Social Work and Human Services
NASW Code of Ethics
The beginning of NASW Code of Ethics is the affirmation that everybody has the inherent right of accessing the necessary resources for dealing with the problems of the daily life and also to fulfill goals through potential maximization. This is the principle under which the social work discipline is founded. The implication is that it is every social worker’s responsibility to ensure that the client has these resources (Hepworth et al, 2013, p. 60).
According to this code, everybody should be treated with dignity by social workers. Social workers should also exhibit a trustworthy behavior. Interpersonal relationships are also part of this code. For human services to thrive, all players must build effective relationships. This facilitates not only the attainment of goals but also the realization of change. Finally, social workers should apply relevant practices in their specialties (Segal et al, 2010, p. 462).
This is an important code because it guides social workers in relation to confidentiality, professional boundaries and interpersonal relationships’ issues. Client’s confidentiality is a very vital aspect because clients tend to have sensitive information. As such, social workers ought to conceal personal information of clients from any third party (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 65).
For clients to trust any social worker, it is important that the social worker and the client develop a working and close interpersonal relationship. For this to be achieved, openness is required. This benefits the client. Nevertheless, the interaction ought to remain within the professional relationship’s confines. No social worker should extend the relationship with the client beyond professional boundaries because this can cloud judgment (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 62).
How Social workers can insure integrity
The emphasis of NASW Code of Ethics is on the essence of integrity. Integrity is a very valuable element for a social worker. For clients to seek services from a given agency or social worker, they must be convinced that they will be accorded appropriate help. Additionally, the client should be convinced that the agency or social worker will not take their interests lightly. Nevertheless, a client will not have such convictions when they consider the social worker as an untrustworthy person (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 62).
For integrity to be maintained, social workers should act in an honest manner. This should be seen from the first meeting and maintained in subsequent processes. Honest conduct enhances individual’s reputation as well as that of the entire profession and the agency. This means that more clients will be drawn to the agency or the social worker. It is also important that social workers be accountable for their actions. Social workers ought to comprehend the fact that there are consequences of every action that they take. They should also realize that the whole discipline can be affected by individual mistakes. As such, all agencies ought to engage in ethical deals and have guidelines for the employees’ actions (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 62).
Integrity should be seen not just when handling clients. Treating co-workers with respect promotes a good working environment for social workers as well and this encourages idea sharing and teamwork. When there are professional disputes, social workers ought to avoid clients’ involvement. Instead, social workers ought to iron out their differences themselves. A neutral negotiator can be involved if this does not work (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 62).
Integrity can also be insured by accurate presentation of social workers. For instance, social workers ought to give themselves a social workers’ identity all the time. They should also explain their abilities to clients. This ensures that their mandates are not extended. Additionally, they ought to avoid information’s misrepresentation which includes work schedule and expenses. For the social workers who engage in research, it is important to report their exact findings (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 62).
The Helping Process
There are five steps of a helping process. These are engagement, exploration, planning and evaluation, implementation and attainment of goal, and termination. Before the end of any helping process, these steps must be followed (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 37).
Exploration, assessment, engagement and planning entail several initial processes whose aim is to analyze the entire situation and then develop a plan. For instance, the step involves performing background checks in order to explore and find out the exact problem of the client. The problem should be understood properly and the best solution identified for the help of a social worker to be effective. This step also entails establishing rapport. This is important because it enables the client to reveal comprehensive, relevant information when they are comfortable around the social worker. Good rapport gives the client the necessary support which enables them to share more information (Hempworth et al., 2013, p. 37).
After pertinent information has been collected, the problem’s dimensions should be assessed by the worker so that factors that cause difficulties can be identified. After this, the essential resources for addressing the problem are identified. With client’s help, the worker establishes the process’ goal. This is followed by the development of a plan for achieving this goal. Lastly, referrals are made (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 37).
After conducting all preliminary investigations, the next step is implementation and attainment of the goal. At this step, the plans that were formulated earlier are translated into actions. The process starts by the division of the entire plan into strategies and general tasks. These are further subdivided to form specific assignments. For a helping process to be successful, a client must be assigned a role that entails accomplishing certain tasks (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 42). After the attainment of the goal, the process takes the final step which is termination. At this step, the social worker formulates strategies that assist the client in maintaining the change. The relationship is ended by the social worker afterwards (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 45).
Responding to clients authentically
All social workers who have succeeded in their career know how to respond and relate authentically with the client. Nevertheless, this is not to imply that social workers share their feelings indiscriminately in order to encourage client’s participation. The worker ought to comprehend that each action, interaction session and response should always promote therapeutic objectives (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 113).
To give a response that is authentic, a social worker ought to convey a custom message that describes events and identifies the specific feelings of the clients in a manner that is neutral while explaining the effect of the actions of the client on the affected persons. Composing such messages is challenging to most people. Among the guidelines that should be followed when composing the message include message personalization, feelings’ sharing at different depths, explaining certain impacts and describing behaviors or situations in descriptive terms that are neutral (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 115).
The amount of personal information to reveal to clients is a dilemma that most social workers face. Under natural situations, the clients like seeking the worker’s opinion about a certain behavior. Others would like to gauge if the social worker can really help them. Practicing human service requires the social worker to be ready to give a response all the time. Nevertheless, social workers are advised to be direct and brief. In case a social worker cannot answer a question, it is advisable that he/she give a convincing and honest reason (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 116).
The other strategies that enable social workers to respond authentically are sharing of relevant ideas, reactions and perceptions as well as allowing clients to participate in this sharing. Empathy should also be incorporated because this exposes the troubled feelings. Social workers should express their concerns and also clarify that things will work out well. The worker should remain calm while maintaining their focus on client’s problem. Additionally, workers should remain assertive on their expectations from a client (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 115).
Reassuring, excusing, consoling or sympathizing with a client is the initial barrier. By doing this, the social worker tries to provide immediate help even if they do not have a remedy. Due to these actions, information sharing is prevented and this hurts the entire helping process. Another mistake that social workers make is giving solutions or advising the clients prematurely. Essentially, the problem of the client cannot be met fully (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 169).
Third barrier entails humor and sarcasm. In trying to diffuse tension, some social workers use these two. Nevertheless, these distract the process and they can make a client feel like the worker is taking their problem lightly. Placing blame and judging is another barrier. To be successful, a social worker has to be partial throughout the process in order to develop a positive relationship. The firth barrier is attempting to convince the client that they have a poor practice for a right viewpoint. It is important to allow the client to comprehend issues of their case totally (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 169).
Making inflexible analyses and interpretations is the sixth barrier. A social worker ought to be considerate and reflective all the time. He/she ought to address every circumstance individually. Finally, warning, counterattacking and threatening hurts the entire process. No client will participate voluntarily when they feel like the worker is coercing them to do certain things that they do not want to do (Hepworth et al., 2013, p. 169).
For these barriers to be addressed, social workers should seek all information so that they can know the client’s problems in details. This way, the client provides relevant information. A social worker should promote safe interaction in order to facilitate information sharing. This involves guiding rather than dominating. The worker should try to ensure that only timely and purposeful interruptions are made. To induce the client to agree to any viewpoint, the worker should pose leading questions (Hepworth et al., 2013, 176).
Hepworth, D., Rooney, D., Rooney, R., & Strom-Gottfried, K. (2013). Direct social work practice: Theory and skills (9th ed.). Belmont: Cengage Learning.
Segal, E. A., Gerdes, K. E., & Steiner, S. (2010). An introduction to the profession of social work: Becoming a change agent. Belmont: Cengage Learning.