PRINCIPLES FOR HELPING CLIENTS WORK ON ISSUES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The following principles of getting value from the helping process serve as guidelines for choosing issues to be worked on. These seven principles overlap; more than one may apply at the same time.
- * Determine whether or not helping is called for or should be continued.
- * If there is a crisis, first help the client manage the crisis.
- * Begin with the issue that seems to be causing the client the most pain.
- * Begin with issues the client sees as important and is willing to work on.
- * Begin with some manageable sub-problem of a larger problem situation.
- * Move as quickly as possible to a problem that, if handled, will lead to some kind of general improvement.
- * Focus on a problem for which the benefits will outweigh the costs.
Underlying all these principles is an attempt to make clients’ initial experience of the helping process rewarding so that they will have the incentives they need to continue to work. These principles are guidelines not a set of step-by-step directives. The outcome is important: clients working on issues that will make a difference in their lives. Examples of the use and abuse of these principles follow.