Helper Helpee

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1.1 Helping work differs from other supports available such as counselling, coaching and friendship; these are qualified professionals.

Helpers use counselling skills as part of their role, but they are not qualified professional counsellors. A helper is somebody to be there for support and listen and to help guide the helpee along the right path. Helpers work mainly as volunteers, where as counsellors have a primary role in conducting counselling, helpers usually have their primary role in another area and use their helping skills in voluntary and support capacities. For example, helpers are often trained to be Social Workers, Nurses, or Probation Officers. Helping relationships may include a teacher and a student, a social worker and their client or a Doctor and a patient.

Counselling is often described as ‘talking therapy’ and is a process by which counsellors are trained to explore and address psychological issues in peoples’ lives, for example depression and anxiety. Counselling mostly takes place in offices; however a helper can give guidance almost anywhere, for example the home setting.

Other supports such as friendship and coaching also differ from the role of a helper. A friend will often give advice and influence. A helper can listen and give guidance and will be able to refer onto a professional such as a qualified counsellor. A counsellor is not influential, or persuasive, they will listen and aid the client to work through issues without judgement.

With their differing roles, it is important to understand and have knowledge of the importance of clearly stated limits of ability within each role. As previously stated, a friend may influence, and will most probably give judgement based on their knowledge of their friend. Both a helper and a counsellor must impose strict boundaries and should not develop friendships with the helpee, which may influence and cause a conflict of interest.

1.1 As a helper I must develop my...
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