Part 3: Getting, offering, or demanding help…what are some suggestions? "Confessions from the rocking chair"

Thanks for making that distinction, Theresa. Missions sometimes have a blind spot about issues their members are dealing with and who should be helping. However, in saying this, I feel like I am skating on thin ice—or at least, taking a broader view as a missions leader rather than a clinician.


As we know, I am old (I prefer the term “chronologically gifted”), and much of my career as a Member Care provider has been helping mission folk to see how important a knowledge base of psychology and counseling is, and that it should inform most problems. In a sense, I have been working at making mission leaders dependent on psychology. And, I am ambivalent about that. Even sorry.

As our mission world has developed, and with the increasing influence of legal standards, what was once a no-brainer is now more complex.

The model of care, with me as one of its chief cheerleaders, was, to put it bluntly and briefly: “let the clinician handle it!” (or in turn, licensed psychologist, then social worker, then marriage and family therapist, and possibly a psychiatrist). Way back then, we didn’t worry about ADA, GINA, or any of that other stuff you and I drone on and on about. We didn’t worry about legal pushback, and we certainly made no distinction between the psychological and the spiritual, like you said above.

We strongly encouraged missions to drag their missionaries into care, kicking and screaming, because we knew that once we could get them hooked into therapy, we would be able to help them get better or at least be more pleasant.

But now, there are more players on the field. There are coaches and pastors, and other specialized helpers. And frankly, they all have a role to play with missionaries and their organizations. And, at Link Care at least, we are much more careful about any appearance of coercion.

The world has changed. I miss the parts of the old one where we helped and people got better. It felt simpler then, even though we still do help, and people still get better. But I also welcome the change. There is wisdom in many counselors or types of counselors. And that includes you, counselor!

You know, it might not be bad to end this thread here, but I have another issue I will bring to the table. Stay tuned!


More articles in this series: Part 1, Part 2

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