Human Services Ethics Research Paper Samples

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Services, Client, Human, Human Services, Business, Ethics, Diagnosis, Medicine

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/12/08

In reaction to the direction of human problems and needs, human services profession was developed in 1962. Human services is characterized by an appreciation of each human being regardless of their background, status, race, religion, gender, age, sex, etc. it was formed to provide assistance to clients who exist within their environments or society. This profession is defined by a great sense of values and standards that are to be upheld each and every time (NOHS, 2015). Professionals in this field are required to promote, uphold and embrace the spirit of ethics and integrity in their duties, encourage the well-being of the society at large and also promote their own professional development and advancement. Some of the values that are upheld by human services professionals include; encouraging self-determination, respecting the welfare and dignity of everyone, objectivity, conducting duties with integrity, honesty, upholding cultural diversity, campaigning for social justice and above all, being genuine.
At all times, professionals are required to consider and apply these standards. Ethical and professional decision-making requires the application of these values to ascertain that decisions made are useful, reliable, feasible and not harmful in any given way. Furthermore, ethical decision-making is a way of ensuring that a careful and excellent choice is made. Notably, ethics and ethical codes are not legal rules or documents; in fact, they simply guide behavior and conduct of human services professional (NOHS, 2015). This paper thus, looks at the best way to identify a client’s problem(s), relates a human services professional’s counseling style to ethical practice, discusses the diagnosis part of the assessment of a client’s problem, identifies the advantages and disadvantages of diagnosis from an ethical point of view and establishes a client's right to self-determination and how the use evidence-based practice interferes with this right. To arrive at conclusions case analysis was used in relation to the topic of discussion.
For professionals in the human services field, identifying the client’s problem(s) is the key thing. Once the problem has been identified, a human service provider will then develop appropriate interventions to counter them. Ethical practice provides that professional should always uphold ethical standards and values when identifying a client’s problems. In essence, they should come up the best way to identify these problems. An informed consent approach is the best way of identifying a client’s problems. Clients need to provide informed consent before the human services provider goes ahead to determine the problems. Significantly, it is fundamental to ascertain the client that information about them will be treated with utmost confidentiality. While analyzing an examining a client for problems, the professional is expected to ask open-ended questions in the interviews. Open needed questions give room for explanations and clarifications on the root of a problem (NOHS, 2015). Furthermore, they provide more information about a problem. In essence, when identifying a client’s problem(s), emphasis should be given to the need to establish as much information as possible.
Great knowledge about a client’s problems is the key or foundation stone of developing appropriate interventions and measures to counter the problem. Considering ethics, it is important that the client provide the permission for one to establish information about the. While surveying methods would prove relevant and significant in establishing a client’s problem, some do not allow for an interactive platform where extensive information can be shared. The more information the client provides about existing information is the more appropriate intervention measure will be developed. Professionals in the human services field are guided by a code of ethics and values which should also be followed at all times. Identifying a client’s problem is the first step of assisting an individual. Thus, stress is given on the fact that this phase should be conducted effectively to produce reliable information that would help in establishing appropriate ways of handling the problem. As noted, when using an interview survey method, the human services provider is required to design and structure the questions such that they do not happen to harm or emotional torture a client. Additional, for best results, interview questions should be open-ended to open ways of obtaining more information about the problem. On the other hand, obtaining a great deal of information is crucial in developing the most suitable course of action.
Counseling by human services providers assumes an approach that conforms to the ethical approach. While counseling a client, a human services provider is expected to make a professional decision that uphold ethics and do not harm the client in any manner whatsoever. In doing this, there are a number of ethical aspects that human services providers should consider when counseling. First, the provider should be trustworthy. This is defined by the fidelity that honors the trust placed in the provider. It is fundamental to be trustworthy because it is the basis of understanding and correspondingly resolving a client’s problems. In this way, human services providers are restricted to disclose any information about the client. Confidentiality arises from fidelity or trustworthiness. Just like in ethical practice, counseling in the human services profession requires a respect for the client’s privacy and a corresponding guarantee of the confidentiality of the client.
Another aspect is autonomy. Human services providers, just like in ethical practice are required to respect the self-governing right of a client. Clients are expected to commit themselves to seeking counseling services voluntarily and on their discretion. They should not be compelled to do so. Participation, therefore, should be on a voluntary basis, allows the human services provider to engage in explicit contracting, seeks adequate consent and prepares passably for the process (NASW, 2008). On the other hand, manipulating clients, compelling them and forcing them to participate in the program are a violation of ethical practice. Additionally, human services providers should be committed to promoting and enhancing a client’s welfare. This aspect is referred to as the principle of beneficence in ethics. In essence, a provider counseling style is always meant and aimed at the best interests of the client. Basing the process on professional and ethical assessment, human services providers are not expected to input opinion or prejudice in the process. Similarly, the provider, while counseling, is not expected to cause any form of harm to the client. This aspect is referred to as the principle of non-maleficence. Specifically, service providers should commit to avoiding any form of financial, emotional, sexual, etc. harassment that leads to client exploitation. Human service providers should avoid malpractice due to incompetence or when unfit to provide such services.
While providing counseling services including any other form of service, human service providers are expected to offer impartial and fair treatment to all clients despite any individual differences. This also requires that service provision respects the client’s rights and dignity. Ethics requires that the legitimacy and legality of a process be defined by the need for ascertaining all requirements before a service is provided. In essence, ethical practice requires human services providers acknowledge individual differences and appreciate them when counseling clients. Furthermore, the accessibility of these services should be provided for the whole society and not to any special interest groups (NOHS, 2015). Lastly, ethical practice requires human service providers to respect themselves by fostering knowledge, advancement, and self-care. This aspect and ethical principle implies that human services providers, while counseling clients, should practice all the aspects that pertain to ethical decision-making and actions. In general, the counseling style of human service providers is proportional and directly relates to the principles of ethical practice.
Remarkably, after identification of a client’s problem(s) the human services provider is then tasked with the second phase that involves an assessment of the client’s needs. As part of this assessment, diagnosis is considered a central facet of the client’s needs evaluation. Diagnosis is primarily used to establish the cause of a problem, strategies for mitigating the problem and solutions to the problem. It is also aimed at identifying the nature of a problem. Notably, human service providers conduct diagnosis as part of the assessment of a client’s needs to determine the nature of the needs, how to mitigate them and any possible solutions to the problem. Diagnosis is considered fundamental for it determines the kind of situation that the human services provider has to face (NASW, 2008). This prepares them adequately in developing the right and most appropriate strategies of countering the problem and hence helping the client. During diagnosis, however, human service providers are expected to uphold ethical practices. They need to ensure that their actions do not result in any form of harm to the client.
Diagnosis, notably, also includes the final decision made by the assessment. This decision normally regards the cause of the problem, the nature of the problem, the extent of the problem, mitigation strategies and any possible alternatives or solutions that can be used to counter the challenge. Providers use diagnosis as a means of understanding the problem before deciding anything. Remarkably, effective professional and ethical decisions are made after a special consideration of all the aspects that relate to a client’s needs. Decision-making is prevalent in the provision of human services (NASW, 2008). Thus, it is only through diagnosis that human service providers can be able to develop a coherent and comprehensive understanding of a situation. Nevertheless, the diagnosis part of the assessment of a client needs has got its own strengths and weakness. These do not, however, compromise the need for diagnosis in the process of evaluating a client’s needs.
Diagnosis is advantageous in a number of ways. First, it is a means through which clients feel understood and not necessarily ‘crazy’. This creates a sense of assistance from a professional which in turn reduces a client’s anxiety and makes them connected. Though diagnosis, empirically-supported solutions can be identified and hence, utilized in alleviating the effects of a problem. There are proven solutions with an exemplary track record that can be considered when coming up with appropriate solutions to a problem. When criteria for diagnosis are met, a client is automatically proven to require extra service from the human service department or organization. Thus, it establishes the extent to which a client should be attended to. Information retrieved from the diagnosis part of the assessment is crucial in directing the course of actions. Lastly, psychological testing and assessment can be used in establishing appropriate treatment for erratic behavior. Diagnosis clarifies the cause of an emotional or psychological problem and thus, makes way for developing appropriate treatment to alleviate bad behavior (Hoesktra, 2014).
Conversely, there are a number of weaknesses associated with a diagnosis. First and foremost, there are stigmas that are linked to having behavioral or psychological problems. Through diagnosis, individuals are able to know whether their problems are psychic or disease related. This might be confused with aggressiveness and violent behavior. Secondly, diagnosis is generally, invalid. This is because; some processes may be the same at times and yield different results through diagnosis. Scientific studies and research have proven that diagnosis is not necessarily accurate. Another significant weakness is the fact that the diagnosis is time insensitive. Usually, it consumes a lot of time and sometimes ends up with no useful results. Lastly, labels used in the diagnosis do not inevitably explain the cause of a problem. Ethically, human services providers are required to refer a patient to clinical treatment if their diagnosis fails; this also questions the viability of diagnosis in human service provision (Hoekstra, 2014).
Human service providers are expected to uphold the client’s right to self-determination. This right refers to the need of the clients to govern themselves and any decision they make. Human service providers are to assist the clients in their struggle to identify, develop and accomplish their lives’ objectives. Clients are required ethically, to determine the course of action and what they want it to be like (NASW, 2008). They make the decisions voluntarily and should not be compelled in whatsoever way to make a certain decision. A client’s participation should be solely voluntary and not subject to a human services provider judgment or opinion. Hence, decisions made by clients should be free from manipulation and any form of exploitation by the human services providers. However, in some special cases, this right might be violated. For instance, evidence-based practice interferes and violates this right.
Evidence-based practice refers to a situation where a client’s actions or potential actions are bound to pose or cause a serious, imminent and likely risk/harm to them or others. In essence, if a client’s actions or potential actions signify a turn of events that could result in potential injury either on themselves or others, then the human services provider will be expected to override the right to self-determination and act accordingly to prevent the risk of harm from taking place. Such actions include making relevant and significant decisions about and for the sake of the client. Though such decision may require a client’s voluntary participation, at such an instance, the right to self-determination does not hold. However, in normal circumstance, human service providers are expected to uphold a client’s right to self-determination at all times.


Hoekstra, R., (2014). Individual and Group Therapy: The Pros and Cons of Diagnosis. Retrieved from <> Accessed on 5th March, 2015
NASW, (2008). Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. 1996 NASW Delegate Assembly, Revised by the 2008 NSW Delegate Assembly. Retrieved from <> Accessed on 5th March, 2015.
NOHS, (2015). Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals. National Organization for Human Services Adopted in 2015. Retrieved from <> Accessed on 5th March, 2015.

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