A Career as a Social Worker Essay - Essay Prowess

A Career as a Social Worker Essay


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A Career as a Social Worker Essay


            Values can be described as the traditions, beliefs and principles which define the behaviors and practices of an individual or society. Codes of ethics on the other hand are the guidelines or rules set by the society to promote values. They govern the conduct and practices of the members of the society towards doing what is right (Berg-Weger, 2010). Based on this definition, it can be appreciated that the diverse global society is marked with differences in individual values and ethics. Consequently, social work professional are bound to encounter both ethical dilemmas and value conflicts in practicing their profession. To solve such inevitable dilemmas and conflicts, it is crucial for social workers to have adequate understanding of their own values and those of their clients as well as the codes of ethics governing their profession. This paper is written to discuss the values and codes of ethics of social workers.

Social work values


The main goal of social work professionals is to help in providing solutions to social problems and the needs of the members of the society by utilizing their knowledge, skills and individual values (Berg-Weger, 2010). They always put the interests of the people first and provide services which are beyond their interests. Given the nature of the work and the diversity of society’s social problems, social workers are encouraged to, and should always be willing, to practice their profession with or without financial benefits (Berg-Weger, 2010). The historic and fundamental feature of social work is therefore to promote the well being of humanity through helping the needy and empowering them to achieve their goals as well as addressing the internal and external forces which led to the problem.

Social justice

Social work professionals strive to enhance social change and to eliminate social injustice with and on behalf of the needy (Berg-Weger, 2010).  They recognize ethnic and cultural diversity of the society and strive to challenge social injustices such as discrimination, gender violence and oppression. Their effort in promoting social well being focuses on issues of poverty and unemployment among others. They participate in decision making, political and social actions, advocacy, community organizations, direct practices and administration in order create awareness on and sensitivity to social injustices (Berg-Weger, 2010). They promote knowledge on social change and social justice to the people by ensuring availability and accessibility of the needed information, resources and services.

Dignity and worthy of the person

Social workers value the dignity and worthy of the person by appreciating the client’s potential and the existence of individual, ethnic and cultural differences (Berg-Weger, 2010).  They respect the clients’ decisions and allow them to set their own goals. They respect and promote the clients’ self determination by creating the opportunity and enhancing their capacity to solve their own problems (Berg-Weger, 2010). Social workers establish and maintain good relationships with the clients to enhance openness and trust while respecting the boundary ethical principle.   

Importance of human relationships

Social workers recognize that human relationships are important and inevitable.  They acknowledge that good relationship among and between the members of the society is the driving force for change (Berg-Weger, 2010). As a result, they strive to establish and strengthen relationships among the people in order to restore, promote and maintain unity, peace and harmony among the individuals, families and communities. Additionally, they engage individuals, families, organizations and communities in the decision making process and in solving the prevailing problems. A historic and fundamental feature of social workers is to avoid conflict of interests which can harm the client or affect the existing human relationships negatively even if it will call for the termination of the professional relationship with the client (Berg-Weger, 2010).


Integrity is a major concern of social workers. They promote ethical practices in executing the responsibilities given and they uphold the ethical standards and principles of the profession (Berg-Weger, 2010). They are bound to be honest, trustworthy and responsible. Confidentially of the client’s private details or information is paramount and the client’s consent is always obtained before the information is disclosed to any other person (Berg-Weger, 2010). Social workers are honesty both in obtaining confidential information on the prevailing social problem and in executing the real task of solving the problem.


            Social workers practice their career only in their areas of expertise. They strive to advance their knowledge and skills and to practice through providing help to the diverse society’s social problems (Berg-Weger, 2010). They present themselves competently and employ interventions and techniques which they are competent in and which could not arm the client. If ethical standards to not exist in the area of practice, social workers make consultation with the competent people to ensure that the best results are achieved for the common goal of the people (Berg-Weger, 2010). They strive to understand the clients’ culture and its impact on their behavior in order to exercises careful and responsible judgment on the clients’ sensitive matters. 

Codes of ethics

Commitment to clients

The primary goal of social workers is to ensure the well being of the client and the clients interests should always be considered first. In cases where the interest of another party such as a legal institution or the larger society supersedes that of the client, the social worker should advice the client accordingly (Berg-Weger, 2010).

Self determination

The clients’ right to self determination should always be respected. Social workers should enhance the clients’ capacity and opportunity to identify their problems and to set their own goals. Their decisions should be respected and they should be involved in every stage of decision making. However, in cases where the clients’ action poses potential causes of harm to the clients or others or conflict of interest, the right to self determination can be limited safer levels (Berg-Weger, 2010).

Privacy and confidentiality

Social workers should always respect the privacy of the client. They should not seek client’s intimate information unless it is necessary for providing adequate services. Once the client’s private information is obtained, it should only be disclosed when it is necessary and after obtaining the client’s consent. However, the information can be disclosed without the client’s consent if failure to do that will lead to harm of the client or any other specific person or when it is demanded by laws and regulations (Berg-Weger, 2010).

Conflict of interest

Social workers should be sensitive to note and avoid conflict of interest that can affect their sound decision-making process, execution of ethical professional practices or protection of the client from harm. They should notify the client when a potential or real conflict of interest arises and take responsible measures that keeps the client’s interests primary. This may involve referring the clients to other professionals and terminating your professional relationship with them (Berg-Weger, 2010).


Social workers should practice their profession only in their areas of competency acquired through education, consultation, experience, license, training or certification. New approaches or intervention techniques should only be employed when the competency of the social worker is sufficiently acquired through consultation with competent professionals (Berg-Weger, 2010).

Sexual relationship

Social workers should not engage in either forced or consensual sexual activities with not only their current or former clients but also other people who have close relationships with the client. Such sexual activities create the risk of exploitation and harm to the client making it difficult for the social worker to establish professional boundaries. In absence of professional boundaries, the concept of ethical professional practices is lost and the intended goal to the society is can not be accomplished (Berg-Weger, 2010).

Cultural competence and social diversity

Adequate understanding of the clients’ culture and how it influences the clients’ behavior is essential. They should put into account the strengths and weakness of the clients’ culture and provide services which are sensitive to the clients culture (Berg-Weger, 2010).


Informed consent

Social workers should always obtain the client’s consent before engaging in any professional relationship. They should provide adequate information to the client on the purpose, risks, limits, requirements and costs of the services. This will enable the clients to make informed decision on whether to accept or reject the services. The social work should also define the time period within which the clients’ consent is valid and the client should be given the opportunity to withdraw their consent after every stage of the service delivery process. Additional consent should be sought in cases where the client is under the stipulated legal age (Berg-Weger, 2010).

Termination of services

Social workers should stop providing professional services to the client only when such services are not beneficial to the client. In cases where it is necessary to terminate the professional relationship prematurely, it is important to inform the clients and refer them accordingly. Such cases can occur when the continuation of the relationship can amount to a conflict of interest or harm the client. They should not terminate services to engage in any other relationship which is outside their professional boundaries with their clients (Berg-Weger, 2010).

Payment of services

Social workers should ensure that the amount of fee agreed is fair, affordable and consistent with the service delivered. Payment in form of goods or services should not be accepted because they create opportunities for exploitation, conflict of interests and harming the clients as well as making it difficult for them to establish and maintain professional boundaries (Berg-Weger, 2010).


Importance of values and codes of ethics to social workers

The values form the foundation for the unique perspective and purpose of social work professional. They provide the ideals which I should inspire when I become a social worker (Berg-Weger, 2010). The codes of ethics provide standards which can be used to shape conduct and decision making process of social workers.  Owing to the complexity and scope of social work, value conflicts and ethical dilemmas are bound to occur. The codes of ethics provide guidelines which I will utilize to make sound decisions when such conflicts and dilemmas are encountered.

However, understanding social workers values and practicing the codes of ethics is a process which can be difficult to measure (Berg-Weger, 2010).  As a result, I will have to ensure logical, sound and responsible judgments in addition to observing the codes of ethics and the values.





Berg-Weger, M. (2010). Social Work and Social Welfare. New York: Routledge.

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