Dynamics of helping, the role of the helper, the role of receiver, Need of creating helping climate

Explain the dynamics of helping, the role of the helper and the receiver. Discuss the need of creating helping climate in you organisation or an organisation you re familiar with by examples. Briefly describe the organisation you are referring to.

Helping can be reactive or proactive. When help is given to someone who asks for help or is seen as needing help, this is reactive behaviour (responding to the need of the other person). On the other hand, if help is given because of the helper’s need to give (rather than because the receiver’s needs to receive), helping is proactive. This distinction has been very well made in the Indian ethos on the basis of the need of the receiver or of the giver. When the receiver’s need is dominant it is called Bhiksha (whether asking or giving help), but if the need of the giver is more important then it is called Daan (both while giving and receiving help). This distinction is not found in other cultures. This distinction is useful to indicate that giving help as a motive is aroused not only by other person or group’s needed help, but also the giver’s need. Moreover, the given has a higher status in Bhiksha, whereas in Dann the recipient has a higher status, and obliges the giver by accepting help. Factor analysis of helping behaviour has thrown up some interesting factors. Two factors are particularly significant. One planned versus spontaneous help. Planned help is based on detailed analysis and preparation of help to be given, to meet the needs of the recipient. Sopntaneous help is response to request received or the signals given by individuals or groups in urgent need of help. Crisis is a good example of spontaneous help, there is no time for detailed planning of help.
The second factor is giving versus doing. Helping can be either in terms of giving material help, by parting away with some material possession. One passes on material money to other group or person. Doing requires much more initiative and effort involving collaborative relationship.


Helping relationship involves two parties, the helper and the receiver. Four processes are involved in this relationship: help giving, help receiving (what is given by the helper), help seeking (actively asking for help), and help reciprocation (mutual helping relationship). Helping relationship operates in a context (situation), so, the situational variables are also relevant.

Studies on altruism and prosocial behaviour are intimately related to helping. Explanation of the motive to help has been made in terms of altruism .
In the literature the terms helper, donor and agent have been used for one who gives help; recipient, receiver, helper, and client have been used for one to whom help is given. In the Western literature helping process has been considered only from the point of view of the need of the recipient.

Helping process involves some values underlying relationship between the helper and the receiver.

The central issue in a helping process relates to the values of the helper. The helping behaviour and strategies flow out of the basic stand he takes in relation to the receiver. Figure gives in summary the dynamics of the helping process in value terms. The helper should ask himself/herself what values he/she holds and with what consequences.
Okun has suggested that the following set of images of people is essential for effective helping process.

1) People are responsible and capable of making their own choices and decisions.
2) People are controlled to certain extent by their environment, but they are able to direct their lives more than they restricted options due to environmental variables or inherent biological or personality predisposition’s.
3) Behaviors are purposive and goal directed. People are continuously striving towards meeting their own needs, ranging from basic physiological needs to abstract self-actualization (fulfilling physiological, psychological and aesthetic needs).
4) People want to feel good about themselves and continuously need positive confirmation of their own self-worth from significant others. They want to feel and behave congruently, to reduce dissonance between internal and external realities.
5) People are capable of learning new behaviours and unlearning existing behaviours and they are subject to environmental and internal consequences of their behaviours, which in turn serve as reinforcements. They strive for reinforcements that are meaningful and congruent with their personal values and belief system.
6) People’s personal problems may arise from unfinished business (un-resolved conflicts) stemming from the past (concerning events and relationships) and, although some exploration of causation may be beneficial in some cases, most problems can be worked through by focusing on the here and now, on what choices the person has now. Problems are also caused by incongruencies between internal (how you see things inside) and external (how you see things outside) perceptions in the present.
7) Many problems experienced by people today are societal or systemic rather than personal or interpersonal. People are capable of learning to effect choices and changes within the system as well as from without.

In effective helping relationships, individual receiving help is able to:
• See new possibilities
• Notice things about oneself that one was not aware of
• Able to unfreeze oneself
• Face up to the reality of the situation or face up to oneself
• Open the doors for new experiences
• Develop security and courage to deal with challenges
• Understand people events and situations better
• Work out the consequences of one’s actions
• Piece together different things about oneself and understand why one acts or why one sees things the way one does.

The Receiver

By asking for help, the receiver places himself/herself in a weaker position. If the helper places himself in the stronger position of a “given” the relationship may degenerate into rebellion or passivity by the client or rejection of the receiver by the helper. Secondly, if the receiver and the helper are excessively concerned with intimacy, it can produce pressure toward conformity and mutual sympathy which may cause the helper to lose his/her perspective on the client’s problem and the client to lose his/her respect for the helper’s expertise. Thirdly, we have already noted that if helper’s concern for influencing is too high, the client will not be motivated to receive help. Finally, the self image and attitude of the receiver is also important. The client must see himself/herself as capable of improvement. If this is not so, then a major portion of the helping activity must center on building self-confidence and optimism before learning can take place.

Thus the receiver’s personal characteristics are and important part of the helping relationship. One helping mode, examined in Unit12, is feedback. The individuals tend to become defensive when they feel threatened by the feedback they receive, for example when they are criticized or blamed. Some amount of defensive behaviour in the face of perceived threat is not uncommon, but if the receivers operate primarily from a defensive position, exploration gets blocked, and the objectives of learning and growth get frustrated. This aspect has been examined in details in Unit 10 which elaborates defensive and confronting behaviour.