Shop By:

Getting Ready to Help

Getting Ready to Help

A Primer on Interacting in Human Service
Author: Martin J. McMorrow M.S.   Foreword Author: Allan I. Bergman

ISBN: 978-1-55766-612-3
Pages: 120
Copyright: 2003
Available Stock
Request Print Exam Copy
Paperback $22.95 Qty:

Size:  6.0 x 9.0
Stock Number:  66123
Format:  Paperback
Promotion Code: 

What is the purpose of helping? Why have I become involved in a helping profession? How can my interactions get me in a better position to help? Are there ways of interacting that can improve the quality of our lives?

Direct support staff who serve individuals with a wide range of disabilities—including developmental, psychiatric, and traumatic brain injuries—will explore these and many other questions in this practical, provocative, and inspirational handbook. This concise guide is written by a veteran of the direct support field, who draws on more than 30 years of service in diverse settings to shed light on what works and doesn't work. Readers will get straightforward, real-world advice on key issues like:

  • recognizing and avoiding potentially harmful interactional styles
  • developing a deeper understanding of behavior
  • forming relationships that benefit both the helper and the person being helped
  • promoting autonomy and independence in individuals
  • creating personal intervention plans
  • using positive reinforcement to increase desired behavior
  • finding joy in the experience of helping others

Sensitively written and enriched with stories from the author's personal experience, this easy-to-read book is ideal for staff training seminars, new employees, or seasoned professionals seeking a fresh perspective on helping.

Review and Rate this Item
Be the first to submit a customer review on this product!
Review and Rate this Item


Review: Mental Retardation
"Wonderful book for people who provide any type of direct support in human services as well as those who manage or direct them. McMorrow's ideas are challenging to many human services assumptions and extraordinarily helpful themselves for providing foundational thinking people. I recommend it to every individual in a situation where they are called upon to help others."
Review by: Kate Fralish, Center for Comprehensive Services, Inc.
"McMorrow's Getting Ready to Help is much more than a primer. It is a philosophy and approach to helping people, regardless of their disabling conditions or the accompanying behaviors, with dignity and respect. Better yet, when helpers use this approach, it really works."
Review by: Al Condeluci, CEO, United Cerebral Palsy of Pittsburgh
"In my 32 years of Human Service work, this is the best book I have read that speaks directly to any worker with front line responsibility in supporting people with disabilities. . . . Taking focused theory, McMorrow has woven personal experiences into simple strategies for successful intervention. This is must reading for new employees or ancillary staff who relate to people with disabilities."
Review by: Cathy Ficker-Terrill, President, Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities
"Marty McMorrow's new book will be helpful for clinical staff, managers and direct support professionals. He provides remarkable insight into communication, behavior and human interaction. This is a critical staff development tool."
Review: Mental Health Nursing
"McMorrow has given us a . . . book that provides some simple rules to making the act of helping more fulfilling and rewarding. . . . I enjoyed McMorrow's simple approach to detailing the obvious and providing examples of his frustration and wrong decisions in some cases and successful examples in others."
Review: Mental Retardation
"Short, powerful, simply written, wonderful book. As a primer on what actually constitutes 'helping,' It will also be useful for family members, support coordinators, and people with disabilities themselves because it will help them identify when they are receiving real help and when they are not. . . . This book is not aimed solely at those who work in developmental disabilities services; . . . two other groups are also specifically included: people with traumatic brain injury and those diagnosed with mental illness. . . .This is a wonderful book with deep insights, celebrating the joy of connecting with others and being truly helpful. It is a reminder of why we want to do this work, and how, in the face of often insurmountable attitudes and barriers, the joy of connecting and really helping even just one person makes it all worth."
About the Author
by Allan I. Bergman

Introduction: I Could Have Been a Map Drawer

Objective One: Do No Harm

Objective Two: Don't Blame

Objective Three: Watch for Reciprocity

Objective Four: Create a Mutually Reinforcing Relationship

Objective Five: Teach the Person to Fish

Objective Six: Bounce Off the Upsets

Objective Seven: Be Clear on the Purpose of Your Help

Objective Eight: Experience the Joy of Helping

Conclusion: On Beliefs, Science, and Getting Ready to Help


Excerpted from the introduction to Getting Ready to Help: A Primer on Interacting in Human Service, by Martin J. McMorrow, M.S.

Copyright © 2003 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.

I Could Have Been a Map Drawer

You just never know when you might get the opportunity to help someone. Although I remember being polite to kids who were seen as different when I was growing up, I never thought I would wind up spending so much time with people like them as part of my career. The beginning of my career happened very much by accident in 1971 after I left college early and found myself sitting in a military recruiting office. When the recruiter asked me what I wanted to do in the Army, I was surprised because I didn't think I would have that sort of a choice. I thought people would tell me what to do in the Army. I guess I thought I needed to be told what to do at that time in my life.

Anyway, when I looked at my "career choices" on the alphabetical list the recruiter showed me, my first selection was journalism. Could I be a journalist in the Army? That seemed pretty special, so I decided to make the request. The answer was "no." I somehow qualified to be a journalist, but the training was not available at the time. My second choice on the list was map drawing. I could draw maps in the Army? I knew I had no interest in hurting anyone. I had done a lot of drawing when I was younger, and I though this would be harmless enough. Curiously, drawing maps was not available either. The recruiter told me to keep looking. I began to wonder if I really had a choice in the matter or if I was just being led down a particular path. I'm not sure it is a good thing to lead someone to believe they have a choice about something when it is clear that they really don't. As a result, for a few moments, I wasn't feeling too good about my future.

Then, as I looked on through the list of things that I might be doing for the next 3 years in the military, a life changing event occurred. Under the "P"s on the career list was something called "psychiatric/social work." I could be a psychiatric/social worker in the Army? With just 2-1/2 years of unrelated college courses behind me? Without much of a clue where I was headed at that time in my life? Without having given the first thought to what helping people was all about? The recruiter's answer was "yes." I was soon on a bus to the Army to get healthy, get my 10 weeks of psychiatric/social work training, and get the opportunity to help others.

Perhaps this is the kind of situation that you are facing right now. Maybe someone is looking to you for help. Maybe you can see a situation in which your help is needed. Maybe you are about to respond to one of the many job opportunities related to helping others that are listed in your local newspaper. Maybe you have already been trying to help for some time, but you are discouraged because you don't feel like you are very good at it. Maybe others are telling you that you are not very good at it. Whatever the reason, I am happy that you have found your way to this book and that you may consider some of these ideas to help you get in a better position to help.

It has been more than 30 years since that choice showed up in my life. In fact, I am now one of those people who has spent most of my adult existence in situations in which people were either in need of help or actually wanted help from others: people with mental retardation, developmental disabilities, mental illness, physical disabilities, personality disorders, substance abuse, behavioral disturbances, autism, acquired and traumatic brain injuries, marital problems, emotional problems, orientation problems, bedwetting problems, personal problems, situational problems, problems, problems, and more problems. I have worked with people who seem to make very poor decisions, who hurt themselves, who hurt others, who make threats, who develop very unusual ways of acting, and who wind up in serious trouble. I met them in their homes, on the street, in various sorts of institutions, in group living residences, in classrooms, in hospitals, and in clinic offices.

Although there have been moments when I mistakenly began to believe that I knew everything I needed to know about helping. I have been repeatedly humbled by unpredicted successes and unfortunate failures that other perceived in their lives. For the most part, these experiences have just sparked my interest in continuing to learn. This book is intended to identify, describe, and share a few of the most important things I have learned about helping. These things have guided most of the decisions, recommendations, and choices I have made in my human service life. I thank all of the people who helped me learn them — usually the people I was trying to help or those or who also attempted to help along with me. I wish I had known more of them when I started; if I had, I might have been a better helper, and I might have found even greater joy from my work.

But then, as life goes, I realize I could have been a map drawer.

Your Cart

(0 product)
Customer Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • Permissions
  • Catalogs
  • Copyright