Human Services

A Guide to Credit for Prior Learning

Typical Learning Experiences of Students Earning Lower-Level Credit:

  • Work in the human services field, usually for at least a few years.
  • Attend training sessions in areas such as policies and procedures, empowerment of clients, values and ethics, supervision, delivery of services, cultural diversity, needs of special populations (e.g. homeless, mentally and physically handicapped, substance abusers, victims of AIDS/HIV, domestic violence victims, the elderly).

Typical Learning Experiences of Students Earning Upper-Level Credit:

  • Work in the human services field, usually for at least a few years, and often for more than two years in a supervisory capacity.
  • Attend training sessions in the areas listed above.
  • Play a role in the preparation and delivery of human service-related training sessions to subordinates.
  • Applicants for upper-level credit in this area often seek credit in more narrowly defined areas. Areas in which upper-level credit is often awarded are: the human service agency; the human service worker; service provider/client interaction; counseling; crisis intervention; human service policies; legal/ethical issues; case management; community organization; and education, and supervision.

Discussion Topics:

If students are familiar with some (but not necessarily all) of the following topics, they may be eligible for lower-level credit in the area of human services. If students are familiar with advanced questions, they may be eligible for upper-level credit. If knowledge of some of the topics is substantial, the students might consider requesting additional credit in more narrowly defined areas.

The Human Service Agency

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Define human service agency.
  • Describe specific types of agencies in which human service workers function.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Describe the inter-relationship between the human service agency as a single social institutional system and a part of an organized network of systems.

The Human Service Profession

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Define human services.
  • Define human needs.
  • Illustrate general areas in which human services are provided to people in need.
  • Summarize the scope of need in general areas of human service activity.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Explain why it is important to understand the various theoretical schools and approaches when studying human service workers’ activities related to: a) providing services to consumers, b) supervising staff, c) administering services, d) advocating, e) providing support services, f) developing individuals, groups, and communities.

The Human Service Worker

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Define human services worker.
  • Define the purpose and goals of the helping relationship and identify the major personal characteristics of the helper.
  • Explain the major functions human service workers perform.
  • State the personal values needed to work with special populations in a multicultural environment.
  • Explain how each of the following characteristics can improve the effectiveness of human service workers: a) empathy, b) genuineness, c) objective/subjective balance, d) self-awareness, e) acceptance, f) desire to help, g) patience.
  • Explain how each of the following basic helping skills can improve the effectiveness of human service workers: a) listening, b) communicating, c) giving feedback, d) observing, e) confronting, f) clarifying, g) report-writing.
  • Explain how each of the following basic helping skills can influence the human service workers’ use of basic helping skills: a) values, b) professional code of ethics, c) physical well-being, d) emotional well-being, e) environmental factors, f) multicultural awareness, g) prior training.
  • Summarize the skills used by community workers in human services.
  • Summarize the functions/tasks performed and training/education required in at least 6 human services career fields.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Describe some specific strategies used by human service practitioners to facilitate the linkage of service delivery systems to the environment.
  • Define the characteristics of reactive and proactive learning styles and explain their relationship to the methods of service delivery exhibited by the human service worker.

The Environment of Human Service Delivery

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Summarize several environmental conditions that contribute to the need for human services.
  • Describe the major social and political events/activities that have shaped the development of human service programs in the U.S.A.
  • Compare and contrast the medical and human services models of dysfunction.
  • Compare and contrast the psychoanalytic, humanist and behaviorist theoretical frameworks commonly used in group and individual approaches to psychological problems.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Explain how human service workers integrate contemporary theories into their work (e.g. medical model, behavioral approach, psychodynamic, humanist and alternative psychotherapies.)

Service Provider and Client Interaction

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • What are some of the socio-economic and cultural factors that can influence the provider/client relationship?
  • Discuss the ways in which gender and sexual orientation can influence perceptions on the part of both provider and client.
  • Explain the structure of the helping process, from the initial assessment, to problem-solving through contracts or goal-setting.
  • Summarize the different styles of helping relationships in the psychoanalytic, behaviorist and humanist approaches to human services.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Describe effective strategies for dealing with a client whose chemical addiction is impeding the helping relationship.
  • Given a case description, show effective techniques a human service worker might employ with a client whose behavior towards him or her is abusive, antagonistic or otherwise inappropriate.

Interviewing

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Describe the various types of interviews that take place in a human service agency.
  • Describe the phases of an interview.
  • Discuss the relevance of non-verbal cues during an interview.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Given a written script or audiotape of a human service worker’s interview with a client, show how the worker would evaluate his or her own performance.
  • Compare and contrast directive and non-directive interviewing techniques, evaluating their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Discuss the three characteristics of a question: open or closed, primary or secondary, neutral or leading. Give examples of each and show how they motivate or inhibit the client during the interview.

Counseling

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Describe the major theories of counseling.
  • Discuss your preferred counseling approach(es).
  • Define the following counseling skills: a) listening, b) observing, c) questioning, d) reflecting, e) interpreting, f) confronting, g) paraphrasing.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Given a case description, compare counseling the client applying two different counseling theories.
  • Explain how the counselor’s personality, unresolved issues, biases, etc. impact upon the client, and discuss strategies for increasing counselor self-awareness.
  • Explain how a counselor can use the concepts of systems theory in understanding and working with members of ethnic groups within pluralistic society.

Crisis Intervention

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Define crisis intervention.
  • Describe some of the specific situations in which a human service worker would be called upon to practice crisis intervention.
  • Summarize the human service worker’s role in crisis intervention.
  • Describe some effective techniques for dealing with a client in crisis.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Explain some of the appropriate steps a human service worker would take to follow-up after implementing crisis intervention.
  • How would a human service worker evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention?
  • Describe some of the strategies a human service worker may develop in order to prevent recurrence of crisis for that particular client.

Human Service Policies

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • What are two purposes for establishing policies within a human service agency?
  • Define three types of policies in human service agencies: people-processing, people-sustaining or people-changing approaches.
  • Describe the objectives of some common social welfare policies.
  • Describe the characteristics of social policy.
  • Summarize the steps involved in the process of developing social policy.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Discuss several analytical models of social policy, explaining their causes and consequences.
  • Give a critical analysis of the current social welfare policy from both conservative and liberal perspectives.

Legal and Ethical Issues

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Describe the legal rights of human service clients.
  • Summarize several characteristics of ethical behavior for human service workers.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Present arguments for and against deontology (the belief that actions are inherently good or bad) and utilitarianism (the belief that the goodness of an action is determined by its consequences).
  • Compare and contrast voluntary and involuntary services, and evaluate the ethical dilemma that arises when the client does not want the services offered by the human service worker.
  • Explain your position on confidentiality within the judicial system, addressing the issue of under what circumstances, if any, a human service worker is obligated to breach client/counselor privilege.

Case Management

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Define the role of advocate as part of a case manager’s duties.
  • To what specific services might a case manager link a client?
  • Describe some of the basic financial entitlements for which clients need assistance from the case manager.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Explain how a case manager might resolve the conflict between client need and availability of services.
  • Describe the criteria by which a case manager would evaluate the outcome of his or her issue-resolution strategies.
  • Given a case description, design a strategy that would facilitate client empowerment and explain how it would do so.

Community Organization and Education

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Explain the concept of mobilizing as it relates to helping people in the community work cooperatively to institute new resources.
  • Identify the major community structures and institutions with which the human service worker should be familiar.
  • Describe the community-centered model of practice, defining features such as multidisciplinary teams, commitment to prevention, use of social and community networks, coordination of services.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Choose a topic for a support group and demonstrate the strategies a human service worker would use to organize it and market it to the community.
  • Design an educational program, to be presented to community groups, which focuses on a widespread social issue, e.g. teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, AIDS/HIV, criminal behavior, health care.

Supervision and Management

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Identify the disciplines and educational training represented by professionals who perform the role of supervision in a human service agency.
  • Discuss the goals of supervision.
  • Describe some of the personal traits of a supervisor that will either enhance or impede the supervisory relationship.
  • Explain why each of the following management functions are important to the successful management of human service organizations: a) planning, b) organizing, c) staffing, d) leadership, e) control.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Explain why role-playing is an effective training tool, and describe how you would use it to evaluate a human service trainee’s performance.
  • Explain how supervision can be used to deal with the employee’s feelings and attitudes about his or her job, (e.g. to vent anger, express inadequacies, etc.)
  • Describe the strategies you would use to resolve personality conflicts with your employee or to present a performance evaluation that is less than satisfactory.

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