Friday January 22, 2010
Human services worker" is a generic term for
people who hold professional and
paraprofessional jobs in such diverse settings as
group homes and halfway houses; correctional,
mental retardation, and community mental health
centers; family, child, and youth service agencies,
and programs concerned with alcoholism, drug
abuse, family violence, and aging.
Depending on the employment setting and the
kinds of clients served there, job titles and duties
vary a great deal.
The roots of the Department of Health and
Human Services go back to the earliest days of
the nation as early as 1798 with the passage of
an act for the relief of sick and disabled
seamen, which established a federal network of
hospitals for the care of merchant seamen,
forerunner of today's U.S. Public Health
The primary purpose of the human service
worker is to assist individual and communities
to function as effectively as possible in the
major domains of living.
Social and human service assistants provide
services to clients to help them improve their
quality of life.
They assess clients' needs, investigate their
eligibility for benefits and services such as food
stamps, Medicaid and welfare, and help clients
They also arrange for transportation, if
necessary, and provide emotional support.
They monitor and keep case records on clients
and report progress to supervisors and case
They may organize and lead group activities,
assist clients in need of counseling or crisis
intervention, or administer food banks or
emergency fuel programs.
In halfway houses, group homes, and government-
supported housing programs, they assist adults
who need supervision with personal hygiene and
daily living tasks.
They review clients' records, ensure that they take
prescribed medication, talk with family members,
and confer with medical personnel and other
caregivers to provide insight into clients' needs.
Assistants also give emotional support and help
clients become involved in community recreation
programs and other activities
A strong desire to help others is an important
consideration for a job as a human services
Individuals who show patience,
understanding, and caring in their dealings
with others are highly valued by employers.
Other important personal traits include
communication skills, a strong sense of
responsibility, and the ability to manage time
Human services workers in community-based
settings move around a great deal in the course of
They may be inside one day and outdoors on a
field visit the next.
They, too, work a standard 40-hour week.
Human services workers in residential settings
generally work in shifts.
Because residents of group homes need
supervision in the evening and at night, 7 days a
week, evening and weekend hours are required.
Working conditions of social and human service
Some work in offices, clinics, and hospitals, while
others work in group homes, shelters, and day
Traveling to see clients is required for some jobs.
Sometimes working with clients can be dangerous,
even though most agencies do everything they can
to ensure their workers' safety.
Some work in the evening and on weekends
Despite differences in what they are called and
what they do, human services workers generally
perform under the direction of professional staff.
Those employed in mental health settings, for
example, may be assigned to assist a treatment
team made up of social workers, psychologists,
and other human services professionals.
The amount of responsibility these workers
assume and the degree of supervision they receive
vary a great deal.
Some workers are on their own most of the time
and have little direct supervision; others work
under close direction
Human services workers in community,
residential care, or institutional settings
provide direct services such as leading a group,
organizing an activity, or offering individual
They may handle some administrative support
Specific job duties reflect organizational policy
and staffing patterns, as well as the worker's
educational preparation and experience
Case Worker Family Support Worker Youth Workers Social Services Liaison Community Outreach Worker
Social Work Assistant
Residential Counselor Behavioral Management Aide Case Management Aide
Community Action Worker
Eligibility Counselor Alcohol Counselor Adult Day Care Worker Drug Abuse Counselor
Life Skills Instructor Client Advocate Neighborhood Worker Social Service Aide
Halfway House Counselor
Group Activities Aide Social Services Technician Therapeutic Assistant Probation Officer
Assistant Case Manager
Case Monitor Parole Officer Child Advocate Gerontology Aide
Rehabilitation Case Worker
Juvenile Court Liaison Home Health Aide Group Home Worker Child Abuse Worker
Crisis Intervention Counselor Mental Health Aide Community Organizer Intake Interviewer
1. Understanding the nature of human systems:
individual, group, organization, community
and society, and their major interactions.
All workers will have preparation, which
helps them to understand human
development, group dynamics, organizational
structure, how communities are organized,
how national policy is set, and how social
systems interact in producing human
2. Understanding the conditions that promote or
limit optimal functioning and classes of deviations
from desired functioning in the major human
Workers will have understanding of the major
models of causation that are concerned with both
the promotion of healthy functioning and with
This includes medically oriented, socially
oriented, psychologically-behavioral oriented, and
educationally oriented models.
3. Skill in identifying and selecting interventions
which promote growth and goal attainment.
The worker will be able to conduct a competent
problem analysis and to select those strategies,
services or interventions that are appropriate to
helping clients attain a desired outcome.
Interventions may include assistance, referral,
advocacy, or direct counseling.
4. Skill in planning, implementing and evaluating
The worker will be able to design a plan of action for
an identified problem and implement the plan in a
This requires an understanding of problem analysis,
decision-analysis, and design of work plans.
This generic skill can be used with all social systems
and adapted for use with individual clients or
organizations. Skill in evaluating the interventions is
5. Consistent behavior in selecting interventions
that are congruent with the values of one's self,
clients, the employing organization and the
Human Service profession.
This cluster requires awareness of one's own
value orientation, an understanding of
organizational values as expressed in the
mandate or goal statement of the organization,
human service ethics and an appreciation of
the client's values, life style and goals
6. Process skills that are required to plan and implement
This cluster is based on the assumption that the worker
uses himself as the main tool for responding to service
The worker must be skillful in verbal and oral
communication; interpersonal relationships and other
related personal skills, such as self-discipline and time
It requires that the worker be interested in and motivated
to conduct the role that he has agreed to fulfill and to apply
himself to all aspects of the work that the role requires.
What is the significance of a human service
worker in today's society?
When you think of things like what has
happened in Haiti and hurricane Katrina, what
is the significance of a HSW?
Write one page answering the question above.
I would also like to know what kind of human
service worker you are.
THE HELPING PROCESS
What is the Helping Process?
Constructive helping is a collaborative
process through which an experienced helper
(counselor) empowers a person seeking help
(client) to define, strategize, and implement
The counselor-client relationship is grounded
in trust and respect
What are the stages in the
1. Active listening
2. Problem identification
3. Problem solving
4. Follow through
The counselor listens carefully and
empathically to the client's story to 1) gain an
understanding of the client's problem, 2)
learn how the client thinks, feels and acts, 3)
discover the client's strengths, assets and
personal power, and 4) build rapport with the
The counselor, using such techniques as
open-ended questioning, reflecting and
paraphrasing, assists the client to identify
and clarify the problem
The counselor assists the client to 1) define
goals (what the client wants, how the client
would like things to be), 2) generate
strategies to accomplish these goals (how the
client may attain these wants and make
things be the way the client would like), 3)
examine each strategy for potential problems
and outcomes, 4) review support, strengths
and resources, and 5) decide on a plan of
The counselor provides the client with
ongoing support and encouragement and
opportunities to 1) examine actions taken for
what did and did not work, 2) restrategize
actions based on this examination, and 3)
recognize and own personal strengths and
History of recreational therapy
The recreational therapy profession can be traced back to
the 1850's when Florence Nightingale proposed that
recreation experiences could be drawn upon to improve the
In 1931 the American Red Cross began hiring recreation
The term "recreational therapy" was first coined by the
Menninger brothers who were enthusiastic for the
inclusion of recreational therapy as a treatment of persons
with mental health disorders.
Since the 1940's, recreational therapists have served as
active members of the interdisciplinary treatment team
addressing the psychosocial and physical rehabilitation
needs of the consumer
What is Recreation Therapy
Recreational therapy, also referred to as recreation
therapy and therapeutic recreation, contributes to the
broad spectrum of health care through treatment,
education, and the provision of adapted recreational
opportunities — all of which aid in improving and
maintaining physical, cognitive, emotional, and social
functioning, preventing secondary health conditions,
enhancing independent living skills and overall quality of
Participation is the ultimate goal of Therapeutic Recreation
and is the inclusion of the client into the least restrictive
setting for recreation and leisure opportunities
What do they do?
RT provide treatment services and recreation activities for
individuals with disabilities or illnesses.
They use a variety of techniques, including arts and crafts,
animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama,
music, and community outings, therapists improve and
maintain the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of
Therapists help individuals reduce depression, stress, and
anxiety; recover basic motor functioning and reasoning
abilities; build confidence; and socialize effectively so that
they can enjoy greater independence and reduce or
eliminate the effects of their illness or disability
What do they do? (cont.)
In addition, therapists help people with disabilities
integrate into the community by teaching them how to
use community resources and recreational activities.
Recreational therapists are different from recreation
workers, who organize recreational activities primarily
Where can you find a RT
Recreational Therapists may work with a wide range of
individuals requiring health services including geriatric,
mental health, addictions, general medicine, physical
medicine and rehabilitation, developmental disabilities
and pediatric clients.
Most recreational therapists are employed by health care
agencies and work in traditional inpatient hospitals or
health facilities but an increasing number are being hired
in residential facilities, community mental health centers,
adult day care programs, substance abuse centers, hospice
care, community centers and in school systems.
There is a growing trend for recreational therapists to work
in private practice providing services in the home and
community as well
How they assess their clients needs
Recreational therapists assess clients using
information from observations, medical records,
standardized assessments, the medical staff, the
clients' families, and the clients themselves.
They then develop and carry out therapeutic
interventions consistent with the clients' needs and
For example, they may encourage clients who are
isolated from others or who have limited social skills to
play games with others, and they may teach right-
handed people with right-side paralysis how to use
their unaffected left side to throw a ball or swing a
How they assess their clients needs
Recreational therapists may instruct patients in
relaxation techniques to reduce stress and tension,
stretching and limbering exercises, proper body
mechanics for participation in recreational activities,
pacing and energy conservation techniques, and team
activities. As they work, therapists observe and
document a patient's participation, reactions, and
Types of RTs
In healthcare settings, such as hospitals and rehabilitation
centers, recreational therapists treat and rehabilitate
individuals with specific health conditions, usually in
conjunction or collaboration with physicians, nurses,
psychologists, social workers, and physical and
In long-term and residential care facilities, recreational
therapists use leisure activities—especially structured
group programs—to improve and maintain their clients'
general health and well-being.
They also may provide interventions to prevent the client
from suffering further medical problems and
Different types of RTs
Community-based recreational therapists may work in
park and recreation departments, special education
programs for school districts, or assisted living, adult
day care, and substance abuse rehabilitation centers.
In these programs, therapists use interventions to
develop specific skills, while providing opportunities
for exercise, mental stimulation, creativity, and fun.
Those few who work in schools help counselors,
teachers, and parents address the special needs of
students, including easing disabled students'
transition into adult life.
Recreational therapists provide services in special
activity rooms but also plan activities and prepare
documentation in offices.
When working with clients during community
integration programs, they may travel locally to teach
clients how to use public transportation and other
public areas, such as parks, playgrounds, swimming
pools, restaurants, and theaters.
Therapists often lift and carry equipment.
Recreational therapists must be comfortable working
with people who are ill or disabled.
Therapists must be patient, tactful, and persuasive
when working with people who have a variety of
Ingenuity, a sense of humor, and imagination are
needed to adapt activities to individual needs, and
good physical coordination is necessary to
demonstrate or participate in recreational activities.