How can you be there for a loved one who is hurting? We can often look past our loved one’s pain by only being able to acknowledge our own discomfort. We often try and distract them or try to “fix” their pain. How can we be there and provide a space for them to feel their pain and still be supportive? Try these things instead:

  1. “It’s okay to be sad.” We live in a fast-paced world where things change rapidly and people are moving on to the next big thing. There are a lot of articles and self-help blogs that tell us how to be happy, cheerful and love ourselves. By providing a space to allow someone to be sad, we are helping them give themselves permission to feel their pain. When we acknowledge that sadness is an emotion and its okay to feel it, we give our loved one the space they need to feel okay about crying or being angry or acting out in their own way.
  2. “I’m listening.” To know the person that you are talking to is only going to listen and hear what you are saying is a relief. They aren’t listening to respond, they aren’t listening to provide a solution. They are only a sounding board for whatever it is that is on your mind. Let them vent through tears, anger, or frustration. You don’t have to fix the situation. You don’t have to do anything. Just hear what they are saying.
  3. “Let me sit with you.” “It is more helpful to listen to sadness than try to relieve it.” – The Gottman Institute. You do not have to fix the “problem.” Knowing that someone is sitting in the pain with you is enough to help someone through it. Offer tissues, a shoulder, an ear. Sit in silence, laughter, chatter. Whatever is needed.

These tips are just tips, and often further support is required. We have a dedicated intake team to answer any questions you have about therapy. You can chat with our team in real-time online or give them a call on (03) 9067 8810, they would love to help you with your journey.

Books we recommend:

  • I Am Not Sick I Don’t Need Help: How to Help Someone with Mental Illness by Xavier Amador
  • Difficult Personalities: A Practical Guide to Managing the Hurtful Behavior of Others (and Maybe Your Own) by Helen McGrath and Hazel Edwards

Practitioners we recommend:

View the related Inside VCPS podcast here:

Episode 10 – Coping Strategies

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