Values and Ethics

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Values and Ethics: Above All Else

Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss my personal values, compare and contrast those values against the NASW Code of Ethics, discuss the selection of a specific values clarification vignette, including reason for choosing, personal feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions, level of comfort regarding the client(s) involved, and actions to be taken to resolve conflicting personal values, and discuss the selection of a particular ethical dilemma, including ethical responsibilities and principles in conflict with dilemma, reasons for choosing, available options to address the concerns, the pros and cons of each option, guidelines and resources available to assist with resolving this dilemma and deciding on appropriate course of action, and what course of action is chosen.

Values and Ethics: Above All Else
Three of my personal values include the following: honesty and integrity, never settling for less than one’s best through commitment to improving oneself, and to be accepting of other people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or culture. My family heavily influenced my personal values as they always taught me to be a free-thinker, open-minded, and to try to put myself in other’s shoes. They pushed me to be the best I could be at whatever I was doing, even when I thought I was already doing my best. They encouraged me to have friendships with people from all walks of life. I have friends of all ages, races, genders, and sexual orientation. I don’t limit myself to one particular group. My parents set examples for me in these values instead of just stating them. In other words, their words mirrored their actions.

My personal values conflict with the NASW Code of Ethics on the following levels: 1) Honest and integrity---As an individual who is devoted to building and maintaining a client’s trust in my professional knowledge and dependability, this value conflicts due to the fact agency policies, legal procedures, etc will inevitably place limitations on how I am able to provide services to my client. The ability to remain dedicated and loyal to my client while adhering to particular agency, state, and federal government laws will be a balancing act. There will be times when I have to choose laws over clients in cases where abiding by the law will betray my client and possibly destroy what trust he/she has placed in me. It is my desire if/when this should ever happen, betraying my client due to requirement to adhere to the law will ultimately benefit the client more than maintaining complete confidentiality. According to the NASW Code of Ethics, “…social workers’ responsibility to the larger society or specific legal obligations may on limited occasions supersede the loyalty owed clients, and clients should be so advised” (National Association of Social Workers [NASW], 2008, 1.01 Commitment To Clients). An example of this would be informing the law about child neglect or abuse during a counseling session with a client who tells me her child is being abused. Additionally, “…the client’s right to confidentiality may be less compelling than the rights of other people who could be severely harmed or damaged by actions planned by the client and confided to the practitioner” (Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney, Gottfriend, & Larsen, 2006). 2) Never settling for less that one’s best: The hardest challenge for me is accepting my clients “where they are” because I am always wanting my clients to achieve the highest level of functioning and well-being as possible. If the client’s current stage or state in life is “where they are supposed to be”, then I have to ask the question, “Why are they being referred to me for assistance?” In my personal life, I both desire and am always encouraging my friends and family to succeed in whatever they are doing. It is difficult to see them struggle when I think there is a better life for them. I have to stop and remind...
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