First, let me acknowledge that anyone who is a part of the helping field in any capacity are unique and awesome people! I may be a little biased. We devote ourselves to helping others and give tirelessly, while having to be reminded to take care of ourselves. It isn’t an easy thing to do or easy to understand by people who have chosen different paths in life.
Relationships are an important part of life. Today’s society appears to display increasingly individualistic characteristics, and the importance of connection to others doesn’t appear to be high on the priority list of an increasing number of people. We are a dynamic species that is forever evolving and we learn to grow from each other. We all have different expertise in many different things, and when we acknowledge the greatness in each other we are a force in which to be reckoned.
As a clinician, I place a large amount of trust in the therapeutic relationship that any client and I create. I believe it to be an important tool that drives a person to meet their therapeutic goals. Relationships are selfless and require a form of reciprocity. In a relationship you can’t be rigid, you have to be flexible, and you have to trust the person in which you’re in a relationship. One must be able to communicate in a way that the person you are in a relationship with can understand. You have to be able to speak THEIR language in order to get YOUR needs met. In a therapeutic relationship, your client’s need is your need! When interacting with others on behalf of a client, you have to learn to maintain and rekindle relationships with other professionals for the benefit of your client. We are a wealth of knowledge and resources to each other. In some instances we are having a difficult time putting our constant need to be heard or be right, and the clients are missing out. When a clinician is able to be open to another perspective of a client’s health through an interaction with another helper to become a part of a team for that moment, the client wins! When we are unable to do this, we along with our clients are missing out on the vast knowledge of the individuals that devote themselves to helping people. Not only does that client suffer, but future client that you serve are not privy to that information through you. This speaks to the medical professional, psychiatrist, social worker, counselor and psychologist. We all have multiple things to offer if we could just, “Get over ourselves.” Everyone is right in the scenario, but everyone can’t be right 100%. Clients rarely have 100% medical, psychiatric, or any other need. This is suggesting that people are one-dimensional and can only have one need at a time. People are multifaceted, we have several needs at one time. In some cases the client may have a 50% medical 15% psychiatrist and 15% social work and 20% counseling need. If everyone is trying to be 100% of the solution the client tends to get too much of something and not enough of the others, and as a result one or some needs may go unmet. Clients have the tendency to become overwhelmed with everyone’s 100% and can walk away with nothing or being half served.
In order to collaborate and help “the whole person”, we, as people in helping roles should learn to recognize what percentage to give in each situation. Endless years of not knowing how to be in relationship with each other is causing the clients to go without. Every piece of an individual makes a whole. One piece, sometimes, can’t function properly is the other part is malfunctioning. We have to attend to a relationship with whomever is providing a service to the client. We do not have to understand each role, but at minimum we should respect each other as the piece to the clients puzzle. If we are on the same page about nothing else, it should be the client. No, you will not like everything about every person you interact with on behalf of a client, but you may love what expertise they can provide to your client. Especially if your client has history with this provider and respects this provider. Honoring the client’s relationships with anyone is helpful in establishing and respecting your own relationship with a client. You may be the best person for the job, but if the client has no relationship with you the likelihood of you being any service to them decreases.
Forming and maintaining relationships increases the quality of care your client receives. To think that a profession whose work is created through establishing relationships, inability to establish effective working relationships with each other is prohibiting helpers from doing what we all set out to do…HELP. Remember, the relationship isn’t about the helper, but the people who are able to be helped through the relationships.
“Giving connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging.” – Deepak Chopra