— Use this Kvetch Circle in Pastoral Care of Friends and Family

November 7, 2013 at 7:07 am | Posted in Online Ministry | Leave a comment

kvetch circle

Susanne Skubik Intriligator, the UUA’s newly hired social media strategist and friend, posted on Facebook a terrific LA Times story on what not to say to someone stricken with a serious illness.

I recently blogged about a friend who’s fighting the worst form of breast cancer and who shocked the sh*t outta me with racist banter.  I had to figure out the right time and way to tell her that her comments were unacceptable. But, I didn’t want her to think I would abandon her in her time of need because I was dismayed by her comments.

While the LA Times piece isn’t about racism or any other unacceptable comments by pastoral care recipients, it is about how friends and caregivers must consider carefully what and how to sympathize with the patient in that person’s presence. The use of a “kvetch” circle helps to draw the point home.

The LA Times article explains how the circle works:

“Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma,” it states. “Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma… Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order.”

The story continues: “Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring. Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.”

Thanks Susan for sharing the article.

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