A dilemma is the position in which the selections of one of two opposite solutions are equally embarrassing.
The ethical dilemma is a situation of moral choice, when in the realization of a moral value is destroyed another, no less important. If we consider the question of the ethical dilemmas in professional activities, it is now believed that this problem can be removed by creating a professional code of ethics. In general, this kind of ethics often provides a useful impact on the resolution of ethical issues that arise in the course of professional activities , as in the situation of an ethical choice the employee has guidance on how to act in a given situation . However, do not be times when the tenets set forth in the professional ethics may conflict with some of the universal principles of ethics ( common to all people , regardless of professional affiliation ), and then the situation for a particular person can seem insurmountable . Also, the situation may be complicated by an internal moral conflict of personality, because each person has a set of ethical criteria that are valuable to him, but may be contrary to generally accepted standards as well as standards of professional ethics.
Ethical dilemmas we face every day, but, as a rule, we solve them for themselves on a " lesser evil ", and certainly not all of them turn into a conflict situation or remain internal conflict of the individual.
As a rule, when the situation grows to “conflict”, to distinguish it ethical component is very difficult. This is the most difficult task in the Ethical Practice.
Ethical Dilemmas and Contradictions in Social Work and Mechanisms for Resolving Them.
The Dilemma (in logic) is a judgment, which prescribes two conflicting sign, excluding the third. When we say «we have a dilemma", we mean the situation when a person is faced with a choice between two identical capabilities. In other words, the dilemma of said position at which the selection of one of the two opposing features (equivalent) are equally difficult.
Ethical dilemmas that arise in social work are different from those dilemmas that do not exist in professional activities. Ethical dilemmas are always connected with the problem of the values of social work. (For example, do not necessarily reflect the personal and professional values of the social worker). The nature of the ethical dilemma may depend on the social, cultural and political conditions of the country in which the social work.
For example, social workers, the U.S. gives the following common dilemma: the difference of religious views of the social worker and the bearer of social services. Mismatch occurs ethnocultural traditions, members of social action; difference of opinion of the social worker and other stakeholders about the legal system.
In social practice, there are the following ethical dilemmas.
Moral paradigms and value systems - the life, human dignity, humanity, kindness, and social justice - are the foundations on which the social work. In practice, social workers have to deal with a variety of ethical issues and dilemmas because of their obligations to clients, colleagues, own profession and society as a whole. Most of the difficulties for the social worker are due to the necessity of choosing between two or more conflicting responsibilities and commitments.
Laws, regulations, and welfare of the client. The legislation does not include all the diversity of social life, so sometimes the welfare of the client enters into conflict with it. In some cases, social workers argue that the laws and decisions should not be obeyed, otherwise, would be harmed by the client.
Personal and professional values. At the core of this group of ethical dilemmas is a conflict between personal and professional values of a social worker. He could disagree with the client for political, religious, moral or other reasons, but shall perform professional duties. The views of social workers on how to give preference to the values do not always coincide. The social worker must weigh the obligations to the client, the profession , third parties.
Paternalism and self-determination. Paternalistic actions include interference with clients' wishes or their freedom for their own good in order to limit the client's self-destructive actions. Paternalism considers it possible to bind a client to accept service against the will or by force, withhold information or provide misinformation. This case is a matter of controversy about the limits of acceptability paternalism. On the one hand, customers are entitled to some form of self-destructive and risky behavior, on the other hand, the social worker is responsible for protecting customers for them when they fail. The debate about this is often linked to the concept of self-determination, and with what customers are able to realize their situation and make the best decision. Very often paternalism - is the protection of the client himself. In order to apply this approach need a good reason. In general, social work has the greatest value as the value of self-determination and paternalism recognized measure of last resort.
The need to speak the truth and the interests of the client. One of the principles of the NASW Code of Ethics is the right of clients to reliable information on matters related to their condition and well-being. On the one hand, it is a legal right not to doubt. On the other hand - in some cases it may be ethically justified and even necessary, to conceal the truth from customers or provide misinformation. For example, in the case when it comes to clients or patients of children for whom truthful information could be considered harmful under certain circumstances.
Sensitive and personal messages. Social worker, following the Code of Ethics, must keep the information received from the client confidentially. While this is true almost always , in some cases, the social worker has to consider the possibility of disclosure, for example, when there is a risk that the client may harm a third party. Hence the need to inform the customer about the limits of confidentiality in a particular situation, the purposes of obtaining the information and its use. On the other hand, the social worker may refuse to disclose the information given by the client, for example , at the request of the court. In this case, there is a dilemma with respect to the confidentiality of client information and commitments to the organization - the employer.
The content and meaning of the ethical principle of confidentiality is broader understanding of the legal norm. From the point of view of the law the transfer of customer information related to the performance of official or professional duties (law enforcement officers, authorities guardianship, legal representatives of the client) is quite acceptable and is not a disclosure of secrets. At the same time, the ethics of taking control of the transfer of such information to any person, even if it enjoys the legal right to receive them. It should also be borne in mind that the implementation of this ethical standards complicated by the fact that in our country there is no law on confidentiality adopted in many other countries.
You can select multiple levels of secrecy:
- level of internal beliefs specialist who most often guided practice by understanding its relevance and acceptance;
- level of professional ethics, as defined by formal rules , obligatory for all members of the profession ;
- level of public facilities, which goes beyond the profession and represents the " unwritten law " that is shared can moral values ;
- level of institutionalized norms, when secrecy established by law .
The present level of development of social work for an ongoing global effort of the professional community to approve rules con confidentiality and other ethical principles in all selected levels. In practice, social work can identify a number of situations that threaten privacy and ethical require vigilance social workers:
1. Termination of contact with the customer
2 . Conversation during off-duty situation of the affairs of clients.
3 . Poor organization of social services (improper storage of documents, posting of the lists , the queues , talk about customers on the phone , circulation at the place of work or study and other aspects) .
4 . Visits and customer service at home.
5 . Entries in the documentation.
6. Responses to requests for “third parties" and / or third party «as binding and are not entitled to confidential information .
7. Communication with relatives and / or legal representatives of clients.
8. Teaching social work and research.
9. Conducting group forms of work with clients.
10 . Communication with the media.
The principle of equality and equal distribution of resources. In practice, there are two standards for the allocation of limited resources: an absolute standard (that is, when we give money for the rights to it) and the comparative standards (compare the needs of customers and give more money to needy).
Collegiality and "whistleblowing". In case if any of social workers violating the law or rules of the organization (service) the remaining workers are exposed to a difficult situation, and in this case, face each other friendship and professional responsibility.
These and other ethical problems of social work require developing ways to overcome them. Codes of ethics, in which social workers seek to find answers, written in general terms and with a relatively high degree of abstraction and contain principles that are contradictory and are themselves an ethical dilemma.
The Examples of Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work
Social workers have to meet with a variety of ethical dilemmas because of their commitment to customers, employees , colleagues, and his own profession and society as a whole. Most of the difficulties caused by the need for a social worker to choose between two or more conflicting responsibilities and commitments. For example, the NASW Code of Ethics states that «social workers should not engage in any activities that violate or diminish the civil and legal rights of customers." However, the Code also states that "the social worker must comply with their obligations to the employing organization." It is not difficult to imagine a situation where these two principles conflict with one another, if the policy establishment to whom the right leads to the violation of civil rights of clients.
Other ethical conflicts that often cause concern related to privacy , independence and message, you must tell the truth , paternalism and self-determination , the obligation to comply with the laws , policies and rules of institutions , denunciation , allocation of scarce resources, the relationship between personal and professional values .
Sensitive and personal messages. Social workers followed the position that the information given by the customer, must be kept confidential. While this is true almost always , in some cases, practitioners are forced to consider the possibility of disclosing sensitive information , for example, when there is a risk that the client may harm a third party. In fact, this possibility is taken into account NASW Code of Ethics, which states that social workers may disclose confidential information «insurmountable professional reasons.»
In some states, clients of social workers have the right to confidential communications lawyer or a doctor that gives rise to social workers to refuse to disclose the information given by the client, for example, at the request of the court.
The need to tell the truth. Another principle is generally accepted by the profession, is the right of clients to reliable information on matters related to their condition and well-being. However, some social workers said that in rare cases, you can even have to hide the truth from the client or provide misinformation. This is due to the fact that it is sometimes necessary to protect the client from harm. Many social workers believe that one should never refuse to provide truthful information or misinformation to customers, but others point to the cases concerning, for example , patients or clients of children for whom truthful information could be considered harmful , at least in certain circumstances.
Paternalism and self-determination. The desire to protect customers from losses due to the complex problem of paternalism in social work. Paternalistic actions include interference with clients' wishes or their freedom for their own good. Restricting self-destructive actions of clients or to require them to take service against their will , is withholding information from customers or the provision of misinformation - all are examples of paternalism when actions are taken to protect customers from themselves . And in this case , social workers often argue that under no circumstances let paternalism . Some believe that customers are entitled to some form of self-destructive behavior and risk taking , while others argue that social workers are responsible for protecting customers from themselves when they fail, making an attempt to take a "good " solution.
Laws, policies and regulations. In some cases, social workers argue that the laws, policies and regulations should not be obeyed, because the obvious result would be harmful. In some cases, such as social workers made the decision not to obey local laws requiring the government to put in prominence in reporting child abuse , because they believed that the child is more at risk if these cases reported to local human rights authorities. Although the vast majority of social workers do not consider such violations valid, some protect them, believing that any action to protect the well-being of the client are permissible, even if it violates other ethical principles , law or politics.
Whistleblowing . Social workers who violate the law or the rules of institutions impose a special burden on colleagues who know about these violations. Feelings of friendship, loyalty and professional threat own position and reputation prompted some practitioners fear identify violations in their profession. Social workers who have evidence of professional indiscretions or wrong practical actions of their colleagues need to carefully consider their obligations to their own profession and its clientele, colleagues , the agency and the risk of their own careers .
Allocation of scarce resources. A persistent problem in social work is the need to allocate resources that are inadequate social needs. Such resources include food supplies, housing and funds to carry out some programs, payment of rehabilitation programs or respite services. Social workers have different criteria for the allocation of limited resources. In some cases, they use the principle of equality, sharing the resources of equal size (for example, money or time employee) , or provide customers with equal opportunities to seek help or apply for individual resources (first in - first out) . In some cases, to provide customers with equal opportunities can be a lottery.
Another criterion of social workers based on need. The strategy of many programs is to provide services first to those who need them most. However, another strategy is to give priority to people who in the past have suffered from injustice or discrimination. This principle is the basis of affirmative action programs.
Personal and professional values . The cause of many ethical dilemmas is the conflict between personal and professional values of the employee. Practitioner in family services agency, which , for example , an opponent of abortion, may have difficulty discussing this problem with a young pregnant girl. Clinical social worker, who believes in the benefits of modern medicine, may face a right to self-determination, a patient who refuses life-saving blood transfusions for religious reasons. In these cases there is no simple answer, and the views of social workers about whether to give priority to personal or professional values do not always coincide. In each case, the employee must weigh the obligations to the client, employer, profession, third parties. In addition, social workers must constantly examine the nature of personal values and the ways in which these values have an impact on the understanding of the client's problems and social problems in the application of knowledge of social work and intervention strategies.
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