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01.01.1970 01:0000    Comments: 0    Categories: You Asked (Text Files)      Tags:

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(This email has been edited and truncated to protect personal information)


Dr. Smith,

I am trying to ministry with a person who has reported to us very traumatic memories.  She has already been to other people who are said to be specialist in this area (not TPM facilitators) who have told us they have suspicions about what is actually going on with her.  They based their opinions upon her behavior that included such things as demanding 24/7 attention, continual phone calls, emails, and showing up at our home/office unannounced, even though she lives over 2 hours away.  Though we have given her boundaries she refuses to honor them.  We were advised to no longer work with her. I still get phone messages from her fragmented alter states (she appears to be multiple personality), begging to help her.  She has continued to change screen names, harass our ministry team members and me and threatens to report us to who knows who and for who knows what. She has given us false information about other therapists and seems set on creating dissention in any ministry she hooks up with.  We need advise as to what to do and how to best minister with her.


 Ed Smith's response:


The situation that you have described is not a fun place to be.  I am amazing how difficult things can become when we all we are seeking to do is help people   Please know that I really cannot give you any advise on this case. I have very limited information here and since I am not a part of the actual situation I cannot begin to offer viable solutions. 


However, I would suggest that you disregard the opinions of others concerning this person's diagnosis unless the people making the diagnosis are qualified to do so.  Even though I cannot offer direction for helping her, I can provide you a list of questions that I would ask myself if I were in your place.  Sometimes we already know what we need to do, but just cannot get to it due to our emotional state.


1) What do you do when this person does not respect the boundaries you set?  Is she getting moving past what you have set up and having her way?  If so, why?  How does it make you feel when she does this (if anger is what you feel, look behind the anger for the more vulnerable feelings).  What do you feel if/when you hold up your boundaries and not allow her to do what she is doing?  These negative emotions are probably rooted in your own lie-based thinking.


2) Are you feeling any level of threat from this person; physically, mentally or professionally?  Explore this feeling.  If there is real threat why have you not reported this to your local authorities?


3) Is dealing with this person's presenting issue and mental state within your level of skill, training, and expertise?  Is it possible that you are out of your league here?  If you need to refer her to someone else what hinders you from doing this? 


4) If you need to refer her to someone else, how do you feel about doing this?  This is an important question.  These feelings may have you "hooked" into helping when you may need to let go.  What do you believe constrains you to feel a need to be her ministry facilitator?


5). Has this person been dishonest with you?  Do you believe she may have other agenda besides seeking help?  If she has been dishonest, how do you know what is truth concerning anything that she has told you? 


6) How does it feel if you let her go, considering she may make poor choices and possibly even chooses to hurt herself or others?


7) If you believe or have reason to suspect she is a threat to others or herself, have you reported this to the proper authorities?  If not, why? 


8)  If you choose to offer her ministry, what can you do to put boundaries, self protection, accountability, etc. in place so that she is not able to manipulate, misrepresent or falsely report what occurs in your sessions?  Never assume that people are everything they present themselves to be, even in the more "normal" ministry settings.  


You do not need to tell me your answers here.  This is for your own introspection and honest appraisal.  Therefore, after you have asked yourself these questions and honestly answered them, ask yourself the following question, "What advise would I give someone else who came to me with the same situation who answered the way that I did to this list of questions?  Interact to your own answer to this question.  How does it feel to follow your own advice?  If you feel anything but peace then your own lie-based pain may be triggering you.  You may want to get ministry as soon as possible.  At the same time, the "right thing to do" is still the "right thing to do" even if you are stirred some by the thought of following through.  I pray that the Lord gives you his strength to do what you believe is the right thing.


In Him


Ed Smith


PS. It is usually a good idea that whatever you do you document in writing.  Be sure that knowledgeable people read what you document before it is given to the person with whom you are relating.  If at all possible, do what you do from a free mind and the peace of Christ.  Receiving personal ministry to clear out your own lie-based pain before making important decisions is crucial. 

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