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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
 
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  Home  > Helping Professionals  > Rescuing vs. Helping

Rescuing vs. Helping

To summarize the key points from the previous articles are these two lists that compare the Helper role, which is truly helpful, to the Rescuer role, which leads to burnout.

The Rescuer:

  1. gives when not asked.
  2. neglects to find out if offer is welcome.
  3. gives help more and longer than needed.
  4. doesn't check results and feels good when accepted, bad when turned down.
  5. does the majority of the talking.

The Helper:

  1. listens for request.
  2. presents offer.
  3. gives only what is needed .
  4. checks periodically with person.
  5. checks results to see if the person:
a. functions better
b. meets goals
c. solves problems independently
d. uses suggestions successfully.

While most helping professionals would claim that our intent is to empower others rather than presume to have the answers for them, our actions frequently betray our intentions. It is often difficult for us to let go of the idea that we are indispensable in "saving" other people. Stopping Rescuing can be difficult because so many of us depend on it for our strokes. As Rescuers we are accustomed to support others in maintaining their Victim positions, rather than to allow them to learn the lessons they must learn themselves. Applying our judgments and values to their situation may be totally inappropriate for them. We need to recognize when our need to serve or to be right is taking precedence over our honoring the inherent potential within others.

Rescuing has no place in the Paradigm of Connection. Recognizing that truth and power are immanent in each of us, that we are all on our own path of growth, that others are responsible for the way they live their lives, and being clear on the important distinction between rescuing and helping, we possess vital keys to real service and can prevent burnout.




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