My Code of Ethics
Working at the intersection of multiple fields, in the emerging discipline of rites of passage, my lines of professional accountability are varied. I abide by the guidelines put forward by two networks of whom I am a member: Wilderness Guides Council and Youth Passageways, and also follow Youth Passageways’ Cross-Cultural Protocols.
I remain in ongoing contact with specific elders, mentors, and peers whom I can trust to track my work, and provide guidance and feedback on ethical issues. Along with adhering to the standards of these professional entities, I attend to this personal evolving code of ethics:
I strive to recognize that my biggest responsibility is to listen, as deeply as I can.
I strive to remain grounded in the understanding that I am only a vessel. I do not claim to know what’s best for anyone else, and use situations where I think I have “the answer” as opportunities to remind myself how little I know. I reflect what I see and hear, and share my own story and experience when I sense that it might serve. I use opportunities for personal validation as chances to reflect back the gifts and holiness of others.
I strive to engage with each person that I come in contact with as an individual, to meet each person as the unique and special being that they are. I avoid “one size fits all” ways of relating to people, and attempts to fit people into predetermined boxes.
I strive to clear about roles and acknowledge and discuss implicit and explicit power dynamics inherent in relationships. I ensure informed, mutual consent before any shift in roles. I do not to accept power or authority over others that rightfully belongs in their own hands, and do not to give away my power to anyone else.
I strive to challenge unequal and oppressive structures of power whenever possible, even when it puts myself and my privileges at risk.
I strive to be clear, direct, and honest about what I have to offer, and what is beyond my skill set. I seek guidance from trusted elders and advisors.
I strive to honor my teachers and mentors, in word and action.
I strive to never refuse to help someone because of an inability to compensate me.
I strive to honor confidentiality. I do not make promises I can’t keep, and take accountability when I do. I do not say anything about anyone that I would not say to them.
I strive to actively create opportunities to give and receive feedback in all relationships. I take responsibility for my mistakes quickly, and practice patience as I make amends and rebuild trust.
I strive to keep these ethics alive for myself, regularly taking inventory of how well I’m living up to them, and revising them as I learn and grow.