Recent Question/Assignment

2000 words
Assignment 2 Hints
What am I being asked to do?
Read and reflect on the following case and answer the questions that follow:
You work as a mental health/drug and alcohol social worker in a small community centre which offers a range of services to the local community. Other services include child and family counselling and sexual assault/domestic violence counselling.
You have been providing services to Paul Jones, a local farmer aged 63 years, for the last 3 months. Paul presented with acute suicidal ideation, which has now resolved. At the time of referral, he had recently commenced anti-depressant medication and was subsequently diagnosed with depression by a visiting psychiatrist. Triggers for his low mood were identified as the prolonged drought and the recent death of his elderly father with whom he reported having a close relationship. You believe you have developed a good therapeutic alliance and Paul has disclosed a problem with gambling and with your support and that of his GP has been able to dramatically reduce his gambling over the past 6 weeks. Paul would like to continue counselling but due to issues with recruitment and funding, your service can only offer a limited number of sessions. There are few options for ongoing psychological support in the local community. At the last two sessions you and Paul have discussed completing counselling in a few weeks.
Today you have been approached by Miranda Smith, the sexual assault/domestic violence counsellor who informs you that she commenced counselling with Louise Jones, Paul’s wife approximately 6 weeks ago. Louise is aged 59 years and was a victim of sexual assault when she was a child. The recent Royal Commission has triggered her memories of the assault and she sought counselling in relation to the abuse. She has not told anyone else about the abuse and has not told her husband she is seeking support. Louise is aware that he has sought help from the community centre for depression.
In the last session, Louise disclosed to her counsellor that she is a victim of ongoing domestic violence by her husband Paul. The violence is psychological, physical and very occasionally, sexual. She has never sought medical help for her injuries, although she has threatened Paul that she could do this. Louise has stated clearly that she will not leave her marriage, she has too much invested in the property, having used her family inheritance to build a house on Paul’s land. She states, “after all, I have put up with it for this long.” Due to the drought the couple of very limited savings and are struggling financially.
Miranda is very worried for Louise’s safety because Paul has access to weapons on the property and they continue to argue about Paul’s gambling. Louise reports that things have been a fair bit better since Paul started going to counselling. She is adamant that the violence is Paul’s problem, which he needs to address. Miranda pleads with you to continue providing a counselling service to Paul.
Paul and Louse live on a farm near a small rural community. The town has very few services and, in fact, these are confined to those offered by the community health centre. However, the various services have separate managers and are operated very much as stand-alone services, maintaining their own records and other data.
Services at the centre do share a common code of ethics in which confidentiality and the importance of duty of care are paramount.
Analyse this situation and include in your discussion the following:
• analyse the impact of the professional and organisational environment on this situation,
• identify which principles and sections from the AASW code of ethics are most relevant to the situation,
• discuss how you would approach this situation using your own values, the values of the organisation and the AASW code of ethics. How might the code of ethics be used to resolve the dilemma in this situation?
• discuss how your personal values relate to the professional values expressed in the code in relation to this situation. What differences exist between your own values and those of the code? Which did you act on?
• having reflected on the situation, would you have acted differently before undertaking studies in ethics? Do you think the situation would have had a different outcome? Justify your answer with reference to the AASW code of ethics.
Here are some ‘hints’ regarding this assignment:
In simple terms, you are being asked to decide what direction you will take with Paul now that you have ‘new’ information from Miranda. (What might you say to Paul?). You might also consider what you will say to Miranda. Your decisions will be based on ethical principles, the expectations of the organisation and on what the profession expects of you. You will also need to be aware of your own values and how these impact on the situation.
I’ve had a number of emails asking for clarification about the references to the “professional and organizational environment” and “organizational values” in the assignment question. Here are some ideas (but they are quite general as I can’t write the assignment for you).
This is about the idea that there may be differences in the way the ‘profession” (as reflected in the Code of Ethics), the ‘organization’ (the fictitious Community Centre program in this assignment) and the worker view a situation (such as the scenario you are dealing with here).
Here’s a very simple example that I have certainly faced (numerous times) in working in the field. A client with major ‘challenges’ is being seen by a worker in an agency that restricts contacts with ‘clients’ to six visits (Organizational context). The worker’s own values reflect his belief that he must do everything possible to help his client. His assessment is that six visits will not be enough. What does the Code of Ethics say about this (Professional context)? What does our understanding of ethical practice suggest? (Here we might also think about those four principles of service).
I hope this gives you some idea of the possible differences in professional, organizational and personal contexts.
We are told that at the Community Centre “confidentiality is considered an important part of the organization’s code of ethics. Equally important is the Duty of Care”. You are facing a difficult decision about confidentiality in this case, although confidentiality is not the only consideration here. What do your own values tell you? What does the professional Code suggest in such situations. Is the Centre so concerned about confidentiality that workers must maintain that “at all costs”? But, then, we are told that the Centre regards Duty of Care as equally important so perhaps there is not much help from the organization’s statements here.
These are the organizational, personal and professional contexts you must consider.
When considering what the Code has to say about this, you will certainly look for sections that help you decide what to do. Just focus on the sections of the Code that seem most relevant – it could be argued that the whole Code applies but there’s no point in just listing every section: let’s think about what takes priority.
Hint: think about the ‘solution’ to the scenario in the first assignment. What principles (i.e. the four principles of service) applied? Does the Code reflect those principles and give you a ‘solution’ to this dilemma? (You are not asked to discuss the principles here but thinking about them should help and you can certainly include them). There are obvious issues of confidentiality in this situation but there are equally considerations of autonomy and so on.
Second Hint: Don’t overlook these parts of the question:
• discuss how your personal values relate to the professional values expressed in the code in relation to this situation. What differences exist between your own values and those of the code? Which did you act on?
• having reflected on the situation, would you have acted differently before undertaking studies in ethics? Do you think the situation would have had a different outcome? Justify your answer with reference to the AASW Code of Ethics.
An important comment: please don’t “delegate your responsibility” in this scenario. Suggestions such as referring this decision to the manager or to a supervisor should not take the place of carefully analysing and explaining what you consider should happen here based on your consideration of the issues. Of course, you may indeed want or be obliged to talk to a supervisor but you need to have thought the situation through and come to a satisfactory decision before doing so. That way, you have something meaningful to discuss and you are not just ‘delegating your responsibility’.
Please Note: When I mark this assignment I am not looking for the ‘right answer’ about what you should do. I’m looking for evidence that you understand the ethical issues here and have considered them in the context of the organization, the profession and personal values. There are no right answers when we are confronted by these dilemmas – if there were, there probably wouldn’t be a dilemma. Instead of searching for the ‘right answer’ we need to come up with a course of action (a decision about how to act) based on a careful consideration of the ethical context, what the organisation and the profession may expect of us and we need to do so with awareness of our own values and the impact these may have on our decisions. In brief, we need to arrive at a positon based on careful consideration and which we can justify.
Finally, and this is important, concentrate on the ethical issues and dilemmas presented by this scenario (as required in the assignment questions). Do not be tempted to write an essay on the legal issues this case presents. There are legal issues here and there may be some legal requirements that the various people in this scenario must follow (depending on which state they live in) BUT, while you might mention those briefly, remember this is a subject and assignment about ethics and the importance of arriving at thoughtful decisions that we can justify to ourselves and to others if needed.
1. You need to provide a minimum of 6 academic references. You may use the subject materials as sources.
2. As you know, CSU is transitioning its referencing requirements from APA6 to APA7. This change will take full effect from session two, 2020. For session one in 2020 you may use either APA6 or APA7 in your assignments but please state at the beginning of your reference list which one you are using.
3. When citing a section of a Code of Ethics I suggest you just give the section number and a very brief pointer to what the section may say. So, for example, you will, I am sure, want to point to sections on ‘confidentiality’ and you might simply say “Sections X and Y of the Code stress the importance of confidentiality and discuss when it might be breached”. You don’t need to quote the whole section – you’ll run out of words.
I am happy for you to use headings and sub headings in this assignment if that helps you organise your thinking.
Other Details
• You can certainly use the first person (“I”) in this assignment.
• The reference list and in-text references are NOT included in the word count.
• Do not repeat the case scenario in your assignment. I already have it!