Impact Of Values

The Impact of Values-Clarification
on Ethics in the Helping Profession

America is faced with an overwhelming abundance of moral and social problems which seem to consume the fragilely woven fibers of our nation. What has happened to America? What can be done to rescue the innocents in society from those who seem to prey upon them? Can one person make a difference? Those in the human service profession have felt a calling, have been affected by the seeming hopeless perils of the weaker members of society and have stood to make a difference one step, one person one life at a time.
How can one person make a difference in a world so big and so full of problems? America is a society that is morally starving. Values clarification, which is taught in public schools today teaches "since there are no eternal truths which are valid for this generation and succeeding generations, everybody has to find his own values in his own time. There is nothing which is right and wrong for everyone, thus there are no absolutes" (Ed. DeMoss, 1986).
Ethical issues lead to ethical decisions. These decisions quite often place the social worker in an ethical dilemma. The concept of values-clarification is reinforced by Marianne and Gerald Corey, authors of "Becoming A Helper". In their book they say "Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist among social workers with respect to the ways in which values, ethical principles, and ethical standards should be rank ordered when they conflict" (1994). Deciding what is morally right or morally wrong has been placed in the hands of the individual. This lack of moral absolutes has produced a generation miserably lacking solid direction for life.
Society is filled with men, women, teenagers, and children of all races, cultures, and
ethnic backgrounds seeking or requiring counseling for a myriad of reasons. Many are victims of abuse, many are the abusers, but all are victims of society\'s demon of moral disintegration. Sexual and physical abuse on children are painful realities of these demons that exist in society. The practitioner assigned to the father who is the perpetrator in the abuse case is faced with an ethical dilemma when facing him in a helping relationship. Is it possible to be nonjudgmental toward this man?
"Recognizing that all human beings have strengths and weaknesses,
experience difficult problems, make improper choices, become angry and
frustrated, and often act inappropriately, the practitioner maintains a
neutral attitude toward the client\'s behavior"(Heffernan, Shuttlesworth,
Ambrosino, 1997).
A nonjudgmental attitude toward certain clients may seem an impossibility. Equally as difficult for the social worker is that of compromising personal value systems in order to maintain a helping relationship with a client. On one hand, a person who causes personal injury to a pregnant woman that results in the death of her unborn child is faced with criminal charges in that death. On the other hand, a social worker may be in a helping relationship with a woman or young girl seeking advice as she makes plans for and abortion. Personal values and moral beliefs on the part of the practitioner are not to be implicated (Heffernan, 1997). This scenario shows two babies and two entirely different societal views regarding the ethics concerning the unborn.
The lack of definite values has given rise to an actual case in New Jersey in which Australian philosopher Peter Singer was appointed to the bio-ethics chair at Princeton

University\'s Center for Human Values. In 1993 he wrote a book entitled "Practical Ethics" which will be assigned to students for a course on "Questions of Life and Death". Singer raises the question "Suppose that a newborn baby is diagnosed a hemophiliac. The parents, daunted by the prospect of bringing up a child in this condition are not anxious for him to live. Could euthanasia be defended here?
Singer goes on to answer this question himself. "If killing their defective child induces the parents to have another child who is born without hemophilia the loss of a happy life for the first infant is outweighed by the gain of a happier life for the second". Singer goes even further by saying "Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it