Ethical Self Essay

1443 words - 6 pages

Midterm Paper: My Ethical Self
As I have spent time working and receiving education in a variety of different social systems settings, I have woven numerous concepts from various fields and ethical principles into my ethical self. At my heart I am a social worker, so the most important ethical code I ascribe to is the National Association of Social Workers’ (NASW) Code of Ethics. This document can be summarized by its six core values: 1) service; 2) social justice; 3) dignity and worth of the person; 4) importance of human relationships; 5) integrity; 6) competence (NASW, 2008). While the world is full of joy, compassion, and solidarity, it is also full of suffering, inequity, and injustice. ...view middle of the document...

Instead of taking a neutral stance when in it comes to these issues, which would only serve to reinforce and perpetuate inherent racism and inequity, I am committed to taking an active role to work against these realities.
My personal commitment to anti-oppression is in congruence with the ethics of the chemical dependency profession as well (NAADAC, 2011). As Venner and Bogenschutz (2008) note, “The principles of ethics also compel us to pursue social justice” (p. 71). Many issues at the forefront of anti-oppression, such as stigma, racism, and poverty, are deeply related to substance misuse. Thus, by incorporating anti-oppression into my work with clients that are using substances, I am also working ethically in terms of substance use counseling. Specifically related to my personal practice, due to the nature of my work, I work to integrate direct anti-racism, which is the act of working against the forces of direct racism (Berman & Paradies, 2010).
Essential to the process of anti-racist practice is self-awareness, education, and experiences with those different from myself (Denevi & Pastan, 2006). While some of this unfolds naturally in my work, I must remain constantly vigilant to prevent potential complacency, as I have found is easy to do. Examples of this include receiving consultation from professionals with a variety of intersecting identities different than my own, reading about the heritage and background of groups that my clients identify with, and spending time in a community of other white individuals connected to the anti-racism cause. Finally, advocacy is also an important part of this work (Corneau & Stergiopoulos, 2012), and I must find ways to incorporate this into my practice.
As a human being and a professional trained in an area of practice different than the chemical dependency field, I have three personal biases about it. One of my largest biases involves spirituality in recovery. Forms of spirituality, especially in 12-step groups, are often quite central to the process of recovery, and this is different than the approach the mental health field takes (Mueser, Noordsy, Drake, & Fox, 2003). As spirituality seems to be more present within the chemical dependency field, it is my assumption that this originates with the professionals. In other words, I assume that more chemical dependency professionals feel spiritual recovery is important when compared to mental health professionals. Second, I have a bias against the field’s disposition of characterizing those with substance use concerns as resistant or in denial (Orr-Brown & Siebert, 2007) in need of coercive treatment to due their irrational choices. Coming from a harm-reduction approach, with an emphasis on self-determination, I have a strong bias against any punitive or coercive approaches to care or help. The third bias I am going to discuss involves the prevalence of professionals in recovery from substance misuse its relationship to opinions on dual relationships....

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