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:

 

  1. I strive to recognize that my biggest responsibility is to listen, as deeply as I can.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. I strive to challenge unequal and oppressive structures of power whenever possible, even when it puts myself and my privileges at risk.

  6. 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.

  7. I strive to honor my teachers and mentors, in word and action.

  8. I strive to never refuse to help someone because of an inability to compensate me.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.  

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