Social Work and Values

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Values are defined by Merriam Webster as “relative worth, utility, or importance”. In essence, values are ideas or beliefs that are important to an individual. I believe that many individuals make personal decisions based upon the influential nature of values, and these decisions can become problematic in a helping relationship. The impact of personal values can cause helping professionals to inadvertently cause harm to their clients through unintentional influence. Helpers must realize the impact of their personal values in a helping relationship and know the difference between imposing and exposing these values (Schneider, & Corey, 2010). To become better aware of my values, this essay will discuss a personal value, related conflict, and resolution. As an adolescent, my parents divorced and my mother became my primary caretaker. Effective parenting, especially by a mother, became a personal value. Subsequently, I do not view those who take a passive role in their child’s life and parenting responsibilities with a high level of respect. This value, or belief, has provided a source of personal conflict in a personal friendship. A few years ago, a friend (whom I will refer to as Mary), faced personal mental struggles that led to the demise of her marriage. Mary relocated and moved in with her mother in Evansville—120 miles away from her children. In the early months of her return, she set many goals such as gaining employment, saving money, and ultimately returning to the city where her children reside. Visitation with her children occurred on a regular basis, she maintained a job, and seemed to be progressing towards her goals. As time progressed, Mary became less focused on her children. She became engrossed with a new romantic relationship, established a residence with her new partner, and is no longer employed. Visitation with her children has become less frequent and they seem to be a low priority to Mary at this time. While her behavior may...
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