The dual relationship scenario is that between a male and female social worker. The relationship begins when the social worker works to visit the client on a regular basis after a domestic disturbance was reported by the client. The closeness between the two increases which signals the beginning of a second nonprofessional relationship. The growing intimacy between the two is clearly interfering with the social workers ability to implement his duties objectively. On one hand, he has to be professional. However, the intimacy between him and the client is making that all the more difficult by the day. The moral dilemma begins showing itself when the social worker has to intervene in the relationship between the client and her previous partner. This relationship is detrimental to all those involved as the social worker is no longer objective. His primary goal is to secure the personal relationship that he now has with the client. The nature of the moral/ethical dilemma warrants the intervention of a second party that would implement a model that allows for the solving of the problem without too much ruckus.
Decision Making Model
The determination process is the first of the decision making model. This step is used to identify whether there is a dual relationship. The process of identifying the presence of a dual relationship will involve determining the presence of an ethical dilemma. The dilemma will help in identifying the effects of the relationship between the social worker and client. The determination process also helps in identifying whether any wrong doing has been involved in the relationship cited (Birkenmaier, Berg-Weger, & Dewees, 2014). The determination process should be thorough as it is the determining stage as to whether the other steps would be followed. The determination process will mainly involve identifying the moral/ethical dilemma in the relationship in question.
Once a moral dilemma has been identified, it would be prudent to determine whether there has been any involvement of certain principles in the dilemma. For instance, the identification process should be able to help one determine if principles such as confidentiality have been breached (Reamer, 2015). These are the principles that would make or break either one or both of the dual relationships between the client and the social worker. It would also be the reason behind the identification of the dual relationship in the first place. Therefore, it is important to be critical in the identification of such principles.
Once the principles and ethical issues have been identified, the next step would be to rank the different ethical dilemmas. The basis to be used would be the cumulative implication of the dilemma on all those involved in the situation. The ranking process should be objective. Therefore, the ranking process should be implemented by an individual who does not have any reason to lean towards one or the other in the relationship (Reamer, 2015). Objectivity and the ability to think outside the situation will allow one to understand the crucial nature of the relationship in question.
The next step would be to identify the solution to the dilemmas and develop a plan with which to implement the solution. The action plan should involve all the interested parties. Therefore, the solution should be agreeable to all those involved in the relationship. The process of reaching the solution to the dilemma in question should not take longer than is required of those involved. However, the process of deliberation should be exhausted in order to receive the most amicable solution (Birkenmaier, Berg-Weger, & Dewees, 2014).
The implementation step of this process would involve a third party that would liaise between the social worker and the client. This would be crucial in bridging the gap between the two and therefore ensure that the solution that has been reached is the most appropriate. The process of implementing the solution should also involve the possibility of alteration (Mikulincer & American Psychological Association, 2015). This is because some of the dynamics that resulted in the arrival of the solution on the first place may have changing. Being dynamic with regards to reaching the solution pointed out will be important in ensuring positive results.
The reflection process is similar to the evaluation of the results of implementing the agreed upon solution. Therefore, reflecting on this situation and the final results would be a measure in identifying whether the best solution has been achieved. It would also be a measure in identifying whether the solutions that were identified were long lasting or short term (Mikulincer & American Psychological Association, 2015). The reflection process should also help the individual helping with the dilemma to learn from any mistakes they may have made.
Spelling Out Each Step
The determination of a moral dilemma will involve interviewing the two parties as well as any other individuals involved in the relationship. The aim of the interview is to raise questions that will help to determine whether there were any ethical dilemmas on the part of either one of the two individuals in question. The determination process should take the optimum time, ensuring that it is not too fast and thus negatively affecting the conclusions.
Once the dilemma has clearly been determined, it is time to identify the ethical issues that would have been involved between the social worker and the client (Herlihy & Corey, 2015). For instance, since this situation is intimate in nature, it would be important to identify whether key principles in the relationship had been breached. To do this, the interview process should cover key principles such as confidentiality.
Once the principles have been identified, the next step is to rank the principles in question. For instance, confidentiality would come first in comparison to professionalism. This is to say that instances of confidentiality would bear more importance and thus be more critical in comparison to any other principle in the relationship between the two individuals. In this case, the social worker is found to have breached confidentiality by opening up about the core issues of the client to a close friend. While this is normal with an intimate relationship, this should not have been the case in the professional relationship between the two.
Developing the solution to the dilemma would involve discussing the implications of the situation t both parties on an individual basis (Herlihy & Corey, 2015). For instance, the social worker would have to be informed about the negative effects of the intimate relationship he has with the client. The social worker would have to be informed of the eventual circumstances as well as the issues that would influence the relationship in question. The client will also be informed of the effects. This will help in identifying the best solution that addresses the needs of both individuals.
The best solution that would be agreed upon would be to end the relationship between the social worker and the client. The ending of the intimate and professional relationship would ensure that the intimate relationship ends once and for all. This would also ensure that the social worker can be disciplined for their wrong doing without them having to lose their job.
Reflecting on this issue, it is clear to see that there was time lost. However, the two individuals will become better as a result of the lessons learnt. For instance, the social worker will think twice before getting into an intimate relationship with a client again. It will also be found that the client would be better helped if paired with a female social worker. The lessons learnt from this situation have made those involved better people.
Reamer, F. G. (2015). Risk management in social work: Preventing professional malpractice, liability, and disciplinary action.
Birkenmaier, J., Berg-Weger, M., & Dewees, M. (2014). The practice of generalist social work: Chapters 1-5.
Mikulincer, M., & American Psychological Association. (2015). APA handbook of personality and social psychology: Vol. 1. Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association.
Herlihy, B., & Corey, G. (2015). Boundary issues in counseling: Multiple roles and responsibilities.
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