The Helping Professional's Guide to Ethics: Theory in Practice (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780197502853

Valerie Bryan; Scott Sanders; Laura E. Kaplan
192 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Sep 2021
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The Helping Professional's Guide to Ethics, Second Edition develops a comprehensive framework for ethics based on Bernard Gert's theory of common morality. Moving beyond codes of ethics, Bryan, Sanders, and Kaplan encourage students to develop a cohesive sense of ethical reasoning that both validates their moral intuition and challenges moral assumptions. Part I of the text introduces basic moral theory, provides an overview to moral development, and introduces the common morality framework. Part II focuses on common ethical issues faced by helping professionals such as: confidentiality, competency, paternalism, informed consent, and dual relationships. Each chapter provides an overview of each concept and their ethical relevance for practice. Throughout the text, students put their critical thinking skills into practice to promote deep learning. Real-life cases bridge the gap between theory and practice, and discussion questions reinforce the concepts introduced in each chapter.


1. The Basics of Moral Theory, Professional Codes of Ethics, and Professional Ideals
Contemporary Professional Principles and Ethical Principlism
Deontology, Utilitarianism, and Principlism
Codes of Ethics and Principlism
Practice Concerns and Ethics Education
The Disconnect Between Values and Ethical Decision-Making
Conclusion and Future Directions
2. Moral Development and Ethical Decision-Making in Social Work Practice
Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development
The Neo-Kohlbergian Approach
The Four-Component Model
3. Common Morality and Ethical Decision-Making
Bernard Gert
Common Morality
4. Confidentiality and the Duty to Warn and Protect
The Concept of Confidentiality in the Helping Professions
Codes of Ethics and Laws About Confidentiality
The Duties to Warn and Protect
Common Morality, Confidentiality, and the Duty to Warn/Protect
Analysis of Confidentiality and Private Health Information Through the Common Morality Framework
5. Competency
Competency and the Court System
Competency Defined
Competency as the Ability to Make a Rational Decision
6. Paternalism
Conceptualization of Paternalism
Common Morality and Paternalism
Analysis of Paternalism in an Involuntary Psychiatric Hospitalization Through the Common Morality Lens
7. Informed Consent: Important Moral Considerations
The Product of Informed Consent
The Moral Basis of Informed Consent
Valid Consent: A Professional Duty
Competence, Rationality, and Informed Consent
Coercive Environments and Informed Consent
Drug Treatment Courts
Analysis of Informed Consent to Enter Drug Treatment Court Through the Common Morality Lens
The Relationship Between Informed Consent and Paternalism
Ideal Consent
8. Dual Relationships
Definitions of Dual Relationships
Substance Abuse and Dual Relationships
Analysis of Dual Relationships Through the Common Morality Lens
9. Moral Disagreement and Common Morality
Assessing Bob's Competence
Analysis of Treatment Refusal Through the Common Morality Lens
Analysis of Floyd's Treatment Through the Common Morality Lens
10. Concluding Comments
Coming Full Circle
Application of the Common Morality Framework in Individual Cases
Values, Principles, Standards, Laws, and the Common Morality

About the author: 

Valerie Bryan (MSW, PhD, University of Kentucky) is associate professor and former program baccalaureate program director at the University of South Alabama. While teaching across the generalist social work curriculum, her scholarly areas of interest include applied ethics, juvenile justice, gender studies, child welfare, and health disparities. Scott Sanders (MSW, Grand Valley State University; PhD, University of Kentucky) is program director and professor of social work at Lourdes University. He advocates for a practical application of ethical decision-making to school social workers, substance abuse counselors, child and family service workers, and social work educators. Laura E. Kaplan, (PhD, MSW, LCSW, University of Kentucky) teaches with Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Services online MSW program. She provides professional CEU courses and consults in the United States and abroad. She also reviews federal grant applications and has published; professional articles, textbooks, instructor manuals, and curricula. Her extensive background in community activism and professional practice has laid the groundwork for her interest in ethics and human rights and social justice in social work practice and education.

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