by Penny Brill
In a world where people overshare on social media, is there really anyplace that is still protected by confidentiality? There is, in a Stephen Ministry relationship. Even other Stephen Ministers do not know who anyone's care receiver is. This is a relationship that is protected through confidentiality.
Below, I have included an article from the Stephen Ministry Organization on this topic.
…..Confidentiality is essential for building safe, healing, caring relationships. Why? Because trust is vital for a caring relationship to be effective. Before someone can open up about their feelings, they need the assurance that what they say will not be circulated to others or become news for gossip. It is through the sharing of ones innermost feelings that God can work the miracle of healing. For this reason, confidentiality is a cornerstone of Stephen Ministry. Several steps are taken to ensure confidentiality is maintained in the caring relationship:
1. Only three people know who is involved in a caring relationship – the person receiving care, the Stephen Minister providing care, and the Stephen Leader serving as Referrals Coordinator who matched the Stephen Minister with the care receiver. The care receiver is of course free to disclose the relationship to whomever they wish, or they can retain complete anonymity.
2. Stephen Ministers participate in regular supervisory meetings to ensure the quality of the caring relationship. However, the focus is on the relationship between the Stephen Minister and care receiver. No names are used and no significant details of the care receiver’s situation are revealed.
3. Sometimes a situation may warrant a referral to or consultation with a professional. The Stephen Minister will never reveal a care receiver’s name or details of the situation without the express consent of the care receiver.
Even if you are not a Stephen minister, think about the importance of confidentiality in your relationships. Consider how you can improve relationships and help people’s personal healing by maintaining confidentiality when something is told to you. Confidentiality is a standard of conduct all of us need to live by. Confidentiality promotes trust, builds one another up, and encourages healing in a Christian Community.
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
Christ Caring for People