Counseling The Helping Relationship
Establishing a helping relationship between child clients and social workers is to relationship building and the importance of the social worker's professional .. Solomons () commented in a recent newspaper article that the area. Jun 21, Recovery in co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders often involves relationships with professional helpers, yet little is known Experiences of Professional Helping Relations by Persons with Original Article. However, this article will explore the issue of client relationships and ethical boundaries workers relate to clients in more than one relationship, whether professional, Subsequently, instead of helping, the social worker may start the path of.
A typical example would be the school environment where aspects such as intercom notifications, small working spaces or interventions in tea rooms interrupt sessions and impact on privacy.
Stigmatisation and role confusion It seems as if children are uninformed about the roles of the social worker. Child participants in the study thought correctly that a social worker is someone to talk to, who asks questions, someone to play with, monitor parental responsibilities and remove children.
However, child participant A thought social workers are there to teach children mathematics, while participants B and C did not know what social workers do. This links with the social work participants' notion that preconceptions based on stories about social workers raise anxiety during initial contact.
Preconceptions are normally based on two elements: Participant 1 noted that if the child client remains anxious during the social work session, she explores his conception of social workers to arrive at the conclusion that she is there to help the child client. Child participant B reported that they do not talk about visits to the social worker because "then they [the other people who came to the social worker with their children] tell us that it isn't fun.
Helping relationships – principles, theory and practice
Participant 1 experienced this to be beneficial in encouraging compliance, whilst participant 2 experienced the power inherent to social work to be detrimental because children can be scared of admonishment by the social worker. Social work participants assumed that children hear dreadful stories about social workers and those children feel ashamed to be associated with welfare agencies.
In contrast, the child participants described social workers as helpful, bragging to their friends about the visit, looking forward to proposed meetings and feeling important if the social worker wants to see them.
However, child participants are aware of the statutory element in social work as clearly demonstrated by participant A saying "She [her friend] doesn't have to be scared.
Then I tell her they [the social worker] won't send her away. Social workers feel inept Seabury et al. Social workers sometimes work with sensitive issues and traumatic events that have serious ramifications for children. The social workers in this study expressed fear that they "might do more damage than good" as a result of their lack of knowledge and skills in working directly with children in distress.
The participating social workers mentioned that they felt so out of depth in these difficult circumstances that they would rather refer the client if possibleor only address the practical issues involved rather than the emotional impact the difficult life circumstances have on the child. Participants 2 and 3 admitted to feeling despondent because of their experience of inadequacy.
Previous cases that did not have positive outcomes confirm to participants 2 and 3 the notion that "I don't know what I am doing. Reluctant child clients Engle and Holiman Children rarely refer themselves to the social worker and thus are probably involuntary participants in any form of intervention Hepworth et al.
The social work participants experience the resistance of child clients to manifest as running away, missed appointments, being lethargic or non-talkative within the session, an aggressive attitude and refusal to take part in activities. The first author had a similar experience with child participant E, who did not speak even after an hour of ice-breaking activities.
Social work participants describe frustration, despondence, anger, impatience, powerlessness and anxiety about occurrences of resistance. They speculate that resistance is caused by many factors including influence from parents, pre-session occurrences, mistrust in people, shyness, stigmatisation of the profession, reason for referral and the social worker's personality type.Carl Rogers on the Counseling Relationship
All seven social work participants agreed that they do not know how to handle resistance in child clients. Professional attributes Values in approaching the client The quality of the social work relationship is influenced by aspects such as the attitude, qualities and social work values Seden, Social work participants 1 and 5 commented on how their opinion of the importance of the case and natural appeal to the child client influence their ability to establish a positive relationship with a child.
Simultaneously, social work participants acknowledge that hope and respect are inherent in approaching a child client. Respect is the foundation on which all helping relationships and consequent interventions are built Egan, According to a study done by Russell in Holland, While respect is inherent in approaching the client, hope contributes to initial relationship building with a client Seabury et al.
In order to instil hope in a client, the social worker needs to believe in the value of self-determination and the ability of people to grow and change Reyneke, Social workers also respect the intrinsic dignity and worth of their clients, being attentive to the differences in personalities Hepworth et al.
Social work participants listed shyness, the child's age, concentration span and spontaneity as influencing the helping relationship. In a study done by Bedi Participant 6 made the point that as a child she looked towards positive body language before opening up to an adult.
Non-verbal messages should convey warmth towards the client Egan, Social work participants sensed that child clients might prefer a social worker whom they perceive as present, available, accessible and who carries their best interests at heart. Presence conveys to clients that the social worker is with them and it enables the social worker to listen carefully Egan, Being available to the child client can simply entail making time for the child and not being hasty.
Participant 5 mentioned the detrimental effect haste has on relationship building by stating that "sometimes I am in such a hurry that nobody would want to talk to me, I need to be calmer, beaming warmth, friendliness and interest. The underlying principle in the Children's Act 38 of is the child's best interest.
Social work participant 1 touched on this phenomenon by saying that if she was a child client, she would prefer a social worker who was on her side. The above-mentioned values of non-judgement, openness, presence, hope, respect and warmth will create the atmosphere for a calm, safe, relaxed and comfortable setting, as described by social work participants, where individual intervention with a child can take place. Personality of the social worker Ackerman and Hilsenroth On the other hand, Holland In line with Ackerman and Hilsenroth's findings It is part of my personality He views these as strengths, because they enable the social worker to better understand the difficulties of clients.
This links to Seabury et al. Social workers thus enhance the intervention by bringing their own personality to their work Geldard et al. A child can identify a person who is not authentic, as participant 7 elucidated: Appropriate self-disclosure is used by participant 1 and 6 to demonstrate the social worker's humanness. Participant 1 illustrated this by saying that "I search for something communal between me and the child, in order for the child to see me as a human being, not only as a social worker.
Another skill that increases the "humanness" of the social worker is empathy Glicken, Participants 1 and 2 mentioned the importance of soft, empathic responses in establishing a helping relationship. Empathic listening is important to building a strong helping relationship Bedi, Participant 1 uses humour to put the child at ease and to establish the initial connection, while participant 5 uses positive reinforcement. There is a fine line between complimenting the child and reinforcing strengths.
This means that positive reinforcement should not be founded on approving or disapproving of the client's behaviour, because the client might change behaviour to please the social worker and cover other behaviour to avoid the disapproval of the social worker Geldard et al. Social work participants concurred that questioning a child is not beneficial towards engaging the child in dialogue.
As participant 4 stated that "you cannot just ask children direct questions the whole time, because they clamp up. They don't want to talk. In this regard participant 4 said: Considerations for initial contact sessions with a child client It is advisable for social workers to establish their own pattern for introductory sessions with children. A well-established but adjustable pattern for introductory sessions allows the worker to focus on the child rather than the next activity.
According to participant 5, this "makes the process easier" and more fluent. Yet one should guard against becoming rigid in a specific pattern, as participant 6 stated "what works with the one, does not work for the next child.
In the next section a few patterns are discussed that emerged from the data regarding initial individual sessions with child clients. Pre-meeting stage Kroll During this stage Geldard et al. Child participant F contributed to the premeeting stage by requesting that social workers should notify him of an intended visit. This is an important procedure, as Spray and Jowett First impressions Establishing rapport typically begins with greeting the client warmly and asking the client how he prefers to be addressed Hepworth et al.
The child participants appreciated that social workers greeted them with a handshake, made eye contact and introduced themselves. Courtesy helps to establish rapport with the client.
These aspects convey to the client the value of dignity and worth Hepworth et al. Two child participants mentioned that the social worker forgot their names and one participant appreciated the effort made by the social worker to write down her name correctly.
However, in line with Kroll Joining with the child The participant social workers suggested that the child clients be given a quiet calm time during the first session, when they can orientate themselves towards the setting and the social worker and so adjust to the new situation. Furthermore, the social worker should not initially engage in talking, but rather enjoy calm moments together while, for instance, working with clay or drawing.
This is in line with the suggestion by Geldard et al. This allows the child a time where he can observe the social worker in the safety of his parents' presence. Children witness how their parents engage with the social worker and consequently gain permission to engage with the social worker. Some children enjoy a routine to help them enter a playroom Carroll, The social worker can then show children the counselling environment and let them know where the parents will be waiting Geldard et al.
The social workers and children agreed that it is best if the social worker moves from behind her table to greet and talk to the child client. The child participants also prefer a social worker next to them rather than sitting behind a table. Most clients come to the social worker with a degree of apprehension, viewing the need for help as a failure on their part and feeling embarrassed about opening up about their personal lives Hepworth et al. Social work participant 4 stated in this regard: Yet child participant F preferred not to talk about school-related topics.
Sensitivity is important, because some clients want to talk about their problems immediately and their anxiety level may grow if the social worker delays with a warm-up period Hepworth et al. Reason for referral Some social work participants do not address the reason for referral immediately, especially if it is a sensitive case, for example, sexual abuse, while other social work participants prefer to address the reason for referral immediately.
Social work participants could not decide which is best and decided that it depends on the context of the case. Social work participant 4 suggested starting with the child client's perception of the reason for the referral, clarifying if necessary. Child participant D noted that if he was the social worker "he would have explained what he was doing there [when visiting a child client]". Confidentiality The helping relationship with the practitioner should be confidential, because it promotes trust Geldard et al.
Social work participants 1 and 6 explain confidentiality as well as how feedback to the parents will commence. However, according to social work participants 4 and 6, the presence of the significant other can intimidate the child, causing the child to not engage. On the other hand, they said that it can enhance feelings of safety in the child, which then causes the child to engage fully in the session.
Sensitivity to the non-verbal cues from the child will direct the social worker; however, Landreth Unfortunately other role players can disclose information on a case. Some child clients may then wrongly assume that it was the social worker who broke confidentiality and this assumption affects the relationship detrimentally.
Social work participants 2 and 6 reported this experience and consequently addressed this with their clients beforehand, compelling them to discuss wrong assumptions in order for misconceptions to be clarified. In this we are concerned about their plight.
This may lead to us wanting to do something about it — but the result is rarely care-for. Nel Noddings argues that we learn first what it means to be cared-for — particularly in families and close relationships. This caring-about, Noddings suggests, is almost certainly the foundation for our sense of justice.
Wisdom Smith and Smith It is quality which especially attracts people to them for help. However, while they possess expertise: Rather it is how they are with us, and we with them. We can feel valued and animated and, in turn, value them. Out of this meeting comes insight. It generally means that the person so labelled is seen as having a deep understanding, a regard for truth, and an ability to come to sound judgements.
He suggested that a helping relationships could be defined as one in which: In other words, Carl Rogers understood that counselling relationships, for example, were just special instances of interpersonal relationships in general op.
Carl Rogers on the interpersonal relationship in the facilitation of learning What are these qualities, these attitudes, that facilitate learning?
Realness in the facilitator of learning.
Perhaps the most basic of these essential attitudes is realness or genuineness. This means that the feelings that she is experiencing are available to her, available to her awareness, that she is able to live these feelings, be them, and able to communicate if appropriate. It means coming into a direct personal encounter with the learner, meeting her on a person-to-person basis. It means that she is being herself, not denying herself. There is another attitude that stands out in those who are successful in facilitating learning… I think of it as prizing the learner, prizing her feelings, her opinions, her person.
It is a caring for the learner, but a non-possessive caring. It is an acceptance of this other individual as a separate person, having worth in her own right. It is a basic trust — a belief that this other person is somehow fundamentally trustworthy… What we are describing is a prizing of the learner as an imperfect human being with many feelings, many potentialities. A further element that establishes a climate for self-initiated experiential learning is emphatic understanding. This said the spirit and direction of what Rogers says, and the framework that these conditions offer, provides us with a good starting point and orientation to exploring and fostering helping relationships.
Introduction to the professional helping relationship with emphasis on the quality of the relation
Does helping involve seeing people in deficit? David Brandon was very alive to this possibility in his exploration of helping relationships. Indeed, he looked at some of the different ways in which helpers can hinder the development and flourishing of those they seek to help.
One common means is through focusing too strongly on institutional and bureaucratic ways of defining the situations and experiences of people. In order to access resources people often have to either define themselves, or be defined as, in deficit or needy. A current UK example of this is how young people are deemed to be NEET not in employment, education or training so that the agency can get additional funding for the work and meet targets. The labelling and data-sharing involved can quickly work against the interests of the young people involved, invade their right to privacy, and inhibit the creation of the sorts of space and relationships they need to flourish.
These concerns led him to be careful when talking of compassion, to distinguish between such caring and pity. The latter, he believed inevitably embodied a tendency to superiority, to looking down on the other. David Ellerman has argued for five principles: Help must start from the present situation of the doers.
Helpers must see the situation through the eyes of the doers. Help cannot be imposed on the doers, as that directly violates their autonomy. Nor can doers receive help as a benevolent gift, as that creates dependency. All this does not minimize the expertise and knowledge of helpers — it simply places them as partners in an endeavour and puts a premium on conversation, relationship and developing shared understandings.
Are there different stages to the helping relationship? This is possible when looking at counselling or more formal relationships as they generally involve some sort of specific contract or agreement to work together.
This will usually include something about the number, time, duration and frequency of sessions. It is, thus, pretty easy to think about the sorts of steps or stages the helping relationship might involve. For example Gerard Egan structures his influential model around three stages: Helping clients to clarify the key issues calling for change.
What solutions make sense for me? Helping clients determine outcomes. What do I have to do to get what I need or want? Helping clients develop strategies for accomplishing goals. He has altered these stages over the years since the first edition of his book appeared back in Then his stages were: Subsequently, instead of helping, the social worker may start the path of hurting the client while disclosing or sharing his or her own personal experiences.
In child welfare, immediate supervisors must play a vital role in modeling, coaching, and engaging in frequent discussions with workers on topical issues of client engagement, rapport-building, and assurance of proper boundaries in the worker and client relationship.
Social work schools, child welfare training, and other continuing education programs also have a responsibility in providing education and information on the management of client relationships and examination of ongoing ethical issues. In some instances, it may be a labor relations matter, or a training or coaching issue between the worker and supervisor.
Why might a caseworker risk contamination of the client engagement process or actual working relationship? There is no definitive or even easy answer. From others, it may be suggested there are always persons in any given profession who will violate the code of conduct rules and standards, despite any degree of training, supervision, or administrative oversight.
As social workers, we have a responsibility to examine the issues of client relationships and ethical boundaries. This conversation merits discussion among our peers and other related professionals. In the age of increased litigation and constituent complaints, it is not a topic to be ignored. The personal and corporate costs and liabilities associated with claims of unethical behaviors have long lasting impact to those in the profession and for those who are served.
Fortunately, ethics training for social workers must be taken in accordance with state licensure standards.
This provides an opportunity to be mindful of our ethical obligations and boundaries in serving others throughout the field. Non-licensed employees are not exempt from the risk of assumed liabilities in child welfare or other social work settings. Both public and private organizations generally have ascribed core principles, ethical procedures, and guidance with regard to policy safeguards that govern the scope of responsibilities of employees in providing client services.