Heroes: A Dedication to All Who Work in Human Services

July 2, 2013
A woman talking to another woman and writing something in a notebook.

My mom and dad worked in sales all their working lives. They are not familiar with all of the behavioral complexities of what “human service” entails. When I visit with them and tell them about the day-to-day challenges that our customers frequently face, they usually end up speechless.
Human services has to be one of the most challenging jobs there is. All the degrees, accreditation, and certificates in the world don't adequately prepare a person for the rigors of dealing with human behavior.
In the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program, we teach the concept of Rational Detachment. When you’re rationally detached, you have the ability to stay calm and in control, and to not take people’s behavior personally. Hopefully, the following can help you on some of those tough days when Rational Detachment is hard to come by. It’s written from the perspective of a care receiver, and it’s dedicated to all of you who live the day-to-day each and every day.
I get nervous when things don't go well for me.
You reach out to show me you care, but I pull away. You are not offended, and you’re aware that I still need you.
I try to get your attention and you give me all that you can.
You have fifteen others who need your attention too. When I am envious of the others and act out with them, you understand why.
My constant questions for information get redundant after awhile, yet you still provide the facts.
You know that I can't process well and may have memory deficits, and I will probably ask you questions again.
My questioning your authority is just my way of testing the boundaries.
You don't engage in my power struggles and you recognize and accept that I might continue to try to engage you in them.
I refuse your care and you give me options.
My defiance is met with your tolerance and flexibility, and you realize that I appreciate the control you give me to make choices.
I scream and curse and call you names.
My past experiences of being beaten, starved, and locked in a closet for hours on end results in little self-control on my part. Yet my tears and fears are diminished through your care, patience, and understanding.
My threats come about from the real and imagined threats I feel every day.
It's the only way I can deal with my own feelings of helplessness. You let me know that you have heard me and that I am safe.
I strike out at you and spit and bite.
The poisonous abuse that was so much a part of my life before spills out of me as a reaction. I am sometimes violent and your response is to protect me and all those around me.
I try to hurt myself because the pain I inflict on myself is a release of the pain I have known all too well.
You hold me until I can no longer harm myself, and for that I am ever grateful.
You don't get paid a lot of money.
You don't read about your heroics in the newspapers. Others shake their heads when they hear about your working conditions and you wonder whether it’s all worth it.
Please know that you are valued.
Know that I need you even when I say I don't. Know that every day, I wonder whether you will return, and that my biggest nightmare is that you won't. That you will give up. That you will abandon me like so many others before.
YOU are my hero.
YOU are my savior.
YOU take care of me.
YOU take care of the people that the rest of society is unable or unwilling to take care of.

And for that, know that YOU ARE LOVED!

Even the pros love these helpful hints for crisis intervention.

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