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Values and Ethics in Social Work

By Dr. D. Sreenivasa Reddy Faculty in Social Work

The Nature of Values


A value is a type of belief, centrally located in ones total belief system, about how one ought, or ought not to behave, or about some end-state of existence worth or not worth attaining.

The Nature of Values


Instrumental Values: How we should or should not behave Provide the moral or ethical guidelines that help determine how we conduct our lives, and as social workers, how we perform our work.

The Nature of Values


Terminal Values: Reflects the bottom line of what we want to accomplish.

The Difficulty of Dealing with Values


Values are such a central part of our thought processes that we often are not consciously aware of them and therefore are unable to identity their influence on our decisions.

The Difficulty of Dealing with Values


A person may be forced to choose among values that are in conflict with one another. This is known as a value conflict.

The Difficulty of Dealing with Values


Addressing values in the abstract may be quite different from applying them in a real-life situation.

The Difficulty of Dealing with Values


Values are problematic because they change over time.

The Place of Values in Social Work


Values clarification is an important aspect of social work practice. Social workers must be concerned with his or her own values , and control for inappropriate intrusion into practice situations. This is known as value suspension.

Values Held by Social Workers


Commitment to the primary importance of the individual in society. Commitment to social change to meet socially recognized needs. Commitment to social justice and the economic, physical, and mental wellbeing of all in society.

Values Held by Social Workers


Respect and appreciation for individual and group differences. Commitment to developing clients ability to help themselves. Willingness to transmit knowledge and skills to others. Respect for confidentiality of relationship with clients.

Values Held by Social Workers


Willingness to keep personal feelings and needs separate from professional relationships. Willingness to persist in efforts on behalf of clients despite frustration. Commitment to a high standard of personal and professional conduct.

Areas of Practice Addressed by the NASW Code of Ethics


Standards related to the social workers ethical responsibility to clients. The social workers ethical responsibility to colleagues. The social workers ethical responsibilities in practice settings.

Areas of Practice Addressed by the NASW Code of Ethics


The social workers ethical responsibilities as a professional. The social workers ethical responsibility to the social work profession. The social workers ethical responsibilities to the broader society.

Competencies Required
For Social Work Practice

Competencies Related to Interpersonal Helping


Self-awareness and the ability to use self in facilitating change. Knowledge of the psychology of giving and receiving help. Ability to establish professional helping relationships. Understanding differing ethnic and cultural patterns, as well as the capacity to engage in ethnic-gender-, and age-sensitive practice.

Competencies Related to Interpersonal Helping


Knowledge and application of the Code of Ethics as a guide to ethical practice. General understanding of individual and family behavior patterns. Skill in client information gathering. Ability to analyze client information and identify both the strengths and problems evident in a practice situation.

Competencies Related to Interpersonal Helping


Capacity to counsel, problem solve, and/or engage in conflict resolution with clients. Possession of expertise in guiding the change process.

Competencies Related to Professional Development


Ability to be introspective and critically evaluate ones own practice. Ability to make use of consultation. Ability to consume and extend professional knowledge.

Frequently Used Social Work Competencies


Case Planning and Maintenance Individual and Family Treatment Delivery System Knowledge Development Staff Information Exchange Risk Assessment and Transition Services Staff Supervision

Case Planning and Maintenance


Expertise in service planning and monitoring Ability to carry out the employing agencys programs and operating procedures Knowledge of clients background factors Skills in interagency coordination Ability to engage in case advocacy

Individual and Family Treatment


Sufficient knowledge of human development to make in-depth psychosocial assessments. In-depth knowledge of family functioning. Skill in the selection and application of individual and/or family treatment modalities.

Delivery System Knowledge Development


Ability to maintain up-to-date knowledge of a variety of human service programs. Skills in building interagency coordination and linkage.

Staff Information Exchange


Ability to prepare and consume written and oral presentations regarding agency programs. Capacity to facilitate staff members ability to make decisions and resolve problems. Ability to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration.

Risk Assessment and Transition Services


Ability to apply general systems and/or ecosystems theory when assessing factors affecting a practice situation. Skill in engaging clients in examining problems in social functioning. Skill in utilizing social work assessment techniques.

Risk Assessment and Transition Services Continued


Skill in the use of crisis intervention. Ability to facilitate client transitions between services and/or to terminate service.

Staff Supervision
Knowledge of the literature regarding the supervisory process. Capacity to facilitate the work of supervisees. Ability to conduct worker evaluation and professional development.

Prevention:
The Future of Social Work

Three Stages of Prevention

Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention
Tertiary Prevention

Three Stages of Prevention


Primary Prevention Actions taken prior to the onset of a problem to intercept its cause or to modify its course before a person is involved. It is the elimination of the noxious agent at its source.

Three Stages of Prevention


Secondary Prevention Involves prompt efforts to curtail and stop the disease in the affected persons and the spreading of the disease to others.

Three Stages of Prevention


Tertiary Prevention Involves rehabilitative efforts to reduce the residual effects of the illness, that is, reducing the duration and disabling severity of the disease.

Reference
Morales, A.T. & Sheafor, B.W. (2004). Social work: A profession of many faces. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Thank you