Values be socially responsible self-determinants based on the individual

and Ethics

Values refer to beliefs and attitudes
that provide guidance 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.

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As Social Workers,
Counsellors or Psychologist, our professional relationships with our clients
exist for their benefit.  According to
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) (2017), the following are the
broad ethical principles based on social work core values of services: dignity
and worth of person, integrity, importance of human relationship, competence,
and 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 self-reliance.


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 Justice

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