The dictionary definition of Cause is “a person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition.” It is also defined as “a principle, aim, or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate.” This second definition is more closely aligned with how we are defining Desire. The first definition is more aligned with how we are using the concept of Cause in the Servant Story Therapy:

A Cause is a person that gives rise to a Desire, Process, Effect, and Result.

Cause characters are influencers or impact characters. They have the potential to influence and impact in many different ways. We will introduce these ways incrementally throughout this course.

The first one that we will focus on is Exemplar. An Exemplar Cause is a role model, paradigm, or standard for your MC. It is someone who has already obtained a desire similar to the one she seeks to obtain.

A Cause who serves as a role model for your MC demonstrates the desired outcome. An MC’s Desire has been formed by seeing, admiring, evaluating, and interacting with this character. He has obtained knowledge, abilities, relationships, or resources that she values. Thus, this character becomes the initial motivation for your MC’s Desire.

While we will use the male pronouns to refer to Cause characters for simplicity, it’s important to note that any gender can play this role. Additionally, the Cause role can be played by one or multiple characters.

If your MC does not have an Exemplar Cause, she most likely does not have a Desire strong enough to motivate her to embark on a journey of change and growth. And if this is true of your MC, the absence of and search for an Exemplar Cause must be part of your story’s initial conflict.

If your MC has a strong Desire that motivates her to embark on a journey of change and growth, but there is no apparent Cause, then her Cause is hidden. But he is there. Part of your story should be about discovering who he is.

In the next concept, you will be asked to identify your MC’s Exemplar Cause.