How can I be a safe place?
In the last blog entry: it’s ok to not be ok, I discussed the need for “us” to be a safe place. The light bulb came on and I realized that not everyone is familiar with what it means to be a safe place. Therefore, below I have expounded upon the blog entry and gave some insight into what it means to be a safe place/person
Not everyone is qualified to provide professional counseling services. However, most people can be a safe place where a friend or family member can turn in confidence and begin the healing process after a major crisis or life event. If you desire to be a safe place, a person that can be trusted to confide in please read and put into action the list of items below.
- Listen-don't judge. Try simply to understand the individual’s feelings without placing judgment on those feelings.
- Offer shelter. If possible, stay with the person at a comfortable, reassuring place. This may mean you spend time with them at their home or they come to your home. Often times people may feel comfortable in public locations, but be careful about talking about very emotional topics in public.
- ·Be there and give comfort. The individual may need to talk a lot or at odd hours initially. Be there as much as you can and encourage the person to talk to others.
- Encourage the person to seek professional help. Become familiar with counselors in the community and suggest a couple. Know your limits and acknowledge areas that you are not comfortable in addressing.
- Be patient. Don't try to rush the healing process or "make it better." Accept the person's choice of what to do about the situation/crisis - don't be overly protective.
- Ask what is needed, help the person list some options, then encourage independent decision-making, even if you disagree. It is very important that the individual make decisions and have them respected.
- Put aside your feelings and get support for yourself. It may be too overwhelming to deal with your feelings/reactions to the situation/crisis on top of the person’s. If you have strong feelings talk to a friend, professional or call a support hotline.