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CU Social Workers Ethical Dilemma Discussion

CU Social Workers Ethical Dilemma Discussion


A social worker needs your help with an ethical dilemma. Watch the interview and prepare to respond to what you observe. Here is he transcript of the video

Well, I, man, I don’t want to bug you with it, but I just need someone to talk to. I mean, for months, I’ve been seeing this guy, this, well, it was a client named Hank. And well, Hank’s his blue collar guy, OK. He’s kind of middle aged, he’s a man of faith. He’s strongly opinionated, really strongly opinionated. And Hank had been coming to see me since he split with his wife, which had been the result of years of escalating tension between them. But it still caught him off guard and it left him feeling vulnerable and afraid for his future, as you would.

He told me that he started watching more and more cable news and had to admit that it wasn’t helping steady his nerves, but he was also having trouble bringing himself to change the channel much. So Hank had, he always had strong political beliefs, but the stress of being alone and a recent cut in hours at work intensified his feelings, and he’d begun to find himself getting into verbal altercations with co-workers and casual acquaintances over political issues.

Anyway, so he’s a regular at this bar near his house. And you know, the good news is, is that it’s by his house, so you know, he didn’t have to drive there. So he wouldn’t be driving under the influence. But the bad news is, is that it’s by his house, so he could go there all the time. So over time, Hank’s at the bar every night. He encounters this guy and the guy’s his age and he also frequents the bar all the time and they, the guy tells him that he was recently divorced too. So they have something to talk about and they start talking over beers and they develop a casual friendship of sorts. And you know, it’s basically, mostly on sports, and then their shared relationship problems.

But you know, and this is often the case these days, the conversation eventually turned to politics. And it turns out that hank’s new drinking buddy was at the opposite end of the political spectrum. So now we have a, you know, they’d frequently get into political debates, which started off as friendly, respectful disagreements, but then over time, became more heated and passionate. And well, Hank confided in me that he felt that this rival was becoming more and more like condescending to him over time.

And at one point during one of their conversations, Hank got something wrong. And then the other guy had a good laugh at his expense about it. And you know, Hank wouldn’t outright admit it, no way, but he clearly had his feelings hurt and his ego bruised. From that point on, their relationship became toxic. You know, the arguments became just really heated and personal. But both men were too stubborn or too proud to stop going to the bar, of course. And Hank’s rival even, he started bringing friends with him to the bar. And if you hear Hank tell it, he says that the whole group started collectively mocking him on a fairly regular basis. And he said that he was humiliated and embarrassed and then it was it was escalating.

So eventually he admitted that he had become scared for his own safety from these guys. And also, Hank told me several months ago that he had purchased a gun for self-defense. Now of course, he’s well within his rights to own a firearm and that’s not an indication of any sort of pathology or immediate threat. So you know, I didn’t think that it should raise any immediate alarms. But during our last session, Hank became very agitated again while talking about this rival, you know, and the embarrassments that he’d suffered at the hands of these people.

And when he was exiting our session, Hank told me that he’d had enough and he was thinking of bringing his gun with him to the bar that night to show to his rival. And of course, I straight up asked him. I said, look, man, you would never use that, right? But then he left without responding. So you know, I’m in a weird position here, because I don’t know if I should tell someone or if I should just let it play out. I mean, look, I don’t think the guy is unhinged, but I don’t know. You know, embarrassment can push somebody into really, to really doing something that they wouldn’t normally do. And you know, a guy like him, especially a guy like him, who’s, who’s very like proud, I’m at a loss here. What do you think I should do?

Please respond by making a post advising the social worker in this scene about what you think they should do and why. Explain your ethical reasoning for the opinion you are giving. Consult the NASW Code of Ethics as needed.

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