How to Help by Not Helping

Ever wonder what is inside a chaplain’s head as they ply their trade? How they counsel grievers and persons facing their own end? In a Homestead Hospice radio interview, I explain how I “help by not helping,”  a Zen-like concept which meets with some resistance from the host, a hospice professional. The interview is about 50 minutes long, which I realize is quite an investment of time compared to reading my written posts. So I most recommend it to: (1) aspiring chaplains (2) aspiring bereavement therapists, (3) anyone who wants to understand what might go through chaplains’ minds in the middle of interacting with you  and (4) anyone curious about what I sound like!

The Youtube link is as follows:




4 thoughts on “How to Help by Not Helping

  1. That’s a good use of you tube. The interview was interesting, Karen. I had never heard of a pastoral chaplain before. Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with hospice before except to visit a couple of people who were patients there. Lots of my friends volunteer. It’s helpful to many.


    • I’m glad that after investing that much time to listen that your investment paid off. Hospice chaplains are common, because hospices are required to have one chaplain per approximately 60 patients. Just as an FYI, “healthcare chaplains” is a broader category that encompasses hospitals, nursing homes etc., and not necessarily connected with hospice.


  2. Marc Wong says:

    Good show. Your calm, thoughtful wisdom definitely comes through.
    FYI, I use movies to explain why people shouldn’t say certain things to a grieving person. “At least they didn’t suffer.” “They’re not suffering any more.” etc. You would never say these things in the middle of a movie. These comments don’t honor the story. They don’t respect the experience. They tend to shut down the conversation and leave things hanging. It’s like a deus ex machina.


  3. That is an imaginative angle on how to get the idea across about not saying things to grievers that do more harm than good. If any bereavement counselors out there care to try it, let us know how it turns out!


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