What Stephen Ministry can not do
Stephen Ministry is not counseling. That is best left to professionals in that field. If a care receiver decides to seek professional counseling during the course of a care relationship the Stephen Minister will normally step back unless the professional encourages us to continue the care relationship and the care receiver wishes to do so. We are also trained in recognizing the need for professional counseling, in other words knowing the boundaries and limits of Stephen Ministry.
An example would be a more serious case of depression. Severe anxiety, addictions, abuse or suicidal thoughts are also areas where a Stephen Minister must defer and leave the care to professionals.
The 50 hours of training we undergo are very intense and prepare us to recognize such limits. We are also under continuing education throughout the whole time as a Stephen Minister. At LOTH that happens once a month. This makes sure that our minds are always fresh when it comes to fulfilling the assignment God and our church gave us.