Social Work Ethical Dilemmas

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Social work is a tough profession. The profession is not always respected and some workers face a lot of hate or anger. Social workers also have to face a number of rough times and have to make hard decisions. Some of these decisions are be known as ethical dilemmas. In the lecture The History of Social Work, and ethical dilemma is described as existing when there are conflicts between the two or more of the core social work values (class lecture, September 21, 2015). A common ethical dilemma social workers face is with clients who are suicidal. For the purpose of this essay, I am going to pretend I am a social worker for a girl who used to harm themselves. She had been previously placed in a mental hospital in order to get better. As we are…show more content…
I am going to use these steps to help me come up with a solution to my ethical dilemma. Hick (2001) outlines the first step as “identify the key ethical issues in this situation” (p. 85). The key ethical issues in my situation are that I am dealing with a depressed, suicidal youth who could likely commit suicide if I do not report this. I know she has harmed herself and she could do even more damage to herself if I do not act. Hick (2001) outlines the second step as “the relevant ethical guidelines within your province’s social work code of ethics or any employer-based ethical guidelines must be identified” (p. 85). There are six core values that social workers must follow in their profession. According to the Code of Ethics (2005), these are Respect for Inherent Dignity and Worth of Persons, Pursuit of Social Justice, Service to Humanity, Integrity of Professional Practice, Confidentiality in Professional Practice, and Competence in Professional Practice (Hicks 2001, p. 358-359). Hick (2001) outlines the third step as “identify which ethical principles are of major importance in this particular situation and which are not” (p. 85). In this situation, the value of Respect for Inherent Dignity and Worth of Persons, Confidentiality in Professional Practice, and Service to Humanity are of the most importance. In this specific situation, none of the other values are of major…show more content…
85). I have come up with a concrete plan that I believe is the best thing for my client. I plan on sitting down with the girl and explaining to her what I have to do and why. We will discuss her feelings and I will try to show her that this is really what is best for her. Hopefully she understands this and goes to her parents first for help. If she does not agree with me and refuses to go to her parents herself, I will have to report the situation. She is a harm to herself and I cannot let her suffer by herself. Unfortunately, this requires me to violate two of the core social work values. I am breaching her confidentiality and her right to self-determination. I strongly believe this is the right call although I am breaching these two values for the value of Service to Humanity. In this case, and in most ethical dilemma cases, I am unable to uphold all of the core social work

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