Clients are rarely dealing with just one issue at a time. Individuals, groups, and communities are facing a wide range of problems. These problems could range from housing needs, food, mental illness, drug abuse, or family issues, which may be difficult to deal with on just one level. Those individuals or groups and the problems they are facing are the reason why professional Human Service Helpers are needed in the world. In this paper, I will be discussing some of the problems the clients face and what helping skills human service workers use to assist the client with dealing with those issues and acquiring a better quality of life.
The developmental perspective, according to the text, is described as human development being a continuous process and that there are certain phases and stages that individuals experience during their life span. (Woodside & McClam 2012) Even though every human will go through the 8 stages of life which is Basic trust vs. Basic mistrust; autonomy vs.
shame and doubt; initiative vs. guilt; industry vs. inferiority; identity vs. role confusion; intimacy vs. isolation; generativity vs. stagnation and ego integrity vs. despair, we don’t experience any of these stages the same. Erikson’s stage model is one of the many perspectives on the developmental of humans.
For example, the basic trust versus basic mistrust means humans learn at the infant stage to trust in an environment that consistently provides for their needs. If a child did not receive adequate care as a child, human development may be affected causing issues later on in the future.
Developmental tasks are addressed within the individuals’ social context and the context may not support individual development. (Woodside & McClam 2012). Using a developmental model to view the clients’ problems may help give the human service helper with a basic understanding of the process of growth and change that individuals normally experience. Some clients deal with issues like losing a job, natural disasters, accidents and major changes in life are often viewed in the situational perspective. These are problems that occur because a client is in a particular place at a particular time. An example of situational perspective is a client at a group home for women was raped by a co-worker and was experiencing issues with trusting people which caused her to have issues with going to work and her work performance.
She was experiencing anxiety, anger and shame. She was referred to a legal team and different agencies that helped her deal with the situation and allowed her to take responsibility of the situation and change it. Differences in behavior, customs and traditions can be problems the clients deal with and can cause situational problems as well. Another situation that could create major problems for clients are unemployment, this situation could easily cause psychological and physiological issues as well. This situation can cause economic difficulties that the whole family may have to face as a whole. Professional helpers can identify a client’s problem by establishing whether the client’s needs are being met. This theory is called the Hierarchical perspective which was described by Abraham Maslow but later divided into two categories: (D) deficiency needs and (B) being needs. (Woodside & McClam 2012) This perspective states that if a person is not able to meet their needs such as food and shelter, they will not be able to focus on other needs such as self esteem and independence.
With problems such as child abuse, neglect or removing a child from a home, many of their physical, safety and self esteem needs may not be met and they will need help with getting these needs met in order to restore them to a supportive healthy environment. When needs are met, concern shifts to higher-order needs such as self esteem, independence and self actualization. (Woodside & McClam 2012) Within the societal perspective, problems are experienced by clients as a result of changes in the society that has left the client in an unfamiliar situation. A major societal problem that clients are dealing with is homelessness. I have learned that communities are experiencing homelessness on all levels due to high unemployment rates, mental illness and company downsizing and merging responsibilities now. The mental illness concerns are not being attended to adequately which is causing a lot of people to not be able to hold jobs, advance in jobs, etc. Some clients may turn to criminal behavior to make ends meet which causes other problems like clients ending up in the criminal justice system.
Other clients who may experience societal changes are veterans who are mentally ill and children who are not able to take care of themselves and are relying on other clients whose dealing with societal issues themselves. These children clients are at a higher risk for domestic abuse, living with family who are dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. The environmental influence perspective emphasizes the importance of an individual’s environment on the person’s history, living situation and current problems they are experiencing. (Woodside & McClam 2012) Understanding the influences of the environment to the client will definitely be helpful when it comes to helping the client identify their problem. The most immediate influence on an individual are family which include parents interactions coming up in life, age and gender of siblings, and whether or not a parent or guardian was absent from the clients life.
The client’s neighborhood could be an influence as well. These influences can determine a person thought process and problem solving abilities throughout life. For example if a child lives in an environment where the parents abused drugs, participated in gangs and crime, then more than likely those influences are going to stay with that child and they will grow up thinking it’s the norm to engage in that behavior. Problems can be viewed in many different perspectives and the range of problems a client has can occur at different stages in a client’s life span.
The ranges of problems faced by clients are vast and unique to each individual, therefore it is imperative for the human service worker to understand each client and how each perspective relates to the client. Clients become part of the human service delivery system because they are experiencing a range of problems that has affected their quality of life. In most cases, there is never just one problem the client is facing, therefor the human service worker should be skilled in communication, listening, and problem-solving skills as well as knowledge of human needs.
Woodside, M.R. & McClam, T. (2012). An Introduction to Human Services (7th ed).