We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

E-book purchase
Choose a subscription

Downloaded copy on your device does not expire. Includes 4 years of Bookshelf Online.


Where applicable, tax will be added to the above price prior to payment.

E-book purchasing help


Essential Ethics for Social Work Practice

Author Allan Edward Barsky

Publication Date - 04 August 2022

ISBN: 9780197585139

400 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

The first social work textbook to provide a foundation of essential values and ethics designed specifically for generalist social work students and practitioners


Essential Ethics for Social Work Practice is designed to empower social work students with the foundational knowledge, skills, critical thinking, affective self-awareness, and responsiveness that they will need to "Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior," the first competency in the Council on Social Work Education's Educational Policies and Academic Standards. Students will not only learn how to apply the National Association of Social Work's Code of Ethics, but also how to use a range of ethical theories and approaches to critical thinking to identify and manage challenging social work issues.

When social work students begin their professional education, it is important to understand how to put social work values and ethics into practice. This textbook provides students with guidance on how to implement core ethical duties including promoting social justice, practicing in a competent manner, fostering human relationships, ensuring clients have access to services, and maintaining high standards of honesty and integrity. Students will also learn how to engage with supervisors, coworkers, clients, attorneys, and others to discuss conflicting obligations and manage ethical dilemmas.

This textbook includes rich case illustrations and examples of critical thinking using a range of practice situations. In particular, students will learn how to apply deontology (duty-based ethics), teleology (consequence-based ethics), virtue ethics, and narrative ethics to explore ethical issues and determine appropriate solutions. Students will also learn how to strengthen their moral fortitude, the strength to do what is right even when pressure or constraints from others are making it difficult to act in an ethical manner.


  • Provides a practical six-stage framework for identifying, analyzing, and managing ethical issues, including ethical breaches, ethical dilemmas, and situations of moral distress
  • The first social work textbook to provide a foundation of essential values and ethics designed specifically for generalist social work students and practitioners
  • Written by an internationally recognized scholar on social work values and ethics who has chaired the National Association of Social Work National Ethics Committee
  • The author provides instructors with excellent ancillaries, including a test bank, sample syllabus, PowerPoint presentations for each chapter, and suggestions for teaching and learning

About the Author(s)

Allan Edward Barsky (JD, MSW, PhD) is Professor of Social Work at Florida Atlantic University. His teaching and research interests include social work practice theory and skill development, pedagogy, conflict resolution, professional ethics, and substance abuse. His book credits include Ethics and Values in Social Work (2019) and Conflict Resolution for the Helping Professions (2017).


"The text is straight-forward, simple to read and understand, and incorporates social work code of ethics. Each chapter has discussion questions and exercises. Overall, I think this text is groundbreaking in that it incorporates legal explanations to key social work ethical issues. "--Consoler Teboh, Saint Cloud State University

"This is easy to read, relevant to current issues, and the author provides not only information but is consistent with use of examples, and providing communicative and client-centered intervention skills, helping to reinforce the concepts. I appreciate the creative approach to making this applicable to general practice."--Theresa Maher, Roberts Wesleyan College

"Dr. Barsky provides a very clear and understandable writing style. I especially appreciate his use of case studies that are then used to explain application of the concepts presented. This is done in a way that invites the reader to consider the concept and how it applies to 'real life' situations. I personally feel this is very important as ethics can be very personal--and this format invites the reader the opportunity to explore the differences between personal and professional values. Dr. Barsky does an excellent job of providing other views so that the material does not appear biased, if anything it allows the reader to understand the complexities and 'grey areas' of ethics."--Carolyn D. Haney, University of Nebraska, Kearney

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Introduction to Social Work Values and Ethics
    Chapter 2: Managing Ethical Issues
    Chapter 3: Social Justice
    Chapter 4: Client Autonomy, Self-Determination, and Informed Consent
    Chapter 5: Privacy, Confidentiality, and Exceptions
    Chapter 6: Professional Competence, Incompetence, and Impairment
    Chapter 7: Cultural Competence, Humility, Awareness, and Responsiveness
    Chapter 8: Professional Boundaries, Dual Relationships, and Conflicts of Interest
    Chapter 9: Responsibilities in Practice Settings
    Chapter 10: Access to Services
    Chapter 11: Honesty and Integrity
    Chapter 12: Social Work Accountability and Regulation
    Chapter 13: Risk-Benefit Management
    Chapter 14: Conclusion