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How to help a friend through a tough time, according to a clinical psychologist

Asking about feelings

The act of asking an open-ended question shows that you care. “What does that feel like?” or “What has been on your mind as you’re going through this?” Then, listen non-judgmentally to their response without interrupting or offering your opinion.

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How to help a friend through a tough time, according to a clinical psychologist

How to help a friend through a tough time, according to a clinical psychologist

https://www.vox.com/first-person/2019/12/10/21003228/how-to-help-a-friend

vox.com

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Key Ideas

Asking about feelings

The act of asking an open-ended question shows that you care. “What does that feel like?” or “What has been on your mind as you’re going through this?” Then, listen non-judgmentally to their response without interrupting or offering your opinion.

Willingness to understand

If someone, for instance, has received a new medical diagnosis, you can say, "It sounds like you're worried about the side effects of the treatment. Is that right?"

You can also express kindness by saying, “You’re in such a tough situation.” A facial expression is also a powerful way to show support.

Offering support

Not every person feels comforted in the same way. Acknowledge that by asking "How can I support you?"

It expresses a desire to assist without jumping in to problem-solve.

Negative thoughts

Emotional pain can feel unbearable at times, especially if people lack support. It may sometimes lead to harming thoughts.

If someone you care about is going through a tough time and had suicidal thoughts in the past, ask them directly if they are thinking of hurting themselves. Research shows that upfront questions may benefit them.

Reassurance

Statements like "Everything will be fine," or "It could be worse," rarely help.

Instead, try saying things like, "There's help available; we'll find it together," or “I’ve seen you get through extremely challenging times in the past, I believe in you.

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What is existential therapy
What is existential therapy

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