To the Editor:
While the intent of House Bill 1840 may be to protect the religious freedom of a therapist, it does not take into consideration the potential harm it could have on the client.
Turning a client away due to a personal conflicting belief denotes the role of a social worker to overcome cultural differences in the best interest of the client. According to the Code of Ethics, it is a social worker's duty to end discrimination and yet this bill offers the opportunity for therapists to engage in the very thing they have taken an oath to fight against. People who go to therapy are vulnerable, confused and are in need of someone to help them through a difficult time. A therapist's job is not to judge or impose their own opinion or beliefs, but to show understanding, concern and compassion for those in need of a healthy support system.
An effective therapist must understand the importance of cultural competence. Finding a way to connect with an individual who is different from you in any way is an important tool to have within the therapeutic field. Those who are unwilling to value the worth of the individual, family or community they have chosen to protect and serve should put their efforts into finding another career as opposed to endangering the wellbeing of an already fragile client.
Kailey D. Jones