In the field of Human Services a worker is faced with ethical dilemmas on a everyday basis. In some cases,a client may want to make choices that may not be in their best interest. As Harry and Mahoney (1999) stated ” the paramount goal of human service workers is to enable people to live more satisfying,more autonomous,and more productive lives, through utilizing society’s knowledge,resources,and technological innovations”. However, this is not always an easy task.
The NOHS preamble states “Characterized particularly by an appreciation of human beings in all of their diversity, human services offers assistance to its clients within the context of their community and environment. Human service professionals and educators uphold the integrity and ethics of the profession, partake in constructive criticism of the profession, promote client and community well-being, and enhance their own professional growth. (“Ethical standards for,” 1996)
However, as we look closely at this preamble we can see that it may cause it’s own ethical dilemmas especially in the field of addiction. What choices does a addictive professional make when the community and environment that the client lives in is filled with drugs,violence, and crime. It is not unlikely, for an addict to seek help,having no support because family has lost all trust, being poor, vulnerable,and depressed.
They may not see anyway out of an abusive relationship and may have even contemplated suicide. They may be a single parent or both partners are using with the child in the home. It is in these circumstances that they do not have the self determination to make the right decisions. While the client has the right to self determination, the counselor has a decision to make like suggesting hospitalization or if there is children living in the situation contacting D. S. S, which violates the clients confidentiality.
According to W. D. Ross we are faced with conflicting Prima Facie duties, because of the harm one is doing to themselves or others, we now have a legal duty to report it and violate our clients confidentiality, privacy and intervene for their own safety or the child’s. Therefore Locus-Aggregative Utilitarianism theory,under Teleology could be the only solution for me, because I agree with the philosophy of “maximizing the greater good amongst greater amount of people”.
By using this ethical framework I have now protected the client or the child by removing them from a harmful situation, protected myself and I have protected my agency from legalities. In fact, it is this theory in which I try to live by in my everyday life. I have been married for over 16 years and have 3 children. I always teach my children that their actions they take affects not only them but the community as well. The community may be in the house or in society. To always look for the greater good in everything they do.
I have been known to take people into my home because it benefited them. Of course, things didn’t always work out right but it still didn’t stop me from doing the greater good,So I am definitely, Locus-Aggregative in which maximize the greater good amongst greater amount of people and I don’t see me changing these values as I enter into the field of addiction. I would also state that I would follow by Act Utilitarianism because I believe it is important to violate my clients confidentiality in order to protect them,their child, the agency, and myself.
While I may lose their trust, if they receive the help they need then then I have done the greater good. Therefore, the preamble to follow the teleology would be as follows “ Human Services is to provide the most good with the least harm to the client and all those who have been affected by their disease, offer assistance to its clients within the context of their community and environment (NOSH) when there is the least harm” “Addiction professionals,licensed/certified treatment providers,recognize that the ability to do well is based on an underlying concern for the well-being of others.
This concern emerges from recognition that we are all stakeholders in each others lives – the well-being of each is intimately bound to the well-being of all; when the happiness of some is purchased by the unhappiness of others, the stage is set for the misery of all. Addiction professionals must act in such a way that they would have no embarrassment if their behavior became a matter of public knowledge and would have no difficulty defending their actions before any competent authority.
Courtney from Study Moose
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