The Helping Relationship

The Helping Relationship

Understanding Human Services

The helping relationship refers to the relationship formed between the human service worker and the client. This relationship is based on providing relief from a particular problem or host of problems that hinder the quality of life for the client. The helping relationship is more exactly understood as a process of helping.

The helping process is a process that takes place between the human services worker and client including resource usage and intervention options. There are three components of the helping process which directly relate to the competencies necessary in human services workers. These components include assessment, planning, and application (Hasenfeld, 2010). These components create a cycle or process of help which is focused on solutions or the development of interventions that improve a condition for a client such as drug counseling for addicts.

The helping process is divided to create a robust system of help. For example, the application process of interventions contains the subprocess of documentation. The client’s progress is documented to ensure that the treatment or interventions are working (Burger, 2008). Documentation is a form of control intended to manage client assistance in terms of programs while simultaneously providing feedback for programs.

The components of the helping relationship are vital to the ongoing improvement as well as efficient use of resources. For example, within the assessment process, clients’ needs are determined based on background current issues and other profile information. This identification of needs provides workers and agencies with the ability to apply interventions appropriately. For example, abuse victims often need legal as well as financial aid in order to escape the environments they are being abused within (Burger, 2008). Resources for legal aid may be recommended in order to fully facilitate the benefit of the helping relationship.

The helping relationship relies on the competency of the worker in order to fully actualize. For example, workers are often faced with client resistance. In order to overcome this resistance, workers must be able to communicate in a manner that conveys the desire to help the client and engenders trust. This communication competency is bolstered by the identification and understanding of the causes of client resistance. Resistance can be caused by many different elements such as the client’s unhappiness with a change or circumstance (Woodside & McClam, 2012). Understanding these types of issues and having the competencies to communicate with the client can reduce resistance and inspire a more effective working relationship.


Burger, W. (2008). Human services in contemporary america. New York, NY: Cengage.

Hasenfeld, Y. (2010). Human services as complex organizations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Thousand Oaks.

Woodside, M., & McClam, T. (2012). Models of service delivery: In An introduction to human services (7 ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.


Triola Vincent. Thu, Feb 11, 2021. The Helping Relationship Retrieved from

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