The Helping Process

The Helping Process

Avery Schwaderer



Andrea Winston

The Helping Process

The helping process is a collective and necessary measure between the helper/interviewer/human service professional, client, and other resources to advance wellbeing and mental health. The helping process comprises of three components; assessment, planning and application. A cycle through these components can continue until the most satisfactory result is met. During the helping process the helper/interviewer/human service professional must ensure they document the progress being made by the client as well as monitor the client’s willingness, while ensuring that all ethical standards are met during the interview or helping process. This paper will describe the significance of case review, report writing and documentation, and client participation during the helping process, how a strength-based approach is used in each phase, and describes the ethical considerations that must be addressed during each phase.

The first component of the helping process is the assessment stage. This phase includes the client and human service professional initial contact, identifying issues that need to be resolved, and gathering information (McClam & Woodisde, 2012). The most desirable method of using this process is considered the strength-based approach. This system is designed to build a solution to the issues based on the client’s strengths (McClan & Woodside, 2012). This approach is used often by human service professionals because it promotes accountability with embracing challenges rather than ignoring them (McClan & Woodside, 2012). At the beginning during the assessment phase the human service professional will determine what services if any are needed and if the client is eligible for such services. This stage is also when documentation is initiated and will continue during the helping process. The human service professional also informs the client of the organization’s details, confirms confidentiality agreement, and evaluates the client’s willingness to be helped (McClan & Woodside, 2012). Demographic and background information is important for the human service professional to get a feel of who the client is and their culture. Information such as education level, age, religious and/or culture beliefs, marital status, and employment are all important details that help a human service professional mold the helping process for the client’s individuality. Along with gathering this information the human service professional tries to identify the client’s strengths and weaknesses by the use of closed and open-ended questions (McClan & Woodside, 2012). Communication and listening skills are vital for human service professionals to be effective at helping others. Using these skills human service professionals can learn about important life experiences the client may have had along with their reasons for seeking counseling as well as their hesitations of receiving counseling (McClan & Woodside, 2012). If a human service professional is not well enough trained to use verbal and nonverbal communication in a helping relationship situation they may miss vital information or give off vibes that may deter the client from sharing appropriately for the helping process to be effective. As the helping process develops we transition to the planning phase. The planning stage uses information obtained by the previous stage to create a plan of action and identify all applicable services to be used (McClan & Woodside, 2012). At this stage the client takes a more active role in their own success by identifying goals they would like to reach and creating a network of support with the people around them. This active role empowers the client and gives them more initiative to succeed in the helping process (McClan & Woodside, 2012). The final stage of the helping process is the application phase. At this point the plan that has been devised in stage two from the information gathered in stage one is implemented and its effectiveness is evaluated. The human service professional is responsible for helping the client make contact with outside resources and continually checking the client’s status (McClan & Woodside, 2012). In cases when barriers inhibit the plan then it is the human service professional’s responsibility to then reevaluated and revise the plan in action to ensure that regression from the client does not appear (McClan & Woodside, 2012). The ultimate goal of the helping process is to build confidence in the client so that they can develop their independence from the helping process eventually resulting in the termination of services.

Documentation is a vital part of human services. It ensures that all information has been recorded and can be used when making referrals are reevaluating a client. Also, from an ethical codes point of view it ensures that all clients were treated by ethical standards. Often time’s information can be misconstrued or forgotten after a case has been terminated for some time. Accurate documentation can be used to review that case if something arises or be used as reference for another case that client may have or another who’s situation is similar. Case reviews are important to preserving the ethical codes of human services as well as ensuring that services were met accordingly and did not breach any standards (McClan & Woodside, 2012). Inaccurate documentation can lead to issues regarding the competency of the human service professional and questions regarding the efficiency of their helping role (McClan & Woodside, 2012).

In conclusion, the main objective of a human service professional is to successfully guide a client through the helping process in which they document, plan, and assist in execution of said plan by the client. They ensure the success of the client by using listening and communication skills as well as upholding the ethical standards of the human services field. The client is also responsible for assisting this process forming a helping relationship between the helper and the client. This is a process that has been molded through years of research and continues to progress helping us learn more about improving the process making it that much more successful.


McClam, T., & Woodside, M. (2012). The helping process: Assessment to termination. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.