Trauma – Helping Friends and Family

Knowing how to support someone you love and care for after they have had a traumatic or terrifying experience can be challenging.

Although it’s normal to want to help someone you care about feel better, it’s crucial to accept the painful reality of what happened. Nothing you say or do in the moment can take away their suffering. However, with enough processing, grieving, and healing over time things can get better. Show compassion, sit with them in their pain without giving unsolicited advice. Your loving presence can comfort them in ways words never could.


Offering Support

Asking a family member or friend who has gone through a traumatic event in what specific ways you can support them. There are countless ways to give support. Here are a few ideas.

  • Spend time with your loved ones experiencing trauma. Let them know you are there for them and sit with them as they grieve.
  • Refuse the urge to give unsolicited advice.
  • Don’t take any negative responses to the trauma personally. Their mood can be inconsistent and even aggressive at times. A helpful way to be supportive in these moments is through empathy and trying to understand how stressful such a traumatic experience must be for them.
  • Offer assistance in practical ways that are useful to them such as household tasks, helping with any children such as supervision or school pick-ups/drop-offs and providing meals.
  • Don’t be afraid to prioritize self-care, such as reminding them to drink water, eat or shower. In the same breath, it’s just as important to assist them in avoiding self-destruction, such as engaging in excessive substance use or abuse.
  • One way to provide support is by giving your loved one(s) some space to be alone. This can be challenging but helpful depending on what they need.

How to Talk about Trauma

  • Allow your loved one to talk about what happened, even if they become upset. Focus on listening and validating them. Refuse the urge to jump in and give your opinion.
  • Refuse the urge to pressure them to open up and talk about it. Reassure them that you are there to listen whenever they are ready to open up.
  • If they are not willing to open up to you then ask if there is someone else they may like to talk to. Refuse the urge to take this personally. Remember, you are there to help so try to keep giving them what they need the goal.
  • If time sensitive decisions must be made following a traumatic event, offer help to your loved one. If they accept your help; do your best to guide them to make decisions that reflect their best interest. And make those decisions in a way you feel they would if they were in a different mental state.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • It is highly valuable to do your own research on trauma, distress, and depression. It Is important to understand not only what to expect from your loved one during this time, but also to understand what they may be expecting from you.
  • Allow them to talk when they are ready without added pressure or judgment. Make sure to empathize and allow them to see your tears, your anger in ways that let them know you care and are in this with them. Do not allow yourself to get to the point where they feel the need to care for you. If this happens then it would be good for you to seek help so you can process how the trauma is impacting you.
  • You know your person. Don’t be afraid to offer them support in ways that you know how; in ways that you think they need it. You can do all this remaining respectful to their stated desires and their healing process.

If you have found this to be helpful and would like more help, then there is hope. New Vision Counseling and Consulting is here to help you. We are a team of highly trained therapists who care and will meet you where you are and help you heal and move forward. We start by making your therapy sessions safe and non-judgmental. We walk with you and give you the encouragement and resources to heal and start living again. The natural next step is to reach out by calling (405) 921-7776. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to meet you soon.

How to Heal from Trauma

What is Trauma?

Trauma is the emotional distress that remains after a devastating event occurs in your life. Trauma can stem from one major event, or several events occurring over a span of time, resulting in complex trauma. Experiencing events such as the sudden loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or witnessing something that is emotionally disturbing can leave you feeling unsafe and affect your ability to function in everyday life. Trauma can also be a deep wound that you have carried with you for years from adverse childhood experiences. Memories from trauma can invade your mental space and make it hard to cope with the resulting emotions. The depth of trauma results from the level of negative feelings you hold about the event. These negative emotions can cause you to feel numb, anxious, and fearful. The good news is that we are here to help you cope and heal from your trauma. The following are steps you can begin now.


God formed us to be relational beings and He desires that we stay in close communion with Him and those around us. When you experience a traumatic event, you are not meant to face it alone. Attending support groups or reaching out to a trusted loved one can help you feel connected so that you are not alone in your experience. One of the first things many do is isolate themselves and shut down. This coping mechanism builds walls around your heart and prevents God from taking your broken pieces and making you whole again. To begin recovery, a good initial step is to invite God to help you heal your emotional scars. As Isaiah 41:10 NIV reminds us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”


Getting creative is another way to cope and heal from trauma. When you experience numbness or dissociation in your body due to your emotional distress, your body takes note. Art is a great way to help you feel safe in your own skin again and release the negative tension stored in your body. Painting, journaling, or writing poetry helps you express your emotions in a calming way. When trauma occurs, your mind can obsess over the event which may cause uncontrollable flashbacks. Spilling these emotions on paper helps the mind release the need to focus on the traumatic event and can provide you with some solace.


Prioritize your needs and focus on your recovery. This will look different for each person, but focusing on calming and soothing activities can create an outlet for your soul to release tension and feel comforted. Things to keep in mind are taking a hot bath, eating a comfort meal, watching your favorite movie, reading a good book, or listening to music. Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress. When you go through a traumatic event, your nervous system can remain trapped in a constant state of hyperarousal. Exercising burns off adrenaline and releases endorphins which will improve your mood.

Next Steps

Trauma never truly leaves us. It changes who you are and forces you to carry pieces of it throughout your life. The choice is how you carry what has happened to you. For many, you need so much more help than this blog can offer. Walking through trauma is a tough journey but you do not have to walk through the storm alone. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting, we have trauma trained therapists with a faith-based foundation who will guide you in your journey to healing and restoration. We will meet you with compassion and create a safe place for you to heal. The next step is to reach out by calling (405) 921-7776 or learn more about trauma counseling. We hope to hear from you soon!