Trauma – Helping Friends and Family

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.

Trauma

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.

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Andrew BrownAndrew Brown
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Shawn called me directly and sought out a resolution with me for a recent poor experience I had. He showed genuine care and consideration over the phone, and demonstrated he truly cares about the clients that come here and wants everyone to get the help they need. That's how it needs to be in any place helping others in God. God bless.
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Elizabeth ProtzmanElizabeth Protzman
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My husband and I just wrapped up counseling with Shawn. And if you told me 6 months ago our family would be how we are now, I would have been in total disbelief. Shawn’s approach to counseling is next level and took us to new places we never thought that we could experience freedom and he put a light on places we never knew were still dragging us down.My husband (before counseling) had past trauma that weighed him down so heavily that his negative self talk was taking over his mental life. He was completely unable to be social anywhere, see positivity in anything, and talked with a super meek voice because he didn’t see worth in himself. We thought that “this is just his personality”, but Shawn was able to uncover the trauma that was holding him back and helped him break free of it. He now speaks with a voice to be heard and even he engages in social situations!I went through a terrible health scare while we were going through sessions. My optometrist thought that I had a tumor or fluid build up in my skull. Shawn helped me navigate all of the feelings that I kept shoving down. On my second session of talking about this medical situation, we really got to the root of my stress and behavior in this situation and in life. I felt a ton of weight lifted off of me in that moment just by digging out every root in my heart that wasn’t welcome there. Later that day (a Thursday) I had my MRI scans and that Sunday I woke up headache/migraine free for the first time in four months. Monday I got the news that nothing was there. I truly believe that God did a healing work in that therapy session. A physical healing of my body and a spiritual healing of my mind.Through all of this Shawn was not only there for just our counseling sessions, but when I was going through all of the medical stuff he would check in and see how everything was going. He recommended for my husband to go to a camp that absolutely played a part in changing my husband’s life. And all that I’ve shared is only the surface of all of the healing we received. I would have to write a novel for the rest, lol.If you’re looking for healing and willing to show up and put in the work…Shawn will help you get there.
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New Vision Counseling and Consulting saved my marriage as they helped and are helping me deal with my issues with depression and anxiety. I have been taught new methods of dealing with these issues and they are life saving. I have enjoyed my experience with Shawn Maguire, the best therapist I could ask for, and feel this place is a Godsend. I never thought therapy would work for me but I was wrong and wish I had come here sooner. Excited for what the future holds.
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