Ethical Standards To Protect The Rights Of Service Providers And Consumers

1633 words - 7 pages

Ethical standards, especially for fields that involve human service provision, are necessary to safeguard the rights and safety of both service providers and consumers. Past injustice and maltreatment have pushed different professions to develop codes of ethics that are unique to their respective fields. The chemical dependency field is no exception, and the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) has produced its own code of ethics. By beginning a therapeutic relationship with clients, many doors are opened; healing and harm are both possible, depending on how the counselor handles whatever arises. As a professional, I have a duty to understand the codes, ...view middle of the document...

My personal determination of what is right and wrong in relation to client interaction is shaped by a number of things, including the National Association of Social Worker’s (NASW) Code of Ethics, the NAADAC Code of Ethics, relevant statutes and laws, agency policies, supervision and consultation, and completion ethics coursework and continuing education. The umbrella of my ethical stance can be summed up by the six core values from the NASW Code of Ethics: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence (NASW, 2008). Every decision I make in my work stems from these six core values. As I am new to the chemical dependency field, I am also new to its code of ethics, but they are still an ethical influence. The NAADAC Code of Ethics is more specific in its scope since the chemical dependency counseling field is more specific than the social work field, but it echoes many of the same ideas of the NASW Code of Ethics. While the six core social work values form the underpinning of my professional ethics, the ethical principles provided by Geppert and Roberts (2008) are more applicable to a clinical relationship: respect for persons, autonomy, compassion, confidentiality, privacy, truth telling, nonmaleficence, and beneficence. Some are similar to the earlier core principles, but others touch on different areas that are equally important.
Moreover, the legal requirements that bind chemical dependency counselors also affect my ethical lens. For example, chemical dependency professionals are required to report any suspected neglect or abuse of a child (Revised Code of Washington 26.44.030). There is a reason this law exists and there is a reason it is mandatory; there are greater concepts that back laws such as these, and when I become a counselor, I don the legal responsibilities required of the profession. The same is true for agency protocols and policies. Taking a position at an agency inherently implies the individual is willing—even if the individual silently disagrees—to adhere to the agency’s policies and practices. Thus, my workplace also impacts my ethics.
Supervision and consultation are also essential pillars in my ethics. Theoretical situations and planning ahead only go so far, and supervision and consultation exist to prevent decisions from being made in isolation. Reamer (2006) writes, “Supervision and consultation have always been central in social work” (p. 145). When supervision is done correctly, the collective wisdom and experience of supervisors and colleagues should steer the individual in the dilemma to the decision that produces the most benefit (beneficience), or at the very least, the least harm (nonmaleficence). Finally, taking courses such as this one and continuing to stay on top of emerging ethical issues are also ethical influences. Chemical dependency professionals are required to complete at least four hours of continuing education involving law...

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