Monday, January 12, 2015

Freedom to Help: Denied

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. As someone who has gotten into a helping profession because I actually like to help people, I find the noose around my neck filled with paperwork and insurance regulations gets tighter and tighter. Sometimes I think "Maybe there is a better way to help?" But here's the thing...this is happening to everyone! Teacher's who love little kids don't get to teach them or mold them because they are constantly doing assessments, doctors can't actually heal the sick because they have to feed their families and "insurance companies have rules," therapists (myself), social workers, school counselors...everyone is bound by regulation, rules and lawsuits.

When did it become like this? And can it get better?

How do we help DESPITE all the regulation? How to we come back to our roots of loving and learning about others?

I don't have answers but I think I have started to think about it more. It starts with learning. I LOVE learning about how people tick. I love reading stories about people's lives and changes that have actually made a difference in people. But I don't always take the time to learn because I'm always seeing clients or doing paperwork or just..busy. I'm making a commitment to learn about real change in the future.

The next thing I have decided to do more of is truly seeing. I have started to realize that a lot of the regulation came from somewhere. Many times it came from other counselors, teachers, doctor's, etc. who just lost their way. I don't want to become a "regulator." I want to truly see the clients with whom I am working. I want to remember that for this hour, I have the ability to affect life change. I commit to not seeing them as a number, a progress note, a treatment plan, or a paycheck. I choose to see each person as a story, a life that has been shaped by hurt and tears, a lonely human who needs to know that someone truly cares about them and is committed to helping them work through their pain.

The conclusion I have come to thus far is that the only way to truly stop these helping professions from becoming worthless jobs of regulations only, is to stop ourselves from becoming the regulators. We must appreciate each person we are trying to help and maintain the human connection...even if we have to wade through piles of paperwork to do it.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
Charles Dickens