Healthy Autonomy

Association for Promoting Healthy Autonomy e.V.

Ruth KuczkaThe Helper Syndrome: Your needs = My Needs

Help is important and the basis of our social co-existence. Selfless action is highly regarded in society. "Selfless" captures the problem with the helper syndrome: Without an own "I", the helper disappears in the "you" and ensures the survival of others. Recognition for self-sacrifice does not make it easy: do we want to help or do we have to help? Therein lies the difference between healthy aid and traumatic conditional need to aid. In many social and therapeutic occupations, helping and lack of clearly defined boundaries are the cause of burnout syndromes. The dilemma of the compulsive helper is unsolvable. The attempt is always to relieve the misery in the wrong place. In every encounter with a new "you", the helplessness from their own childhood is projected. What was absent in childhood: to be unconditionally loved, protected and wanted. Instead, the child had to help the parents, who need the child for their inner emotional security. This is how the child learns from the beginning to satisfy the needs of the parents: I have to be there for you so that I am loved. This need to help creates emotional security and disguises one's own powerlessness which remains for the rest of one's life. Idealized by helpers and society, their own trauma remains unrecognized and constantly re-enacted. This can result in becoming a perpetrator, infringing help, which is unasked or unwanted, up to, feeling victimized, complaining that no one perceives or dignifies self-sacrifice.

The workshop deals with the causes and effects of the helper syndrome in contrast to healthy helpfulness on the basis of case studies from the IoPT. A work with the sentence of intention clarifies these connections.


Workshopmaterials can be downloaded here.


Ruth Kuczka, MA phil., 53 years old, a non-medical practitioner in her own practice, focus on IoPT in individual and group work, body therapy (HNC), homeopathy, kinesiology; Many years of professional experience as a teacher for difficult adolescents and an own daughter, nurse, palliative companion, and ZDF editor. 
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