- Try to do for others what only God can do.
- Focus on “curegiving,” on trying to solve others’ problems.
- Foster dependency by making decisions for others.
- Use their “caregiving” to satisfy self-centered needs to feel good about themselves and in control.
- Try to control others’ behaviors.
- Concentrate on what they are able to do and leave the results to God.
- Concentrate on caring for others.
- Foster dependence on God, and self-reliance, by helping others make their own decisions.
- Focus their other-centered care on providing what their care receivers need.
- Try to control their own behavior.
What We Can Do versus What Only God Can Do
Stephen Ministers care for their care receivers in many ways, but only God can bring healing and changed lives. When SMs try to take over God’s role, it never works out. You will hope for many results in your care receivers’ lives that only God can bring about.
Cure versus Care
SMs are sometimes “wounded healers” who have gone through crises similar to their care receivers’, It can be easy, however, for SMs to forget how long it took and how much struggle was involved in working through their own crises. They may push CRs to try a particular solution that worked for them. This may appear caring, but it crosses the line from caregiving to curegiving. Most often, people need to figure out their own solutions.
Part of caring is sharing the CR’s pain. This may well be the hardest part of relating as a caregiver instead of a curegiver. When a SM tries to impose a cure, he or she may think it is for the CR’s sake. It may actually be done, however, to relieve the pain he or she feels from empathizing with the CR. It is most caring to stick with the process orientation and continue caring, even though it hurts to do so.
Depending on the Caregiver versus Depending on God
When someone uses results-oriented care, it may make the CR dependent on the caregiver. If the SM makes decisions for the CR, the CR may end up making fewer and fewer decisions for him- or herself. This delays a CR’s recovery from a crisis.
Some caregivers may be tempted to encourage such dependency. They may like the feeling of having someone else depend on them. It may make them feel needed and bolster their self-esteem. Such dependency, however, does CRs no good.
Instead, SMs encourage CRs to depend on God and become more self-reliant. With a process orientation, SMs help CRs take responsibility for themselves. They help CRs to think through what they can do for themselves. They also model reliance on God by praying with and for their CRs and by witnessing about how much they personally depend on God’s help.
Sometimes SMs are convinced that they know what a CR needs better than he or she does. Even then, they need to remain process- oriented, allowing the CR to make his or her own choices and leaving the results to God.
Self-Centered versus Other-Centered
Self-centered care might include: pushing the CR to get over their grief so the SM can report a “success,” pressuring the CR to get started sharing so the caring visit can end and the Stephen Minister can go do something else, putting guilt on the care receiver for not trying to reconcile with their estranged spouse because the Stephen