BSHS/305 - HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES: AN INTRODUCTION
Instructor: ELLEN BIROS
June 20, 2015
Pursuing a career as a Human Service Professional can be very rewarding. Human Service Professionals have an opportunity to help those who are in need with a wide range of assistance. As rewarding as this profession can be, working in human services can be both mentally and emotionally demanding. This is true because of the multitude of problems that human service clients encounter and a lack of resources available to help them. Many of these problems include economic problems such as poverty, homelessness, child welfare, and overall economic inequality. Other social problems for the human service client include, but are not limited to, mental health, physical disabilities, and victims of crimes such as domestic violence or sexual assault. While these are problems that are evident in today’s society, a Human Services Professional must be trained in how to identify signs of social injustice and work on the development of solutions to the problems of the client.
Many human service clients share a common denominator or factor the puts them in a position of need; a lack of resources. Whether it is a family living in poverty or a person living with a physical or mental disability, a lack of resources due to social identity is often a barrier. While Human Service Professionals strive to promote social equality for all, unfortunately in today’s society this is an unattainable goal. Living in poverty, many human service clients face many injustices due to their economic status. This economic inequality is a major problem in the United States. Many impoverished human service clients are often looked down upon in our society, but Human Service Professionals know the importance of treating clients with kindness and respect as well as helping find a solution to their individual need.
The needs of the client are paramount for the Human Service Professional. The needs of the client can encompass a wide range of issues such as, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental or physical illness, substance abuse, disability, caring for children and families, or grief from a personal loss. Regardless of the cause for need, a human service worker must gain the client’s trust. Gaining the client’s trust is key in order to provide them with the best possible help for their need. When working with families instead of individuals, a human service worker must be able to identify if the children are living in a safe environment. The worker must also ensure that all children have their basic needs met. Human service workers might work with the parent by helping with family planning such as birth control or school attendance. The worker may also facilitate some parenting classes to help with parenting skills. The human service worker might also guide the parents in filling out applications for aid such as food stamp assistance, cash aid, or housing assistance such as Section 8. Another problem area for a client with children is finding childcare. The client may have employment, but find they cannot afford daycare for their children with the wages they earn.
“Because the helper has the knowledge and expertise that the client is seeking, much of the initial responsibility for establishing the relationship rests with the helper. The importance of the characteristics and values of the helper are discussed in Chapter 6. A growing body of research shows their importance in establishing and maintaining the helping relationship. The following questions (adapted from Rogers, 1958) may help you increase your self-awareness in relation to your own helping skills: Can I be perceived as trustworthy, dependable, and consistent? Can I express myself well enough that the client understands what I am saying? Can I experience attitudes of warmth, caring, liking, interest, and respect for the client? Can I separate my needs from those of the