NWFP Values Course – Integrity

“Our actions embody our values and principles and we have the courage to stand up for what we believe is right.”

Integrity means the state of being whole and undivided. Integrity means being honest and having strong moral principles. A person with integrity behaves ethically and does the right thing, even behind closed doors.

“Integrity is the ability to tell right from wrong, treat people with respect, and make ethical choices.”


Integrity is being aware of your own power and privilege and adjusting your actions accordingly.

It’s not about applying one set of rules to everyone – it’s walking in justice instead of fairness.

Not everyone needs the same things to access the same services. And often our own power and privilege can come into play if we are the ones providing those services. 

Equality vs Equity

Integrity can look like applying our values and principles equally for everyone and not excluding anyone.

Integrity means having clear and consistent practices – that we apply to our own lives as well as the lives of others. An example of this would be that all families are equally welcome at drop in groups and programs, regardless of their culture, socioeconomic status, race, beliefs or gender orientation.

Integrity means that we keep open records and make sure that our resources are shared appropriately within our mandate. We disclose and address any biases we may have and we remain truly open to feedback, able to stay in an iterative process of reflection on our values and actions and whether they are holding up or need to be adjusted. 

We also name and express failures and mistakes and work transparently  and graciously to improve.

We don’t play favourites. We stick to what we say – not that we are rigid and inflexible in our work, but that we are constantly asking ourselves to stick to what we believe is right based on the human experience, evidence based practice and the latest research around human development. 

Human beings are inconsistent. We have emotions, feelings, different moods and states of being. We can be kind one minute and angry the next. We can focus on enforcing rules without compassion or reflection on what is truly needed in the moment.

But there are some fundamental principles that we can think about when it comes to integrity. 

My father always amazed me when I worked with him as a young adult. He worked in the film industry as a cook – feeding everyone from the janitor to the director. There were a lot of famous people on set, and quite a few that demanded more respect and consideration than others. But my father treated the janitor, the security guard, the directors, and the actors exactly the same. It mattered to him just as much to make sure the security guard’s coffee was exactly the way he liked it as the director’s and the famous cast. His kitchen on set was a welcoming place to everyone, and he greeted everyone, no matter their rank, importance or fame with the same joy and hospitality. It blew my mind every day and taught me a valuable lesson. You see, it didn’t matter who he was making food for, because making good food and doing it lovingly was part of who he was. This is an example of integrity that has always stuck with me.

 My father served everyone equally because of who he was at heart, not who he was serving. 

Think about your own definition of integrity.

Is it a person you know?

What do they do that makes you think they have integrity?

Is that they do what they say they will?

Is it that they respond well to feedback?

Is it that you notice they treat everyone the same?

What are the things you do because you know they are the right thing to do, not what is expected of you or asked by someone external?

How do you stay true to who you are in the midst of challenges? 

  • Embodying our values is a form of integrity
  • Boundaries
  • Meaning what you say, say what you mean
  • Standing behind your referrals to resources (have them vetted and checked out to build trust)
  • Being open about your own emotional hygiene and part to play in difficult situations
  • Making amends quickly and graciously
  • Having evidence based practices about what is best for human growth and development
  • Understanding and modelling what healthy family systems and boundaries look like
  • Providing the same hospitality and warmth to everyone who walks through the doors or accesses services at Family Place 

This can make you feel upset or angry or criticised. 

You are in a challenging moment, but you always have a choice.

Choice Point Video:

How To Use The Choice Point In Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Doorway of Decisions:

The Doorway of Decisions from Your ACT Auntie

Difficult thoughts and feelings arise ———> You remember the values you want to embody, skills and strengths you have ———> moving towards the life outcome you want; behaving like the person you want to be aligned with your values

Take a deep breath. 

I see you’re upset. Can you tell me more? What can we do together to make this right/feel better/work together? 

You can still treat them with respect and dignity on the level that you would any human being. We all have preferences and people we naturally gravitate towards. This is true for kids as well. Some kids we like more than others. But how do we give that same hospitality and respect to everyone regardless of our personal preferences? 

You don’t have to be friends with someone to respect them and provide services, psychological safety and safe space. You don’t have to agree with their values or principles. You can walk in integrity on the grounds of what Family Place’s Values are, and express those because of who you are, not because of who you are serving. 

I used to work at a community centre in a very poor neighbourhood in Vancouver. We had many mentally ill individuals and homeless folks – people with major challenges. Many of them were trauma sensitive and had trouble with authority – they often felt desperate, in survival mode, misunderstood. I had to be very careful to extend the same courtesies to everyone who came through my door regardless of whether they were rude to me, or under the influence of substances, or other challenges.

It is about who I am, not who I am providing services to.

What does it mean for you to be values led?

How do you connect to Family Place’s value of integrity?

Where could you adjust your decision making, behaviour and actions to better align with your values?

What is one thing you could do today that demonstrates your integrity? 

Video on Integrity: https://www.ted.com/talks/joe_sabini_simplifying_humility_and_integrity/transcript