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Helping Your Family or Friend

Journeying with a Loved One to Overcome Trauma

Sometimes it's difficult to know where to start to help a loved one address trauma and resume life. We highly encourage loved ones to accompany an individual to ministry, whether that is in person or via video call. Together, we can help talk about the thinking, behavior, emotions, and physical aspects of stress and trauma. Often an individual who has experienced trauma will exhibit signs of stress. Here are six tips for what you can do:

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1) Ensure safe shelter if possible.

2) Ensure your loved one eats healthy foods, regular meals, and drinks plenty of water. Hydration is very important during times of stress. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol during this time is especially helpful.

3) Encourage rest. Without adequate sleep, the body can't rejuvenate or overcome the effects of the trauma and stress.

4) Encourage physical exercise. Sometimes the last thing a person who has experienced trauma wants to do is engage in physical exercise, but this is a really good way to help them get rid of the negative effects of stress. Whether it's a walk, stretching, or exercise together, it can help your loved one get back into the flow of daily life.

5) Encourage relaxation. After someone experiences trauma and is dealing with stress, they need to re-learn how to relax. If you know your loved one enjoys reading, encourage them with some books. If music is a favorite, try putting on some music they may enjoy. Whatever it is that you know your loved one generally finds enjoyment doing, make it a point to encourage that kind of activity. Better yet, join them!

6) Listen and Talk. Give assurance and connect with others. When your loved one expresses or show signs of being depressed, guilty, or angry, they need assured and validated that their feelings are normal given what transpired. Just hearing your reassurance will help, even if it's quickly dismissed. Be consistent. 

 

Tips for good listeners

Stay Present:
Keep your attention on the person speaking and what they are saying.
 

Don’t Give Advice:
Don't give advice unless it's specifically requested.
 

Trust The Process:
Don't dive into solutions until the speaker has said what they need to say.
 

Let Things Even Out Over Time:
When you offer support during a hard time, you help them come through it, and they will support you too when the time comes.

 

Read this Tip Sheet on How to Help a Loved One through Trauma. 
Read about how hourly sessions or weekly intensive sessions work at Discovering MErcy. 
Read our suggested resources, such as our readling list, or check out our featured podcasts, and videos.

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