From Our Clinical Director: Top Ten Features of Help-Giving

written by FCPG on June 5, 2013 in Research with no comments

Last week on our blog, we talked about some of the key features of family-centred practice, which I am very excited to be presenting about at a conference in Nova Scotia this week. One of the features we talked about is “help-giving”.

Though it sounds like a fairly simple concept, help-giving is actually characterized by a number of features. With the help of the Dunst & Trivette** article I talked about last week, I’ve highlighted the ten most important features below:

1. Help should be given from a sincere place of  “warmth, caring and encouragement.”

2. Help should be given when it is asked for and should not be pushed on the family by the professional.

3. The family should be involved in all decisions about services they recieve.

4. Help-giving should be in line with the family’s culture and way of doing things, as well as with the way that people in similar situations would seek help.

5. The professional should respect the family’s wishes as to what supports and resources are appropriate or acceptable for them.

6. The cost of receiving help should not exceed the benefits provided to the family.

7. Help should increase the family’s self-esteem, because this will enable them to be more successful in seeking support.

8. Help should be given in a way that emphasizes meeting needs through informal supports and resources  (i.e., friends, family, community).

9. The professional should tailor services to allow for collaboration with the family. (e.g., parent training, behaviour management in home routines).

10. Help-giving should teach the family how to advocate for supports in ways that they are comfortable and confident doing.

To boil it down even further: help should be given in an empowering, collaborative and supportive way. That’s why help-giving is one of the key features of family-centred practice.

Stay tuned for the next post in our series on family-centred practice next week: The Top Four Things Families Want to Know More About.




** Dunst, C., & Trivette, C. (2009). Capacity-building family-systems intervention practices. Journal of Family Social Work12(2), 119-143. A link to the full text of the article is available here.