(February 26, 2023) Dr Robert McQuillan encourages a troubled carer…

Dr Robert
You mentioned some troubling heavies in your article Troubled-hearts-minds-and-characters. To avoid such things hanging on us. I like your quote from the Complete Jewish Bible: ‘Don’t let yourselves be disturbed’
(John 14:1CJB).

Well, I am disturbed, Robert, and while I hear what you’re saying here, I’m still feeling heavy, downhearted, uneasy and I’m wondering if having to counselling people (even Christians),having to always be listening to their troubles, their problems, could somehow be at the bottom of how I’m feeling. Pastor ‘Jones’.

Hi Pastor ‘Jones’

I could have said much more in that article… but as I have to limit other contributors, I have to cull back my own articles too! Now then, I’m wondering if the following is the cause of what you’re feeling… (if so, it’s a piece of advice, a warning, that I’ve written about before, given to pastors, even to  psychiatrists, physiatrists and counsellors, Christian or not! (Especially carers with the right heart like yourself).

In a nutshell… don’t be tricked into carrying the deadweight of those who trouble you with their heavy problems! Be wise… there’s a subtilty here. The one being helped may not even be aware of it but what can happen – has happened – is that after a while they’re feeling great but you’re feeling uncomfortable.

Don’t be concerned about technical names here… think of it as ‘transference.’ Now professionals mentioned above know about different kinds of transference… but sometimes even ‘experts’ need to be reminded to back down! Especially when negative transference is the name of the game!

Is this your situation? If so, realise what’s happening and pull back! Take a deep breath as it were… a heavenly deep breath, breathing in the peace of the Holy Spirit and relax. Be aware that you’re doing a good job helping that troubled people… but you can’t carry their troubles, you’re not meant too! They have to dump them but not on you.

Now of course they probably don’t realise what’s happening to you. Keep cool. If they’re converted believers, then with your help and commonsense prayer they can give those troubles to Jesus in prayer. And they’ll grow in God. If they don’t know the Lord, you could mention that you’re a believer and will be praying for them… this is an avenue of sharing good news and reaching the unsaved, especially as you’re a minister.

Incidentally, this transference issue can also happen when someone we thought was a friend is saying disgruntling untrue things about us, accusing us of some wrongdoing of which we have no idea – or there is another side to the accusations! Rebuttal can be awkward as to justify ourselves, we could betray some confidences, or reveal that the instigator who passed wrong deceiving information to this accuser has told untruths! This side is a real ‘heavy.’ Don’t let those who don’t know the real, the full story get to you.

I’ll leave it at that… but add the following. It’s the heart of some cautionary advice I wrote about in a professional counsellors’ Christmas magazine  a couple of years ago …

Ensure no-one downloads you with their worries and cares! Don’t allow anyone to offload heavy burdens on you – otherwise you too might come depressed! (Yes, transference can happen/has happened!)

On business interstate one time, I happened to meet ‘Lily’, a very sad-looking counselling colleague. Sensing something was seriously amiss I enquired accordingly. She shared something extremely dangerous… heavily burdened about a client, she had become so over-concerned, allowing his distress to become hers. Worse, wrongly believing she had to personally ‘experience’ his pain to help, she was completely unaware that a sort of factitious disorder had perilously gripped her. Now she was quite ill through ‘symptomatically feeling’ that pain! Her client? He was feeling so well, and happy, so free.

I immediately straight-talked ‘Lily’ and freed her from that deceptive belief. Released of heaviness, no wonder she smiled a huge smile!

Back to you, ‘Jonesy.’ Think of what I’ve shared above from a spiritual aspect. I’m not saying that certain persons you counsel that you feel something is coming across onto you are demonised… but I am suggesting you be wise. As mentioned in this month’s Onliner, that satanic spirit of deception is very prevelant at present!

I’ve had to point out this deceptive spirit to some other Christians recently, even leaders. I’ll finish these notations by mentioning my slant on the other aspect of transference… the positive side! In a nutshell, that’s where something good comes across – a respect, a thankfulness and trust. But I’m particularly thinking of a good transference from our great God who, despite our failing Him, still wants the best for us!

Colossians 1:13NLT declares,  ‘For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.’ Now I really like that transference, don’t you, Pastor ‘Jones’?


Got a question for Dr Robert or Pr Maureen McQuillan? Email either:   

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s