work together. Thank you again for providing clarity on this topic.

Philip West, LICSW

Philip West more than 5 years ago

Receiving gifts from clients

I very much liked this article about receiving gifts from clients in that the author promotes that social workers individualize the meaning on a case-by-case basis. However, when he suggests that clients should be informed of the agency's or therapist's policy about gift giving from the outset of treatment, I find it hard to imagine anyone saying to a new client, "We request that you give 24 hour notice if you need to cancel, that you pay after each session, and that you don't give me any presents." That just sounds so funny and off-target.

Mary Anne Cohen more than 5 years ago

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