Book review of Michael Carroll and Elisabeth Shaw’s ‘Ethical maturity in the helping professions: Making difficult life and work decisions’

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Carolyn Noble, PhD, Professor, Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP) Sydney

What does it mean to be human? What guides our actions and informs our decision-making?  And how do we manage and deal with the consequences, good or bad? How do we deal with decisions when we come face-to-face with the moral dilemmas we handle as individuals, as family members, members of communities or specific cultural groups, and as practitioners in the helping profession? Or as intriguingly, what are the ethical anchors, principles, beliefs and assumptions that make up our moral intelligence that influence our decision making in life and at work?  Especially decisions that have a direct impact on our moral standing and the wellbeing of others in our lives, in our communities and in society at large.

Is it possible to make ethical decisions that show a maturity that encompasses compassion, wisdom and empathy, and once that decision is made and acted upon, do we reflect back on the process as well as the outcome? Is it possible to have a moral compass that guides us in all situations when a decision is needed to move forward, particularly when communities are so diverse and cultural influences so strong in shaping our behaviors, thoughts and actions? Is it possible to have a ‘’truth to act’’ particularly with the current pace of change in cultural norms, intercultural influences and challenges to the intellectual traditions of patriarchy, colonisation and monoculture?  

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