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Addressing Common Barriers in the Helping Process

Updated on June 21, 2018

Addressing the Pros and Cons of Human Services Delivery

There are both strengths and limitations in relation to thinking about categorizing problems within the human services helping field. Problems can be categorized by differing concepts, such as, individual/family, environment, social, or global. They can also be categorized by more specific classes, like, mental health, developmental, basic human needs, HIV/AIDS, drug/alcohol addiction, and such. A strength of categorizing the problems is putting focus on the problem and directing it head on, ensuring that the problem be addressed before moving on. It gives both the human service professional and the consumer the time and attention to gain all possible resources to adequately work on the problem. The downside, however, is that putting focus on the problem addressed can lead both the consumer and human service professional to tunnel vision, whereby they become so focused on the problem at hand, other needs of the consumer may be missed. It is important to remember that, while the specific problem must be addressed and properly worked through, it is important to treat the whole person and ensure that all of their needs are being met.

When clients are receiving help from the human services delivery, there can be problems to arise among each type of entry into the system. A problem with the referral process, is that people may be reluctant to seek help or accept it. They may feel embarrassed or shamed for needing assistance or feel inadequate that they are unable to care for their family the way they think they should and will avoid seeking help themselves or decline an offer for assistance by others. When a consumer is placed in an involuntary placement, such as alcohol or drug rehab or mental health hospital, they are going to be less inclined to participate in their recovery. They may rebel or simply just not make any effort to complete the necessary steps to improve their situation, as many of them may not see the situation as a problem for themselves. The major type of problem seen with inadvertent services is the fact that they are not services requested by the consumer and can be very limited in what they receive, and this can cause the consumer to feel that the service is useless to them, or not worth the trouble involved, due to stipulations of gaining the service.

Personal preference can play a large role into chosen way in which a consumer enters into the human services system. However, there are times in which a consumer is placed in the human services delivery system, not intentionally, but through a placement process, such as court or medical doctor ordered. With those exceptions aside, generally a consumer will choose for themselves the preferred method of entry. Personally, I feel that the best mode of entry into the human service system is the referral process. Even though many people may be reluctant to seek the services, most people feel better having the control of choosing what they need and the best options for meeting those needs. People tend to be more open to seeking out the services if they feel that it is their choice, and they have some control over what they do and do not receive.

Additionally, many clients are reluctant to enter or participate in the helping process. The sources of this reluctance can vary from person to person. A big factor in why people are reluctant to seek out services in the helping process is shame. Many people feel inadequate or as though they are a failure if they find themselves unable to provide for their families. They can be embarrassed if friends or family learn they are utilizing assistance to meet their needs. And to some degree, some of the hesitancy stems from frustration, as many people know they need assistance and would be agreeable to receiving it, but many of them are not educated on how to seek out the services, and they feel as though they do not know where to turn to get the help they need.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is helpful to the human services professional when defining the whole person and addressing the necessary components of meeting the needs to treat the person as a whole. The whole person refers to all the factors that make up the life of an individual. Home, work and recreational life are parts of the whole person. The whole person is made up of their physical, emotional, financial, and social health. Their family, friends, type of work, co-workers, and social groups are included. To treat the “whole person” is to treat the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of the person. Utilizing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs by the human service professional is helpful in ensuring the consumer is met “where they are” and basic human needs are addressed first. Addressing a consumer’s low self-esteem or poor social skills will mean little if the consumer does not have food, shelter, or clothing.


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