The Impact of Values-Clarification
on Ethics in the Helping Profession
America is faced with an overwhelming abundance of moral and social problems which seem to consume the fragilely woven fibers of our nation. What has happened to America? What can be done to rescue the innocents in society from those who seem to prey upon them? Can one person make a difference? Those in the human service profession have felt a calling, have been affected by the seeming hopeless perils of the weaker members of society and have stood to make a difference one step, one person one life at a time.
How can one person make a difference in a world so big and so full of problems? America is a society that is morally starving. Values clarification, which is taught in public schools today teaches "since there are no eternal truths which are valid for this generation and succeeding generations, everybody has to find his own values in his own time. There is nothing which is right and wrong for everyone, thus there are no absolutes" (Ed. DeMoss, 1986).
Ethical issues lead to ethical decisions. These decisions quite often place the social worker in an ethical dilemma. The concept of values-clarification is reinforced by Marianne and Gerald Corey, authors of "Becoming A Helper". In their book they say "Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist among social workers with respect to the ways in which values, ethical principles, and ethical standards should be rank ordered when they conflict" (1994). Deciding what is morally right or morally wrong has been placed in the hands of the individual. This lack of moral absolutes has produced a generation miserably lacking solid direction for life.
Society is filled with men, women, teenagers, and children of all races, cultures, and
ethnic backgrounds seeking or requiring counseling for a myriad of reasons. Many are victims of abuse, many are the abusers, but all are victims of society's demon of moral disintegration. Sexual and physical abuse on children are painful realities of these demons that exist in society. The practitioner assigned to the father who is the perpetrator in the abuse case is faced with an ethical dilemma when facing him in a helping relationship. Is it possible to be nonjudgmental toward this man?
"Recognizing that all human beings have strengths and weaknesses,
experience difficult problems, make improper choices, become angry and
frustrated, and often act inappropriately, the practitioner maintains a
neutral attitude toward the client's behavior"(Heffernan, Shuttlesworth,
A nonjudgmental attitude toward certain clients may seem an impossibility. Equally as difficult for the social worker is that of compromising personal value systems in order to maintain a helping relationship with a client. On one hand, a person who causes personal injury to a pregnant woman that results in the death of her unborn child is faced with...