Valuesand EthicsValues refer to beliefs and attitudes that provide directionin everyday living while ethics refer to what constitutes to be the rightconduct (Corey, 2003).
Values and ethics are usually used interchangeably butthey are not identical. Levy (1973) categories values as preferred conception,outcome and approach of human being.SimilaritiesAs Social Workers,Counsellors or Psychologist, our professional relationships with our clientsexist for their benefit. According toNational Asssociation of Social Workers (NASW), 2017the following are the broad ethical principles based on social workcore values of services; i) dignity and worth of person, ii) integrity, iii)importance of human relationship, iv) competence, v) justice.
Dignity and Worth of PersonNASW (2017), states that itis important to treat each individual with respect and compassion regardless ofthe individual’s differences, cultural norms and ethnic diversity. They promote the individual to be socially responsibleself-determinants based on the individual values. The three professions striveto increase individual’s capability to change and bring themselves towardsself-reliance. IntegrityThe three professions also ensurethat those in need receive appropriate support and services. They are governedby their professional code of ethics to achieve the highest ethical values (NASW,2017). HumanRelationshipIn addition, NASW (2017) also statesthe significance of human relationship as a vehicle to facilitate positivechange. In our engagement with the clients,we seek to promote and enhance the well-being of the clients.
CompetenceThe three professions mustbe knowledgeable within their areas of competence including the different legislation affecting theirdifferent groups of clients – for example children, women, disabled, vulnerableadults etc (NASW, 2017)Social JusticeSocial workers in particular pursue socialchange on behalf of vulnerable individualsand groups of people (NASW, 2017). This is also similar to the other two 2professions, who would continuously strive to ensure access to neededinformation and resources in decision making for the people. Differences among Social Workers, Counsellors and PsychologistsExtrinsic resource-based vs intrinsic value-basedAs explored earlier,Social Work is about “person in environment” which means it links an individualwith sets of system that provide the individual with resources, services andopportunities (Mammott, 2017). Thus, in Social Work, the values and ethics arebasically characterized as derivatives in the interaction between thecollaborative parties involved in the life of the individual. For example, in helpingan individual to develop and adjust to changes, the focus will be on theextrinsic relationship between the individual with the environment. Whereas, inthe profession of counselling and psychology, focus is on the governing of interpersonalvalues and rights of the individual which is an intrinsic value-based.Functional Support Provided to an IndividualEthics and values in the threedifferent professions can also be viewed on the support that affect thedifferent domains of individual.
For instance, when an individual is in thestate of anxiety due to being homeless. A Social Worker would address the issuethrough the form of casework by facilitating referrals to several agencies suchas shelter or financial institution. Throughout the case management, SocialWorkers need to be cognizant of client’s confidentiality bearing in mind theneed to forego it if the client’s safety is at risk. However, a counsellor would take on theindividual’s emotion and rely more on client’s motivation to change. Psychologist are more scientific and use tools like psychometric test todetermine individual’s intensity of anxiety. Observing ethics and valuesare of great importance to the social worker, counsellor and psychologists andthe client. They faced similarchallenges such as managing ethical dilemma and making professional judgements inmanaging cases.
Thus, the 3 professions seem similar but different in itsessence.