Respond to at colleagues with recommendations of what skills social workers might employ to separate and/or reconcile personal values with professional responsibilities in the scenario presented. Discuss how the barriers to services identified by your colleagues can be overcome by a professional social worker working with LGBTQ clients.

Response to Rashel

Personal ethics and values are things an individual believes about morality or about what is right and what is wrong. Things are things that characterize and individual and define who he or she is. An individual may develop personal ethics from birth and they are reflected in his actions through his life. Professional ethics on the other hand are introduced to an individual at his or her place of work. The individual is supposed to adhere strictly to the work place ethics, without reservations. Professional ethics help bring about a sense of discipline and protocol that everyone has to follow. This does not mean anyone’s beliefs are wrong, it simply means, as social workers, you need to be aware of your values and keep them aside in order to serve your clients without any form of prejudice. The NASW Code of Ethics(2007) states that the primary mission of the social worker is to enhance human well-being and meet the basic human needs of all people. Social workers need to keep their personal beliefs aside when providing services to any client. They are supposed to serve their clients in an ethical manner, treat them with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation. Take a scene where a social worker, lets call her Ms Q, has this strong belief that a marriage should only be between a man and a woman and sees anything else as sinful or evil. A client, lets call him John, comes in to see her complaining that he has been treated with discrimination and hate at his place of work because he is a homosexual. John was nominated to become a manager at the Home Health Agency where he works, but his candidacy was dropped at the last hour when the director heard he was gay. Now everyone at work knows about his sexual orientation and the gossip is making him feel very uncomfortable. Ms Q listens in bewilderment, torn between her personal beliefs about homosexuality and helping John get the services he needs. Finally, she asks John to go see someone else because her religion she does not allow her to handle such cases.

The above social worker obviously will put the client in more confusion and feelings of depression and disappointment. The client has come to the one place he feels he will be accepted and helped, yet the first person he meets is not different from his colleagues at work. First of all, i believe if you have decide to become a social worker, you do not have a choice but to respect and follow the professional ethics of the job, otherwise, you need to choose another job that does not deal with humanity. Whatever we do as social workers, our first responsibility is ti serve our client’s best interest. Serving John, a homosexual, does not make you a homosexual nor does it change your beliefs about homosexuality. We need to keep our beliefs aside, look at a client as a unique individual in need of help, and provide him with the best help available without regards to his sexuality.

Social workers have an obligation to counter discrimination, inequality and injustice. If a social. worker holds negative beliefs about homosexuals, she may treat the homosexual client with bias, sometimes without even realizing she is being biased. Prejudice and bias my create barriers to fulfilling our professional responsibility to the LGBTQ community when we let our personal values and ethics come between us and our pledge to serve humanity. When we let our beliefs take the best of us, we will not be able to objectively serve the people who have a different way of life than us. Homosexuals are humans just like anyone else but they encounter discrimination and oppression every day just because they have a different sexual orientation. It is the duty of the social worker to make a difference in the lives of this population by advocating for them. Our personal beliefs should never count when serving clients in the LGBTQ community because we will be doing them a disservice and turning them away from the very people who are supposed to protect them.

References:

Adams, M. Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., & Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2013). Readings for diversity and social justice. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

National Association of Social Workers’ National Committee on Lesbians, Gay, Bisexuals, and Transgender Issues. (2015). Sexual Orientation change efforts (SOCE) and conversion therapy with lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender persons [Position Statement]. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/diversity/new/documen… PR 18315 SOCE 2015.pdf

 
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