Gentle professional

Some people think that gentle teaching is not a professional aproach, because there would be an insufficient emotional distance between the caregiver and the ‘clients’. Furthermore, the caregiver by his great commitment could be overloaded. This creates a false ocontraposition which is neither good for the caregiver nor for the person served.  The person served needs to feel safe and loved and it’s in the interest of the caregiver that he can express his own loving feelings in his work.


In gentle teaching we talk about a gentle professional. This gentle professional  has the following qualities:

  • he gives the person what he needs: personal connectedness, love, safety and skilful help
  • he makes contact from heart to heart and acts with insight, knowledge and skilful
  • he feels the powerlessness and the suffering of the person, and does what he can to help
  • he guards the boundaries of others
  • he is loving to himself and his colleagues
  • he has trust in his inner strength

The first point is of course the most crucial point and also the most substantial. From the perspective of gentle teaching it’s essential that everybody feels safe, loved, loving and connected. When a person we care for doesn’t have these feelings, it is our first task to work on this. If we avoid this because it’s too difficult, or because it comes to close to our own feelings, we don’t act professional.

The essence of care giving is to make contact on the emotional, sensation, level. From heart to heart. The same time we have to assure that our feelings don’t run away with us. Empathy with the feelings of the person and connecting with his suffering, doesn’t mean that we have to suffer with the person. We have to learn to deal with these feelings wisely, and to use insight and knowledge to determine what to do in the moment of contact with the person .

The combination of connectedness and empathy on one side, and insight, knowledge and skills on the other side, makes it possible for caregivers to connect with their inner strength of compassion in helping the people they serve, and guide them through challenging moments.

Both the person and the care giver have their own boundaries. These have to be respected. This doesn’t mean that the boundaries are always fixed. You can read more about this in the section on boundaries.

Being loving toward yourself and your colleagues is an important aspect of gentle teaching. Even if it may sound a bit soft. In the first place it means that you don’t judge yourself when you act not the way you would like to act. It takes time to grow. We all have to deal with habitual patterns which are not easy to change. You learn most by not judging yourself because you do thing wrong. Just accept that you did it the way you did, and investigate how you can do it in a better way next time.

Of course this also goes for your colleagues. They also can make mistakes and can learn from them. You can help them by caring for each other. This is even important as caring for the people you serve.

It would be good if each team member makes it explicit what he is good at, and what he wants to improve. Find a colleague who can help you with what you want to develop yourself.

The inner strength every person has, is a positive energy aimed on helping others. When we are irritated by the behaviors of others, a client, a colleague, a manager, etc, we are out of contact with our inner strength. Sometimes we appear to be strong when we are angry, but actually we lost contact with our  inner strength.