Ethics in Social Work

Topics: Ethics, Social work, Sociology Pages: 6 (2089 words) Published: March 21, 2013
In psychology and social work, dual relationships and clinical boundaries are often common. They are often unclear and most times the professional has a difficult time noticing them developing. Ethical dilemmas are found in all professions, but are often different in type and solutions. They are hard to identify and even harder to make a clear decision. Dual relationships and clinical boundaries are one of the biggest ethical dilemmas social workers face because of the difficulties of finding the line between the professional role and the empathetic role a social worker plays. Social work is a profession that helps to solve complex human problems and create a more just and caring society. One of the foundations of social work is the focus on the strengths, as opposed to the shortcomings, of individuals, families and communities so that creative solutions for complex social problems can be found. The profession is characterized by a steadfast commitment to social justice in the service of empowering individuals, families and communities to meet their needs. Few professions offer many different types of employment opportunities. Social workers serve as counselors, in adoption, domestic violence, rehabilitation, hospice, mental health, youth, community development workers, public policy analysts, global rights workers; and in juvenile and adult justice systems, just to name a few.  However, the main job of a social worker, however, is to help the client to reach a more stable environment, but to go about it a specific way dependent on the job the social worker held. Each job might come with different ethical problems, but social workers have to follow a strict code of ethics that have guidelines to help them make the correct decisions. The NASW, National Association of Social Work, is the largest group of professional social workers. It is the group that wrote the NASW code of ethics, which are followed by all social workers across the United States (NASW, 2008). Ethics are the underlying rules put in place to help society better function. Usually, they are hard to identify and can be interpreted in many different ways. Each person has their own ethical standards, which is why it’s necessary to have ethical codes that make it more general and help each professional make his or her own ethical decision. Ethics play a huge role into social work. Without an ethical background or a code of ethics it could harm not only a client, but also the social worker himself. The biggest struggle that comes along with ethics is the fact that each individual usually interprets them differently. Ethics is two things. First, ethics refers to right and wrong that advise what humans should do, in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics can refer to those standards that make humans refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include ideals relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards. As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical; therefore it is necessary to constantly examine one's standards to ensure that they are reasonable. The NASW Code of Ethics was written to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers. It includes four sections. The first section, "Preamble," summarizes the social work profession's mission and core values. The second section, "Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics," provides an overview of the Code's main functions and a brief guide for dealing with ethical issues or dilemmas in social work practice. The third section, "Ethical Principles," presents broad ethical principles, based on social work's core values, that inform social work practice. The final section, "Ethical Standards," includes specific ethical standards to guide...
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