Captain Rob Geis agreed to be interviewed and share his experiences with the next generation of Social Workers. Native to Ohio, he graduated High School in 1979, he continued his education at Ohio State University from 1982-1986, completing his Masters in Social Work. For the past 24 years, he has served as a Social Worker in the United States Army. In his current position he is responsible for the Department of Social Work Services. Previous positions have included: two assignments as a Division Social Worker, Medical Inpatient Social Worker, Chief of Social Work, Division Chief of Mental Health, Clinical Director of Army Substance Abuse Program, Combat Operation Stress Control Commander, and General Staff Officer (Geis, 2012). Academic positions have included both, the Army Long Term Health Education and Training (LTHET) as well as the Command and General Staff College.
Social Worker’s Primary Role
Throughout Captain Geis’ career, he has been able to diversify his practice throughout the many positions that the Army has had available. Positions such as Division Social Worker allowed him to focus on the treatment of soldiers and their families. His current role as Chief of Social Work and Consultant to the Surgeon General of the Army affords him the maneuverability to push concepts that may be utilized across the military in support of prevention and treatment of behavioral health.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Chief of Social Work, he has limited time in a clinical setting. This can make a true analysis of NASW ethics in his situation difficult. With the increased responsibilities of his position he is not in the position of treatment, yet through the navigation of policies, he is able to push new ideas and concepts to those in positions to enact them. This form of action is in congruence with NASW ethics as he furthers political and organizational actions in support of the client (National Association of Social Workers, 2008).
Social Work Identity
Working in a position and fulfilling your duties are not always the same concept. During the interview Captain Geis emphasized several times that “the most important part of this job was the soldier who was supported” (2012). In this effect he embodied the NASW values of service, integrity, human relationships, and worth of the person. These assignments gave him the opportunity to care and direct soldiers, fulfilling both roles as a Social Worker and Officer. As an Army Officer the lines between Social Worker and Officer may have been blurred together but each were an important part of whom he is.
A Social Work Officer is not just a Social Worker or an Officer. It is the embodiment of a leader and caregiver; an individual whose career is dedicated to the taking care of soldiers, their families, and the Army itself. This concept may tear at the ideology of the NASW, as several of the ethical guidelines may be skewed as the requirements of the Army...