Valuesand EthicsValues refer to beliefs and attitudesthat provide guidance in everyday living while ethics refer to what constitutesto be the right conduct (Corey, 2003). Values and ethics are usually usedinterchangeably but they are not identical.
SimilaritiesAs Social Workers,Counsellors or Psychologist, our professional relationships with our clientsexist for their benefit. According toNational Association of Social Workers (NASW) (2017), the following are thebroad ethical principles based on social work core values of services: dignityand worth of person, integrity, importance of human relationship, competence,and justice.Dignity and Worth of PersonNASW (2017) states that itis important to treat each individual with respect and compassion, regardlessof the individual’s differences, cultural norms and ethnic diversity, theypromote the individual to be socially responsible self-determinants based onthe individual values. The three professions strive to increase individual’scapability to change and bring themselves towards self-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 states the significance of human relationship as a vehicle to facilitatepositive change. In our engagement withthe clients, we seek to promote and enhance the well-being of the clients.
CompetenceThe threeprofessions must be knowledgeable within their areas of competence including thedifferent legislations affecting their different groups of clients – forexample children, women, disabled, vulnerable adults etc (NASW, 2017)Social JusticeSocial workers in particular pursuesocial change on behalf of vulnerable individuals and groups of people (NASW,2017). This is also similar to the other two 2 professions, who wouldcontinuously strive to ensure access to needed information and resources indecision making for the people. Differences among Social Workers, Counsellors and PsychologistsExtrinsic resource-based vs intrinsic value-basedAs exploredearlier, Social Work is about “person in environment” which means it links anindividual with sets of system that provide the individual with resources, servicesand opportunities (Higham, 2006).
Thus, in Social Work, the values and ethicsare basically 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.