October 5, 2014
Seeking help from a human service professional is typically prompted by a client requiring help and assistance. Problems are naturally occurring events in life; however, the problems faced by human service clients vary greatly and are the result of a range of scenarios. Issues may stem from early developmental aspects and upbringing, as well as late in life environmental influences. Human service professionals are educated and equipped to handle various problems using an array of skills, processes, and techniques. All of these tools have one underlying foundation, and that includes effective communication. A client will typically not suffer from one problem, but will have a combination of problems that feed off each other. The outcome of the client relies upon the problems faced, his or her relationship and trust with the helping professional, his or her willingness to accept and work on the problems, and the effectiveness of intervention strategies coordinated by the helper and client together.
Clients seeking human services currently face a wide range of problems that cause trouble or discomfort in their lives (Woodside & McClam, 2012, Ch.5). These problems can be short or long term, and will require different actions and interventions to address them. While problems are defined by set influences, each client has a different perspective of his or her problem and seeks the aid of helpers to correctly identify the problem. The main problems include developmental and situational problems, hierarchical needs, needs created by societal change, as well as environmental influences that have prompted trouble (Woodside & McClam, 2012, Ch.5). Individuals pass through phases and stages during their always developing life span. These stages, which stem from birth to death, are critical in that each phase allows an individual to learn and adapt to his or her environment. Trust, or lack thereof, develops at infancy and is dependent on if a supportive environment provides needs. The child then experiences stages that prompt him or her to become independent or reluctant, driven or reserved, efficient or incapable. The process then prompts the adult to identify his or her role in life, establish intimacy or isolation, and accept the final part of the life cycle, death. When a client struggles with his or her process and growth, human service professionals help the client identify what needs attention and directs him or her to focus on tasks that have not been fully developed, whether in the present or past.
When a client has had the unfortunate event of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a situational perspective may be taken toward a resulted problem. Major life changes as well as accidents and disasters are examples of these struggles. These issues, again, can be short or long term and require various steps of consideration and action in order to resolve. Being the victim of a crime or disaster, going through a divorce or the loss of a loved one, and societal occurrences, such as unemployment, cause clients to experience a range of emotions that include guilt, depression, shame, anger, and anxiety (Woodside & McClam, 2012, Ch.5). These problems then cycle into not having needs met for his or herself and the family.
Another issue faced by clients includes a lack of needs being met. The hierarchy of needs proposed by Maslow identifies that physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization are only able to be met when the most basic are met (Woodside & McClam, 2012, Ch.5). Physiological needs, which include food, shelter, rest, and water, must be met in order for an individual to obtain safety and so forth. Identifying what the client is missing and providing him or her with resources to aid them allows them to move up the hierarchy and claim these needs one by one. Again, these needs may not be met as a result