Values individual’s differences, cultural norms and ethnic diversity.
Values refer to beliefs and attitudes that provide direction
in everyday living while ethics refer to what constitutes to be the right
conduct (Corey, 2003). Values and ethics are usually used interchangeably but
they are not identical.
As Social Workers,
Counsellors or Psychologist, our professional relationships with our clients
exist for their benefit. According to
National Asssociation of Social Workers (NASW), 2017the following are the broad ethical principles based on social work
core values of services; i) dignity and worth of person, ii) integrity, iii)
importance of human relationship, iv) competence, v) justice.
Dignity and Worth of Person
NASW (2017), states that it
is important to treat each individual with respect and compassion regardless of
the individual’s differences, cultural norms and ethnic diversity. They promote the individual to be socially responsible
self-determinants based on the individual values. The three professions strive
to increase individual’s capability to change and bring themselves towards
The three professions also ensure
that those in need receive appropriate support and services. They are governed
by their professional code of ethics to achieve the highest ethical values (NASW,2017).
In addition, NASW (2017) also states
the significance of human relationship as a vehicle to facilitate positive
change. In our engagement with the clients,
we seek to promote and enhance the well-being of the clients.
The three professions must
be knowledgeable within their areas of competence including the different
legislations affecting their different groups of clients – for example
children, women, disabled, vulnerable adults etc (NASW, 2017)
Social workers in particular pursue social
change on behalf of vulnerable individuals and groups of people (NASW, 2017).
This is also similar to the other two 2 professions, who would continuously
strive to ensure access to needed information and resources in decision making
for the people.
Differences among Social Workers, Counsellors and Psychologists
Extrinsic resource-based vs intrinsic value-based
As explored earlier,
Social Work is about “person in environment” which means it links an individual
with sets of system that provide the individual with resources, services and
opportunities (Higham, 2006). Thus, in Social Work, the values and ethics are
basically characterized as derivatives in the interaction between the
collaborative parties involved in the life of the individual. For example, in helping
an individual to develop and adjust to changes, the focus will be on the
extrinsic relationship between the individual with the environment. Whereas, in
the profession of counselling and psychology, focus is on the governing of interpersonal
values and rights of the individual which is an intrinsic value-based.
Functional Support Provided to an Individual
Ethics and values in the three
different professions can also be viewed on the support that affect the
different domains of individual. For instance, when an individual is in the
state of anxiety due to being homeless. A Social Worker would address the issue
through the form of casework by facilitating referrals to several agencies such
as shelter or financial institution. Throughout the case management, Social
Workers need to be cognizant of client’s confidentiality bearing in mind the
need to forego it if the client’s safety is at risk. However, a counsellor would take on the
individual’s emotion and rely more on client’s motivation to change. Psychologist are more scientific and use tools like psychometric test to
determine individual’s intensity of anxiety.
Observing ethics and values
are of great importance to the social worker, counsellor and psychologists and
the client. They faced similar
challenges such as managing ethical dilemma and making professional judgements in
managing cases. Thus, the 3 professions seem similar but different in its