Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How human service workers maintain a positive perspective in their work: A narrative analysis
by Rolison, Mary Day, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2013, 200; 3559729
Abstract (Summary)

Human service workers have a history of working with our neediest populations, and their work often entails long hours, challenging situations, and limited resources. When the focus of the work is on human strengths and positive approaches, more positive results emerge. In order to determine the process of how human services workers maintain a positive perspective in their work, 15 human service workers from a diverse spectrum were interviewed. A narrative analysis was applied to elicit the participants' insights, revealing common themes and strategies. The findings indicated that having a fundamental belief in human potential, seeing the client's positive attributes, and having inherent capacities of caring were fundamental. Participants believed their work was meaningful and made a difference, and that they were a part of something bigger. They felt empathy and compassion toward clients, and generally believed that their temperament and upbringing also influenced their capacity to maintain a positive perspective. Aside from their beliefs, workers depended on receiving support from like-minded people, colleagues, and others in their environment. They utilized self-care, self-monitoring techniques, and demonstrated self-awareness and a mature capacity to adapt to the unexpected. They were able to apply their learning from past experiences in support of the services they offer to others.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fahim, Urusa
Commitee: Ettling, Dorothy, Padilla, Rafael
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Humanities with a concentration in Transformative Learning and Change
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social research, Occupational psychology, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Human service workers, Human services, Human strengths, Positive perspective, Strength-based approach, Strength-based perspective
Publication Number: 3559729
ISBN: 978-1-303-05015-2
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