Ethical Decision Making in Social Work Essay
Ethical Decision Making Working and interning in the helping profession and being a practicing Social Worker, I am confronted with ethical dilemmas, whether internal or external, most ethical dilemmas are because by my strong values. Whether I think of doing something unethical or feel as I am doing something that is on the line of being unethical, I talk about it with my clinical supervisor to make another person with more clinical experience aware and to get constructive criticism.
Working as a social work, I always have to carry myself in an ethical manner and be sure not to pass my values on a client or another coworker.
More than anything, my values could cause ethical dilemmas. Whether it is because of my strong values in wanting to help people as much as I can or my values that go against my peer’s beliefs, they could both become dangerous if I do not stay conscious of my strong value set and constantly bounce ideas off my clinical supervisor.
The ethical dilemma that I have dealt with the last few months at my internship, till the client recently discharged is having the want to do whatever I can do to help someone which is part of my values but it could become troublesome if it affects my work. The client that I sometimes showed favoritism towards after reflecting on our conversations, gave more attention than my clients at times after reflecting on my work, and talked about having counter-transference with is someone I went to high school with.
Not only did I go to high school with this gentleman, he was in my graduating class and we played on the same high school baseball team together. We have not seen each other in years but because of the intimate relationship we once held, the relationship was difficult to remain clinician and client. This ethical dilemma that I was confronted with for a few months at my field placement had to be talked about with other clinicians that have been in the field for a longer period of time than I have and my clinical supervisor for advice on how not to let it affect my work.
This was the largest ethical dilemma I faced at internship, a lot of people would take this as being a good helper but I recognized that if I did not contract the relationship, it would take from my work with clients on my caseload and the client that I knew from high school’s treatment. “The following ethical principles are based on social worker’s core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence.
These principles set forth ideals to which all social workers aspire (National Association of Social Work 2008). ” When focused on the helping of one client too much, it could jeopardize my ethical principles as a social worker in serving other clients. All clients are supposed to receive the same treatment and if I am not careful with recognizing counter-transference and discussing it with my clinical supervisor and fellow colleagues, I could jeopardize my growth as a Social Worker and developing a mutual focus and plan with other client’s that are receiving treatment.
When knowing a client on a personal level, then treating them as a Social Worker, it could present a conflict of interest problem. I was very upfront with the client, my clinical staff and clinical supervisor so this did not occur but without recognizing and talking about the counter-transference it easily could of developed into a conflict of interest. I feel as if a Social Worker got caught up in a conflict of interest dilemma and did not seek supervision it could hurt all the Ethical Principles that Social Workers are supposed to carry daily in a working environment.
The National Association of Social Work, Social Workers Ethical Responsibilities to Clients states that Conflict of Interest, 1. 06a, “Social workers should be alert to and avoid conflicts of interest that interfere with the exercise of professional discretion and impartial judgment. Social workers should inform clients when a real or potential conflict of interest arises and take reasonable steps to resolve the issue in a manner that makes the clients’ interests primary and protects clients’ interests to the greatest extent possible.
In some cases, protecting clients’ interests may require termination of the professional relationship with proper referral of the client (NASW 2008). ” By informing the client that our prior relationship was not relevant to his treatment and talking about the possible ethical dilemmas I could face with the client and other clients with my clinical supervisor, I was able to avoid a conflict of interest from occurring in treatment. If I did not recognize the situation, it could have affected my service as a Social Worker and impaired the dignity and worth of ersons or other clients. In turn, by focusing on the situation and seeking so much supervision on the importance of a working relationship with a client that was a friend in the past, I did not impair any of my ethical standards as a Social Worker or create a Conflict of Interest. “Social workers use the facilitation method to navigate ethical dilemmas. Like other aspects of social work practice, there is no set way to navigate a dilemma.
Rather, the social worker continues to use the facilitation in a flexible manner until the dilemma is adequately resolved and the consequences have been evaluated (Cameron 446). ” Working through the process of not creating an ethical dilemma at my field placement was good practice for future clients that I may know from previous relationship that come into a treatment facility that I am working or interning. Actively listening and reflecting on my counter transference with my clinical supervisor was the most important thing I did to make it through the possible dilemma.
The same way I use the facilitation method with clients, I incorporated with my clinical supervisor. I would portray my ideas and worries about possible ethical dilemmas and she would reflect in ways that it would help me from getting caught up in helping someone out of counter transference rather than the treatment the client really needs. There is no documented way to work your way through a possible ethical dilemma that social workers could face which is why supervision is so important for me.
I use my supervisor in the same fashion I am used to helping clients and reverse the roles and a lot of time it becomes the facilitation method with a clinician and clinical supervisor. Looking back, I think I handled the situation professionally and to the best of my ability. If I would have just let the situation play out and not notify anybody of the client and my past relationship, many ethical dilemmas could have occurred, especially with not treating clients with dignity and self-worth.
I think if I did not address the situation with the client, a conflict of interest could of occurred with him not realizing that we have a working relationship now that I am on the team that treats him for his diagnosis. Being a caring human and Social worker, I want to help everybody navigate through their problem and try to build a working relationship and help the client look within to find a solution that we could use in working relationship. Having that ttribute is positive in the field of social work, but when a friend from the past comes into the treatment center I am treating clients, I have to set my boundaries as soon as the client arrives and talk to my clinical supervisor about counter transference when it occurs. I naturally would want to do all I could for this client because he played a role in my life as a child but with the knowledge of National Association of Social Work Ethics, I know this could create a conflict of interest and discredit my Social Worker Ethical Principles.
Working through this possible ethical dilemma made me a better social worker and furthered my skill of recognizing counter transference using my clinical supervisor as an important asset when it comes to me treating clients. I am learning myself better as a person daily when I treat clients. Works Cited Cameron, M. , & Keenan, E. K. (2013) The common factors model for generalist practice. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. National Association of Social Work. (2008). Code of ethics of the national association of social workers. Retrieved from http://www. socialworkers. org/pubs/code/code. asp
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