Print Friendly, PDF & Email

VI Ethics

01. Ethical considerations: A basic premise of human services that it is helpful in ethical consideration is to consider all human services to be experiments with human subjects. In fact, a strong argument could be made through examination of how such services are organized and implemented, that this is exactly what occurs. From that premise, the basic ethical principals of the Belmont Report become an appropriate place to start.

Respect for Persons: This principle incorporates at least two ethical convictions:

  1. That individuals should be treated as autonomous agents, and
  2. That persons with diminished autonomy are entitled to protection.
    1. The principle of respect for persons thus divides into two separate moral requirements:
      1. The requirement to acknowledge autonomy and
      2. The requirement to protect.

b. Beneficence: Persons are treated in an ethical manner not only by respecting their decisions and protecting them from harm, but also by making efforts to secure their well-being.

  1. In this context, beneficence is understood as an obligation.
  2. Two general rules apply:
    1. Do no harm and
    2. Maximize possible benefits and minimize possible harms. The question of harm through lack of self-determination, failure of inclusion or focus on disability rather than competence, is an issue of concern to the educational process.

c. Justice: An injustice occurs when some benefit to which a person is entitled is denied without good reason or when some burden is imposed unduly.

  • The concept of justice regarding “free and appropriate education” are vital components of federal law regarding education and the question of justice arises whenever a child is separated from a mainstream environment.
  • The concept of justice in least restrictive environments is applicable to all human services, which equally have abrogated the personal rights of individuals through failure to consider the outcomes of present day usage.
  • This failure will be reviewed more thoroughly in the section of organizational duties.

02 Role & Function

a. Staff Keys:

  1. They are enablers: They authorize and empower others to act.
  2. They do not judge: They are effectively amoral in their perceptions of the acts of others whom they serve; listening without judgement and accepting without condemnation at least until they have “walked a mile in the other’s shoes”.
  3. They have no points to defend: defense mechanisms are normal and inherent; they are not professional. They justify our self-importance over others.
  4. They see their status as a responsibility, rather than as a rank and privilege: it is a duty that demands that they give of themselves to exhaustion without expectation of receipt.
  5. They believe in the inherent desire of everyone to reach success, happiness. Power and status and recognize the need to offer new opportunities for achievement.
  6. Their beliefs and actions are at least compatible; if not congruent. They need not be clever, only consistent.
  7. They are fiduciaries: they act only on the behalf of others, never for the self-interest of themselves.

b. Environmental Keys

  1. Human behavior is unpredictable: Each individual chooses his or her attitude and action in the given moment and context. There is no action/reaction in the generally accepted sense of the concept. Yet, paradoxically, others influence all human behavior. These two mutually exclusive concepts present us with the environment within which we must function.
  2. To work with people with problems in living is to actively participate. While most theorist of human behavior would prefer intellectual pursuits and words, the severely and persistently disabled prefer pragmatic pursuits and action. To intervene is to act, not talk. The immediate influence of behavior is always more effective than words.
  3. Put off continued pursuit of knowledge and corral curiosity. We cannot delve into history, but rather deal with the here and now as a point of departure into the future. Looking back has significance only to the curious.
  4. Overcome the desire to comfort. Psychological fitness is based upon a degree of tension. The unsettledness demands that we reach and grow.

c. Service Keys

  1. Change lies with the client, not the practitioner.
  2. Unconditional positive regard is attributed to the client.
  3. There is a pervading climate of positive expectation.
  4. The arrow of time points toward the future.
  5. Deal with interactions, not insights.
  6. Activity oriented, not talk oriented.
  7. Help each individual establish an altruistic responsibility.

03. Duties & Responsibilities

a. Legal Duties

  1. Duty to act for the good of others
  2. Duty to act on the acts of others
  3. Duty to not intrude or infringe
  4. Ordinary Man Standards
  5. Obedience & Fidelity

b. Organizational Duties & Responsibilities

  1. Intentionality & purpose
  2. Interactive Iatrogenic Effects
  3. Learning from mistakes
  4. Legal Obligations & Duties
    1. Breach of organizational duty
    2. Duties of individual employees
    3. Breach of individual duty
    4. Worse position or state
    5. Restitution
    6. Duty to not reject or abandon
    7. Conflict of Duty
    8. Duty to least restrictive alternative

c. Administrative requirements of provider organizations

d. Administrative requirements of Local Administrative Offices

  1. Standard Of Care
  2. Outcome Orientation
  3. Crisis Management

e. Ethical Decision Making

f. Working Suppositions

  1. Personalism
  2. Pragmatism
  3. Relativism
  4. Positivism