Helping: A Process
Helping effectiveness is a function of your skills in a process to accomplish positive helping outcomes. Helping skills are attending, responding, personalizing, and initiating. Your skills should facilitate a person’s exploration, understanding, and acting. Ideal outcomes are improvements in a person’s physical, emotional, or intellectual functioning. Thoughout a helping relationship, bring empathy, respect, genuineness, concreteness, appropriate confrontation, and immediacy. Here is the general structure and sequence of a typical helping process:
You: Elicit and assist the person’s exploration of feelings and content. Define specific feelings, and link them to sources.
Person: Express, recognize and deal with feelings (strongest negative feelings first).
You: Summarize person’s feelings and content. Assist person in identifying root cause of problematic behavior, thinking, or circumstances. Assist person in exploring possible alternatives to concerns.
Person: Evolve, understand, and clearly express alternatives to concerns (alternatives which would result in positive change).
You: Instruct person in using objectives and a plan to attain a goal of specific positive change.
Person: Define goal. Convert alternatives into objectives. Determine and select the objectives needed to attain goal. Make plan of action containing prioritized, realistic, time-limited objectives to attain goal.
You: Assist and encourage person in initiating work on objectives and goal. Monitor person’s progress, and suggest adjustments as needed. Evaluate effectiveness of helping process.
Person: Execute plan of action, and seek feedback in evaluating progress toward goals.