Addicted to Helping: An Interview with Bethany Dearborn Hiser

Addicted to helping? Sounds oxymoronic, right? Meaning, we usually think of addictive behaviors as relating to destructive or dangerous practices like over-drinking or unsafe sex. But believe it or not, even good things like helping others can become addictive if we do not put in place safe and healthy boundaries to protect ourselves and others from harm.

Bethany Dearborn Hiser, trauma-informed soul care provider and author of From Burned Out to Beloved: Soul Care for Wounded Healers, loved helping and caring for others, but increasingly found herself unable to separate from the job. Boundaries between work and home life no longer blurred, but rather, completely washed away as she became totally wrapped up in her work, seeing her identity in her work, becoming addicted to overworking.

Bethany currently works as the Director of Soul Care for Northwest Family Life, a network of therapists trained to work with survivors of domestic violence and sexual trauma. As a bilingual social worker, chaplain, and pastoral advocate, she has worked in a variety of ministry and social service settings with people affected by addiction, sexual exploitation, incarceration, and immigration.

Bethany joins the pod to talk about overwork, burnout, and knowing when to stay or when to go. For many in “caring professions” like counselors, activists, social workers, and pastors, taking time away to recharge and renew oneself can be seen as unnecessary and privileged. Bethany shares why this attitude not only is wrong, but it is also dangerous.

If you are a social worker, pastor, or activist, and you find yourself struggling to maintain appropriate boundaries between work and life, constantly working, or unable to separate your identity from your work, you need to listen to this episode. The work you do matters and has an impact, but it does not need to come at the cost of you.

Episode 43: Bethany Dearborn Hiser on how to avoid burnout

The Future Christian Podcast is a production of Torn Curtain Arts and Resonate Media.

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