Ethics and Values
Review Hierarchy of Ethical Principles (Loewenberg & Dolgoff, 1996) and the entire NASW Code of
Ethics including the Ethical Principles and the Ethical Standards. The Hierarchy of Ethical Principles
and the NASW Code of Ethics are available in Blackboard in the respective session for the
assignment along with supplementary materials. After reviewing those documents, choose 2
situations from the following list. Answer the 3 questions below for each situation. Answers should
be detailed—your answers are the only way to show the professor what you know. Support your
answers by citing the Hierarchy of Ethical Principles and the NASW Code of Ethics including the
Ethical Principles and Ethical Standards.
1. What principles and standards of the Code of Ethics relate to this situation?
2. What ethical principles from the Hierarchy of Ethical Principles apply to the case study you
selected and why?
3. As a social worker, how would you handle this situation using the guidance from the Code of
Ethics and the Hierarchy of Ethical Principles?
Pick 2 of these Situations
1. Cheryl’s Brain Injury (p. 74 of your textbook): Cheryl’s family has met with you about Cheryl.
You told them you could not discuss details of her case due to confidentiality. They said they
understood but wanted to talk with you anyway. They noted that, given Cheryl’s new
confrontational demeanor and the circumstances, they would like for you to tell Cheryl that she
will not return to active duty and that Sean is marrying someone else. They are afraid she might
hurt Sean or his future fiancé.
2. Melissa’s HIV Diagnosis (p. 75 of your textbook): Melissa has told you that she does not want
to tell her fiancé. She wants to break up with him; She thinks that since they have not had
unprotected sex, he does not need to know. She believes he has no future with her given her
diagnosis and she thinks he will break up with her anyway if he finds out. She says she’d rather
walk away than deal with him leaving her for the diagnosis.
3. Max’s Post-Polio Syndrome (p. 76 of your textbook): Max has continued to struggle and is
now alluding to suicide. In session, he told you he has had enough and does not want to go on.
He has noted that he thinks his family would be better off with him dead since his life insurance
would pay the bills. He has already looked over his plan and, since he’s had it for more than 2
years, his family would still receive the money even if he suicides.
4. Intergenerational Stresses in the McKinley Family (p. 35 of your textbook): You looked into
the community program and believe it would help the McKinleys. You tell them of the program in
the next session. They are excited but think they have a better shot if you call for them. They beg
you repeatedly to make the call.
5. Trudy’s Search for the Sacred (p. 167 of your textbook): Trudy is now seeing you to aid in her
search. Though she finds peace in her spiritual practices, she still is sometimes plagued by her
previous hardships. She feels talking with someone about those hardships will help her let them
go. In your discussions, she talks about the positive impact her spiritual practices have on her.
One day, in session, you mention in passing that you are too busy and too stressed. She turns
the attention to you and invites you to her Sangha and her yoga classes.
6. Leon’s Two Worlds (p. 167 in your textbook): Leon is seeing you for help. He has chosen you
because you work at the counseling center affiliated with his church. He asks you to explain why
the church teaches as it does about homosexuality. He wants to understand better the theological
underpinnings of the teachings as he feels it will help him with his struggles.
Tips on Content
Review the relevant documents such as the Hierarchy of Ethical Principles (Loewenberg & Dolgoff,
1996), the powerpoint on the Hierarchy, and the entire NASW Code of Ethics including the Ethical
Principles and the Ethical Standards. Recall that the Ethical Principles are linked to the core values given at the beginning of the Code of Ethics. The Ethical Standards are numbered, e.g., 2.06, and
are given after the Ethical Principles.
Outline your answers and then base your written answers off your outline. Outlining may help you
organize your thoughts and provide more complete answers.
Remember to include which situation you chose (identified by title, e.g. “Cheryl’s Brain Injury”), what
you, as a social worker, would do, and why you, as a social worker, would do that. Your answers
must be based on relevant documents such as the Hierarchy of Ethical Principles (Loewenberg &
Dolgoff, 1996) and the entire NASW Code of Ethics.
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