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Helping Professionals - Neutrality

1. Discuss the role of neutrality as it applies to your role as a helping professional.
2. Explain how neutrality is dependent upon your particular model of practice (eg. solution-focused, behavioral, etc.)
3. Explain the problems inherent with dual role relationships.
4. Discuss the NYC Dept. of Education's code of ethics in regards to neutrality. Please cite from references researched. If possible, support your answer with real world/work experiences (200 -300 words).

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Let's take a closer look through discussion, research and examples.

1. Discuss the role of neutrality as it applies to your role as a helping professional.

Neutrality is a controversial concept, and many researchers argue that values are inherent in every theory-based treatment or intervention. For example, Dr. Jones (1994) explains that psychotherapists are members of a "secular priesthood" which is based on its own metaphysical and moral premises and assumptions. Every theory holds assumptions about human behavior and the "good" life and what the client needs to do to get there. In fact, Jones proposes that Psychology conveys a worldview that teaches what is "good" (translated into clinical sounding terms such as healthy, whole, adaptive, realistic, rational, mature, etc.) and what is "bad" (translated clinically as abnormal, pathological, immature, stunted, self-deceived, etc). Thus psychology is concerned with moral and philosophical questions and is value-laden (as opposed to neutral), and Jones (1994) proposed that there "should be greater honesty in public relations by practitioners about the value-ladenness of the mental-health enterprise" (p. 196). The present "cultivated public image" of psychotherapy as values-neutral, he says, is a misrepresentation of reality.

From this discussion, depending on the theory you use, even if you borrow from various theories for your personal view of helping as a professional, it is important to know both the theories assumptions about human nature and your own value, and to be willing to educate the client before treatment about the theoretical assumptions of the theory. For example, Jones (1994) points out the many ways philosophy and philosophical values influences the mental-health profession this way:

"Psychotherapy is, in American society, filling the void created by the waning influence of religion in answering questions of ultimacy and providing moral guidance. The APA's commitment to promoting human welfare presumes morally laden visions of ultimate human well-being... [Its] involvement in social and juridicial advocacy serves as one example of such a function... They have stepped in to fill the cultural niche vacated by the institutional church, and have been in the business of answering questions of ultimacy with the powerful mantle of modern science cast about their shoulders." (p. 191)

Saying that though, in helping people we can demonstrate some form of neutrality by accepting the client's unique value system and not attempt to force our values on others, such as abortion is wrong, or assimilation is the best way for all immigrants, and so on. It also important to recognize that sometime when values are too conflicting, the therapist must know when to refer a client when these conflicting values that get in the way of effectively helping clients. Like, for example, doctors of medicine do not have to perform abortions if they cannot do it with good conscience, but they need to refer the client to another provider to meet the client's need.

Do you have other ideas of how to remain 'neutral' while adhering to a counseling theory that is based on philosophical values and principles about human nature and human behaviors that points to certain interventions that the client needs to do to be "healthy" and live "the good life"?

2. Explain how neutrality is dependent upon your ...

Solution Summary

By answering the questions, this solution addresses the concepts of neutrality and dual relationship as they apply to the helpful profession, as well as how neutrality relates to a specific code of ethics. References and a related supplementary resource are also provided.

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