Values are not set in stone

Values are, of course, a key factor when it comes to working with people. Values shape our (and other people’s) thoughts, feelings and actions. However, we have to be careful not to oversimplify the situation in relation to values; we should not allow them to become fixed and rigid and dogmatically apply them across the board when perhaps a more nuanced approach is called for. For example, there can be clashed between different sets of values that can be difficult to reconcile. Critically reflective practice means that we need to have a flexible approach to our knowledge base – and much the same can be said to apply to our value base. At one unhelpful extreme we have a lack of integrity by which I mean a significant gap between espoused values and actual actions taken. But at the other extreme we can have a dogmatic approach to values that does not do justice to the complexities involved. Critically reflective practice helps us to find the healthy balance between the two.