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NASW Code of Ethics

NASW Code of Ethics

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics is a set of norms and principles that govern social workers’ professional conduct and obligations in the United States. Its goal is to establish a complete framework that upholds the highest ethical standards in the social work profession. The NASW code highlights fundamental ideals such as social justice, individual dignity, worth, honesty, and competence and directs ethical decision-making and behavior (Arambula, 2023). It is an essential tool for social workers to traverse complicated moral quandaries, protect clients’ well-being, and maintain the integrity and credibility of the social work profession.

One of the Principles or Standards in the Code of Ethics

One of the primary principles listed in the NASW Code of Ethics is “Dignity and worth of the Person.” This principle emphasizes the fundamental belief that everyone has intrinsic dignity and worth regardless of background, identity, or circumstances. Social workers are morally obligated to recognize and promote the inherent value of every individual they encounter in their professional activity. The dignity and worth of the Person principle provides a core framework for social workers to preserve their clients’ rights, autonomy, and well-being (Smith-Hill et al., 2022).In practice, this principle means that social workers must treat clients with dignity, respect their viewpoints and needs, and include them actively in choices that affect their lives. It is also part of advocating for social justice and equality to overcome systemic imbalances that can degrade the dignity and worth of specific groups or persons. Maintaining the dignity and worth of the person concept guarantees that social workers strive toward establishing an inclusive and equitable society in which all individuals are empowered to attain their full potential and live a life of dignity and respect. This principle guides ethical behavior and highlights the profession’s dedication to human rights and social justice, making it a cornerstone of social work practice.

How I Would Apply the Principle as a Social Worker

Applying the “Dignity and Worth of the Person” principle as a social worker working with clients is critical in building a therapeutic and empowering connection. First, it entails genuinely listening to and valuing each client’s viewpoints, experiences, and cultural origins. I would protect clients’ dignity by fostering a safe, nonjudgmental environment where they feel heard and valued. This includes recognizing their skills and capacities and the obstacles they confront.

Second, I would include clients in making decisions about their own life. This includes collaboratively discussing therapy alternatives, creating goals, and developing action plans. Respecting a client’s autonomy gives them control over their well-being and reinforces that they are experts in their own lives. Being culturally competent and attentive to clients’ different backgrounds and identities is critical to developing interventions that respect their experiences and values.

Furthermore, I would work for social justice and address structural concerns that may jeopardize the dignity and worth of my clients. This could include pushing for policy changes or linking clients to resources and support systems to help them overcome societal hurdles. By actively striving to minimize inequities and promote social inclusion, I would uphold the ethical commitment to ensure that all individuals, regardless of circumstance, are treated with dignity and worth and allowed to live full lives. In essence, as a social worker, implementing this principle implies appreciating the person and actively trying to improve their well-being and the larger social context in which they reside.


Arambula, A. (2023). Understanding Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work Practice. Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations.

Smith-Hill, R. B., Walters, C. B., Stinnett, C. V., & Plotner, A. J. (2022). Social Work as Social Justice: Supporting the Autonomy of Students with Disabilities Through Alternatives to Guardianship. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.


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NASW Code of Ethics

NASW Code of Ethics

What is the NASW Code of Ethics, and what is its purpose? Discuss one of the principles or standards in the Code of Ethics, explaining how you would apply it as a social worker who works with clients. If you use language from the Code of Ethics, be sure to cite and reference your source according to APA style guidelines

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