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Effective helping is therapeutic but not therapy
What we do as helpers is therapeutic but is NOT therapy. A moment of caring can have transformative power. Our responsibility is to listen and encourage, not probing, explaining, or interpreting the deeper significance of what we hear. Nor should we imply that we can help with problems that require professional assistance.

Informal helpers accept Friends’ thinking. In contrast, a therapist might challenge Friends by pointing out discrepancies in their reasoning or irrational thinking. That is not our task.

Informal helpers focus on what Friends share without intrusive interpretation. In contrast, a therapist might comment on the origins of deeper feelings. They go beyond what Friends say to present new meaning, reasons, or explanation for behavior, thoughts, or feelings.

Sometimes, what we experienced by the person who responds to us as a Friend is helpful. Sometimes, this effort to help is hurtful.

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Effective and Ineffective Helping
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http://www.ksu.edu/wwparent/courses/coh/coh00-37.html-- Revised: May 1, 2006

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