Vitality: A Psychiatrist's Answer to Life's Problems

By Richard Esser | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5.
THE ABCS OF SUCCESSFUL HELPING

The bare bones of helping meant coming up with good answers to three questions: What kind of relationship ought to exist between me and the person I would help? Where do I get my answers from to the many difficult questions a desperate person has? How do I know what to say and when to say it?

My answers to those questions are summed up in the following three terms: Affection; Putting-Oneself-In–Another’s-Shoes; The-Asking-ForHelp-And-The-Giving-Of-Help.

Those terms are the ground conditions or basic principles for effective helping. They are reference points which I could turn back to when I felt lost or failing in my efforts and needed to find out why. I see them as the elements that make for success or failure, not only in my own efforts but in the efforts of those whose work I supervised and in the efforts of my colleagues. I also see them as the basic elements for successful helping in any situation where one person would help another who is in sore need of help. I call these three terms the ABCs of successful helping.


AFFECTION

Affection is a liking for another person which is so strong that that person becomes someone very special for oneself. Mutual affection between a helper and the person he or she would help is the bedrock for all effective helping. Such affection must come first of all from the helper. Affection from

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