Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Art of Helping. Step 5, 6 and 7

Step 5: To understand what the other understands

That the helper should know more than the person in need is in my opinion understandable. The professional helper has through an education a form of competence or skill which gives a kind of starting point in order to be a helper. But more important is the fact that one must know what the other knows. This suggests that the person in need of help also has an understanding of the situation, and it is more important to understand this and what the other knows than it is to know more than the other. This is a fundamental condition in order to help the other person. It seems difficult to help anyone in my opinion without understanding what the other understands. This indicates the reponsibility and the exertion which the helper must be willing to take upon oneself.

Step 6: All true helping begins with a humbling

Before the helping process begins, the helper must humble his-/herself. This is not the same as being humiliated. No one likes to be humiliated. Humiliation is a condition, a state of being, which is to be avoided. Humiliation is synonymous, to some degree, with shame. The Norwegian word ydmykelse can mean both a humbling and a humiliation. This may be cause for some misunderstanding when the concept is used out of its context. What is meant in Kierkegaards context of the Art of Helping, is the need for being meek and modest in meeting a person seeking help. This indicates that the helper must have an open attitude in meeting the person in need,

Step 7: To humble oneself

This is an elaboration of the previous step in the art og helping others. Not only does the helping process begin with a humbling, but the helper must humble oneself under the person one wants to help. This meaning that the one asking for help should feel welcomed, valued, cared for, respected, and recognized. The relationship between a professional helper and a patient/client is usually described as being asymmetrical, with the professional helper in a more powerful position than the one in need of help. Turning this power relationship the other way around and demanding the the professional helper humble oneself under one patient/client suggests a radical change in attitude and power divison.

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