Self-Care A-Z: National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics (CoE) 2021 Updates Include Self-Care—Celebrations and Crucial Caveats

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Aspirational Language

Thanks for advocating for NASW and all social workers to recognize the importance of self-care. You have certainly been leaders in raising awareness about the importance of self-care. The use of aspirational language is not necessarily a weakness. It invites social workers to strive for the best in self-care. I'm not sure that having self-care incorporated as a baseline standard would have been beneficial. If self-care was included as a baseline standard, then clients, supervisors, or others could initiate professional review processes against social workers who they believed were not taking appropriate self-care. By using descriptive and aspirational language, it is clear that self-care is an ideal to which all social workers should subscribe. It's great to hear different views about self-care and the best way for the profession to proceed.

Allan Barsky 56 days ago

My thoughts

I agree with you. When I heard this, I was thinking more of a demand for social workers to do our self-care because our colleagues and clients or supervisors could use that against us, but then stresses the importance of having a work culture that influences us to build relationships based on compassion and genuine interest in how our colleagues are doing. what do you think?

Jessie-Lee Scherger 55 days ago


Hi, Allan! Always good to dialogue.

These same arguments were made about including self-care at all. And, the same arguments could be made about any of the other standards. Our main point is that professional standards should include commitment to one’s own well-being, equitable to our commitments to the client, agency, etc. Take Care! ✌️✌🏽

Erlene 54 days ago

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