What Is the Difference Between Caretaker and Caregiver?

According to Expressive Counseling, caretaking is a form of co-dependency: It can be based on a foundation of insecurities, where the caretaker must be in control. Co-dependent behaviors establish unhealthy relationships. On the contrary, caregiving stems from the heart. Expressive Counseling explains that the caregiver gives out of love and kindness, not mere obligation.

Expressive Counseling states, there are key differences between a caretaker and a caregiver. A caretaker is often overwhelmed with the situation, under stress and consistently tired. Caretakers tend to cross boundaries and offer conditional care. Caretakers often worry and do not trust others to care for themselves. A caretaker experiences high-levels of anxiety. This type of person can be judgmental, according to Expressive Counseling.

Expressive Counseling says that caregivers work from the heart. This type of individual cares for others based on love and compassion. Caregivers feel good about the job and honor any boundaries that may be in place. Caregivers offer unconditional support, take appropriate actions and are excellent problem solvers. A caregiver loosens the reigns to allow others to take care of a situation and problem solve as they see fit. Caregivers exhibit a healthy state of mind and are not judgmental of others.

In order to change a behavior, the person responsible for the care of another must gain awareness of the situation. Expressive Counseling explains that the key is to evaluate the care being extended, and determine if the position is that of a caretaker or caregiver.