The traditional lines of demarcation between service providers and service users are shifting. Professionals in managed service organizations are working to incorporate the voices of service users into their missions and the way they function, and service users, with growing access to knowledge, have taken on the semblances of professional expertise. Additionally, the human services environment has been transformed by administrative imperatives. The drive toward greater efficiency and accountability has weakened the bond between users and providers.
Reimagining the Human Service Relationship is informed by the premise that the helping relationship should be seen as developing in the interactive space between those who provide human services and those who receive them. The contributors to this volume redefine the contours, roles, institutional divisions, means, and aims of providing and receiving services in a range of settings, including child welfare, addiction treatment, social enterprise, doctoring, mental health, and palliative care. Though they advocate an experience-near approach, they remain sensitive to the ambiguities and competing rationalities of the service relationship. Taken together, these chapters reimagine the service relationship by making visible the working relevancies of service delivery.