A helping profession is one in which theprofessional creates opportunities and empowers people (clients) in need toimprove on their standard of living and become invested in their personalgrowth and development. They are on the front lines of each client’s crisis asa gateway to a solution. Helping professions use theories as a means ofintervention and a way to understand and affect human behaviour based on commonresponses to interactive environments or stimulants, such as cognitivebehaviour theory, looking glass perspective, theories of socialization, orempty chair technique. Helping professions also implement ethical codes inorder to safeguard clients information, rights and dignity. Helping professionscan be conspicuous, like social work and psychology, or inconspicuous, liketeaching and ministry.
Professionals in this field help individuals andcommunities to develop substantial communication ethics- that is the notionthat human behaviours is governed by their morals, which impacts communication.Professionals seek to develop trust and mutual respect in their relationshipwith the client in order to build a foundation for the client’s acceptance ofhelp and improvement. Types of helping professions include: Mental Health Counsellors, Marriageand Family Therapists, School and Career Counsellor, Special Education Teachersand Rehabilitation Counsellors.People involved in helping profession ultimately seek to cultivate the client’smental, emotional, physical and psychological well-being into an acceptablestandard of behaviour and lifestyle. Within the field of helping professionsthere are a myriad of different disciplines which people may enter. Thesedisciplines can be compared and contrasted because of their similar yetdifferent natures.
Two such disciplines are social work and counselling. According to the Canadian Association of SocialWorkers, Socialwork is a profession concerned with helping individuals, families, groups andcommunities to enhance their individual and collective well-being. It aims tohelp people develop their skills and their ability to use their own resourcesand those of the community to resolve problems. Social work is concerned withindividual and personal problems but also with broader social issues such aspoverty, unemployment and domestic violence.According to the American CounsellingAssociation, Counselling can be defined as ‘a professional relationship thatempowers diverse individuals, families, and other groups to accomplish mentalhealth, wellness, education and career goals.
” Counselling can take the form ofrehabilitation as well as future planning however it is generally gearedtowards having people setting sustainable goals which promote a healthy mentalstate as well as safe and secure life style. Counsellors have to be completelyobjective and non-judgemental when attempting to aid their clientele. With both fields having similar mandates it becomes easierfor them to be compared and contrasted as we take a look through thesimilarities and the differences of the two disciples. Both Counselling and Social work will require some form of theoryimplementation to aid in mental, physical, emotional, spiritual andintellectual rehabilitation.
In the case of counselling, however, the therapymay be more comprehensive; in that there is less tangible intervention and moreof a renewing of the mind. Both careers are geared towards having people adapttowards their environment and improving their overall state into one which ismore productive or stable. Social Work however also focuses on theenvironment’s response to the individual, based on the theory PIE (Person InEnvironment Perspective). Both careers may explore different methods in helpingpeople to develop their lives, but they are still working towards a commongoal.
Both Social Work andCounselling sessions occur in a confidential setting, meaning that whatever isdiscussed during the session will not be revealed to anyone outside of thesession unless the client is informed and has consented (with exception inSocial Work- such as child abuse). Through this people are able to feel morecomfortable and be more willing to cooperate as their privacy will not beviolated. Both fields also do extensive work inreintegration for areas such as behavioural misconduct as well as substanceabuse. The activities for both professions often times overlap as both helpingprofessions are geared towards improving the culture, mind-set and environmentof an individual that may lead to the addictions. It is important to note thata social worker may perform the responsibilities of a counsellor but acounsellor cannot perform the responsibilities of a social worker, as a socialworker has a wider range of responsibilities than that of a counsellor. A counsellor may be focused more on givingclients methods to solve their problems however a social worker will be morelikely to work alongside the person to have them join a program which may aidthem in their problems.
A social worker also provides various services tohis/her clientele such as employment assistance, recommendation torehabilitation programs, placing people on social welfare programs, aidingothers in getting accepted to educational institutions. These are a few of theservices which are offered by a social worker, while a counsellor will do workmore along the lines of substance counselling, marriage counselling, couplescounselling, stress counselling. The work of the social worker is essentiallybroader however it does comprise the functions of a counsellor. Both Counselling and Social work havingoverlapping responsibilities which makes them easily confused, in fact aqualified clinical social worker is able to find employment in some counsellingfields. With similar mandates of aiding those in need and improving their socialand mental condition, it can be concluded that all professions in the helpingprofession overlap in one way or another thus ensuring that there is a constantlabour force of people working towards the betterment of others. The maindifference between Social Work and other helping professions is the Theories,the code of ethics and the approach to the problem.