Helping professions are based on service to others and in the Human Service “world” I discuss the layers of helping as they relate to the Ecological model of human services.
Human service professionals use this model to develop a broad understanding of each individual client, see the client in the context in which the client lives and functions, see how the client has interacted and is interacting with the environment, and to see how the environment influences the client’s choices.
The three levels exist as separate yet often intersecting entities.
Micro Level: where the focus is on the client’s personality, motivation, affect, and other personal attributes
Meso Level: where the focus is on the context immediately surrounding the client (family, church group, close friends, and work group)
Macro Level: where the focus is on the larger society’s characteristics and the way the client experiences these or the way these are brought to bear on the client’s situation (institutions and organizations such as the political system, social stratification, educational system, the economy).
So I told you that story so I could tell you this story…
When helping someone, it is important to consider the person as they exist within the self, the setting/environment and how society has influenced their personal experiences. People who are struggling are rarely dealing with a solitary issue, but rather “problems in living” that can be based on a number of things.
So when you are in the role of a helper, it will be important to remember that the person who is seeking help is a multi-faceted being, who may be struggling in some areas that are not visible to you at the moment. So to be an exceptional helper, be sure to reflect on the person as a whole when considering how to help them.
If you have used your unique-helper-talents to assist, yet you see that the client or person you are helping needs something more, it is okay and often necessary to speak out your recommendations openly with a referral.
A referral is the best gift you can give someone!