To succeed as a Human Service Worker, our opinions should never become hard and fast rules dictating how others live their lives.
If you’re someone with empathy and compassion, you’re probably considering a career in human services. Despite good intentions, however, we sometimes do more damage than good when trying to help others. A quick refresher on the importance of Person Centred Planning can help people in the field of social services to provide the best support possible.
According to Kathleen Moore, Faculty Head and Instructor of the Community Service Worker Program at triOS College, your job as a Human Service Worker involves helping people make informed decisions for themselves, regardless of what you feel is right for them.
Understanding that we all do things differently, in our own unique way, is the basis of Person Centred Planning. This principle takes into account the right we each have, as long as we don’t harm others, to decide our own course in life. It also protects against the tendency to tell others that their decisions are wrong. Interjecting our own opinions and forcing our own ideologies on others is not the best way to help them.
Four Beliefs Needed to be a Human Service Worker
If you’ve decided on a career in this humanistic field, Moore outlines four basic beliefs you must have.
- First, you must believe people do what they feel they must in order to survive and thrive.
- Second, you believe that despite their best efforts, life sometimes takes a wrong turn.
- Third, you understand that people have the desire to be the best person they can be, but sometimes they get stuck.
- Finally, and most important, you know that each person is aware of how they must change their life to become the best person possible.
The challenge for a Human Service Worker, then, is to prove to them that they have not only the knowledge required, but also the ability, to succeed.
If your personal ideas conflict with this theory, just think back to the beginning of the 20th century, when children with disabilities were forcibly taken from their parents to be institutionalized, and when people were not allowed to make their own informed decisions about medical treatments. Today, thanks to social justice advocacy and greater transparency, individuals have the freedom to make their own choices, preserving their dignity and self-worth.
To truly be a professional in the Human Service field, our suggestions, ideas, and guidance must never become hard and fast rules dictating how others must live their lives. Afterall, as Moore points out, no one has a better perspective than the person ‘living it’. She concludes, “We are not here to help people. We are here to help people help themselves.”
Schools Mentioned: triOS College – Community Services Worker Program