Pastoral Care Training Pack

Unit 8: Worry - Martha & Mary

8.1       Scripture & Worship



Heavenly Father, recourse of all who seek your blessing, source of strength and love, look down on all who worry and sooth them with the balm of your Grace so that they may learn through you to love themselves; help us to see the limits of our power that we may exercise it with modesty and know when we must leave the cares of this world in your hands; and help us to serve those who seek our help with sympathy and practical assistance. Amen.


Can: Lord give us grace
Res: That we may love you, one another and ourselves.

  1. Heavenly Father, who made us all to be your loving children, help us to love you, one another and ourselves:
  2. Heavenly Father, who made us all different so that we might establish bonds of community, may we reflect the Trinity in our aspiration to mutual love and support:
  3. Heavenly father, who made us to work together in harmony, may we dedicate ourselves to the service of the lonely so that they may lead affirming lives in your name:
  4. Heavenly Father, who sent your son as the bridge of Incarnation to show us your love in our world, may we aspire to his serenity and spread it among those in distress:
  5. Heavenly Father, send the Holy Spirit on all your people that we may know the comfort of your love in our lives and in our prayers. Amen.

8.2      Introduction

  1. Worry is a symptom of our inability to live with ourselves, with the decisions and behaviour of others or with an environment over which we have no control. As people become older they tend to feel that they are increasingly cut off from the exercise of influence and, accordingly, many older people worry about family, health, money and what will happen after they die. Telling people not to worry is not enough; it might at best be a platitude and at worst do considerable harm. People need help to see what they can and cannot do and to accept the reality of their position.
  2. In this Unit we will consider:
    • Understanding the possibilities and limits of personal action;
    • Developing strategies for constructive action;
    • Learning to live with limited power.
  3. By the end of this Unit we should have the self confidence to:
    • Be honest with ourselves at least to ourselves;
    • Know the difference between chronic, low level worry and acute high level worry;
    • Judge whether an expression of worry requires listening or a more active approach.

8.3.      Key Concepts

  1. Chronic & Traumatic
    • The language of worry may be uniform but this can blur the difference between chronic low level and acute high level worry;
    • Low level worry may simply reflect a personality trait which requires a degree of 'worry' to provide emotional stimulus;
    • Acute worry may require immediate action as it may be an under-stated call for help;
    • Worry may be part of a general state of mind but the distress it causes should not therefore be discounted; it can be a form of self harm.
  2. Diagnosis
    • Most worry entangles a variety of factors which need to be separated and dealt with individually
    • There is no objective criterion for what causes worry
    • Deep seated tendencies to worry may indicate personality traits which cannot and should not be altered.
  3. Empowerment
    • When issues are identified individually they are easier to handle
    • Concrete plans are better than theories of how a particular problem might be handled;
    • There is a place for self help, collaboration and taking a problem off a worrier's hands;
    • Self help groups, particularly dealing with health conditions, can be very helpful;
    • Worry is frequently exacerbated by loneliness.
  4. Contentment
    • Understanding the limits of human autonomy and collaboration to 'solve' a problem is critical;
    • There is a vital nexus between action and acceptance;
    • Acceptance is easier if we have done all we reasonably can;
    • Intercessory prayer must be supplemented by thanksgiving.

8.4       Presentation:

8.5       Case Sketches

  1. Iris is worried, about her grandchildren; because of the clothes they wear and the language they use, she thinks that they are being badly brought up
  2. Fred, living on a state pension, is worried because he will not leave his children enough money
  3. Sally is worried because she thinks her daughter is a drug addict
  4. Paul is worried because everything is going wrong and he can't find his way out of the mess
  5. Sarah is worried because Sarah is worried.

8.6       Response:

8.7       Resources: