I believe in the dignity and worth of people. I believe this is the most important aspect of the NASW Code of Ethics. If we do not treat our clients with dignity and respect, how will they ever gain trust in us? As social workers we must value a client’s dignity and sense of pride. If no sense of pride or self worth is the underlying problem, we will not be able to work on their other issues until a sense of worth has been established. Clients need to know that you think they are worth helping and that you want to see them succeed. We can show them this by pointing out the positives in their lives and setting small attainable goals to reach their ultimate goals.
It is important for us to remember that many people are embarrassed or ashamed to receive help. Asking for help from a social work professional takes a lot of guts and an understanding that they need a change. It is crucial to understand that every person and every situation is different. Because every situation if different, we need to be respectful and understand that the person in front of you is no different from your self; they have just fallen on some harder times than you have. Our potential clients have already been judged by their families and peers, if we criticize them as well, we are only pushing them farther away from the help they truly need.
Understanding the worth of a person is vital for social workers, who may at times want to be judgmental rather than compassionate. Some might think “Well of course you are homeless, quit being lazy and get a job.” Or others might have the attitude, “You would not have gotten pregnant if you had acted more responsibly.” But by understanding the value and worth of a person we can see that EVERYONE has the right to be treated with respect. This ethics class has really opened my eyes to the real world and how we need to appreciate any person that crosses our path. I believe that even if we do not agree with some of the decisions our clients have made, they are still members of our community and sometimes we all need a little help.
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