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Personal Model or Theory for Helping

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Human service professionals have a unique opportunity; we have the chance to help clients in many ways. The human service field is vast and includes advocacy, promotes well-being, and any services that will promote a better lifestyle for their clients. Social work or human services have been practiced for many years in many shapes and forms so research has provided many different individual models of helping. These particular models are useful to human service students because it gives us a blueprint of how to provide an individual style of helping once in the field. The theory that I will use when helping my future clients will be Prosocial-altruistic behavior; helping others without the need for reward or reciprocated help.

To understand this theory, first the question of why people help others should be addressed. It feels good to help others. I cannot wait until I get that feeling of self satisfaction I will feel once in the field and can assist someone with job training so they can adequately provide for their family, or help a young mother abstain from drugs or alcohol so that she can continue to be the best mother she can be or to help a adolescent boy with anger issues so that he can build a better relationship with his parents. Empathy has a role in prosocial behavior as well. People are more likely to help others when they can understand how the other person feels and what they are going through (Baron, Branscombe, & Byrne, 2009). I feel the pain of a mother who is struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol and her desire to be a good parent. I can understand that internal struggle and it would feel good to help her with that internal struggle.

When I was going through my divorce, I sought out a professional counselor who could help me and my family through the transition. After meeting with many options I found women who I felt could provide the help me and my family was looking for. She was in a similar situation and we felt comfortable with each other. She told me on our last visit that one of the reasons she felt a personal connection with me because after being in an abusive relationship that was similar to mines for so long it made her feel better to help me to get out sooner. That stuck with me for years. I never thought that helping others could in fact improve a negative feeling or mood for the person that I am providing the help. If I have a bad day at work and see someone stranded on the road. It makes me feel better about my day when I pull over and help them out. Helping can be a way to improve the person providing help's mood. This is also an aspect of the prosocial behavior and why people help others.

Empathetic joy can be used as another explanation of why people help others using the prosocial behavior model. If I choose the addiction rehabilitation aspect of human services, helping other combat their addictions to drugs and alcohol to maintain a quality of life that I believe is every human beings right would be my ultimate goal. The personage of people who will actually sustain from whatever substance they are addicted to is very low and usually requires multiple relapses, but I would gain a sense of happiness and joy when a client successfully obtains from drugs or alcohol. Providing an individual with alternatives to cope with stressors in their life so that they can function without the crutch that drugs and alcohol had become would give me great joy. That would be reward enough.

There is also a perspective called competitive altruism. Hardy and Pence conducted a study where a group of individuals were given a small amount of money with the directions to decide an amount to contribute to a privet fund and another amount to keep as individuals that could be split between the other individuals included in the study. When the amount each member donated was not discussed there was no competition involved and each person involved received no boost in reputation and the amount they donated was about the same. When the amount that each individual donated was made common knowledge, the amount that they donated grew higher as well as their status in the group (Baron, Branscombe, & Byrne, 2009). Using this model of prosocial behavior, people help others for a boost in their reputation or social status. They might not want a monetary reward or compensation but they desire others to see and appreciate how helpful they are to others.

There is another aspect of prosocial behavior is the kin selection theory. This theory suggests that people are more willingly to help others that are kin to us. From an evolutionary standpoint to ensure that our genes are able to reproduce to the next generation we would help our relatives or people that share the same genes any way that we could. There was a study conducted by Burnstein, Crandall, and Kitayama (Baron, Branscombe, & Byrne, 2009) were asked who they would help in an emergency. Their responses were supported the kin selection theory. The participants were more likely to help a close relative than to help a complete stranger. They also agreed that they would help young relatives that were more likely to reproduce and continue to bear children than of an older person who was less likely to produce children.

My personal view of helping is to use every ounce of education, common sense, experience, and professional code of ethics to provide whatever the client needs from me, without causing harm or danger to anyone else.

I am entering the human service profession to make the quality of life for my future clients better. I will also follow the six paramitas used in Buddhism as a path of perfections; generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation, and knowledge. Sloan (1992) brings up an excellent point when she suggest that clinicians especially when first entering the field of human services that we as clinicians are trained to know what our clients need. We are trained to know what will work for a patient and what will not.

Being generous includes means letting go of the "I am an expert on your feeling and what you need" attitude and learn to actually listen and be open with your client; learning to be nonjudgmental. Generosity includes "being warm and open as well as being strong and fearless, even in uncomfortable situations" this will allow not only the clients to learn the valuable things we as a clinicians can teach them but also what the client can teach the clinician (Sloan 1992 p. 326).

Discipline is important in any professional atmosphere but especially in a field where the well beings of others are at risk. We as human service professionals need to keep in mind that being careless and making judgments based on assumptions and unfounded facts can be dangerous to our clients. Discipline in understanding that the client comes first. Patience is something that I must also



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