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Art Of Comforting : What to Say and Do for People in Distress

The Art of Comforting: What to Say and Do for People in Distress - Val Walker Loved the charts. To be comforting...We don't offer solutions, but do offer our presence.We listen closely.We wait, let the person find his own words.We offer our time, take our time, even just a few minutes. We don't rush.We allow someone's grief or trauma to take its own course, have its own pace.Healing means learning to live with loss, rather than get over it completely.We stay open and let the distressed person talk, even if he or she is upset.No multitasking -- we give our undivided attention, with nothing in our hands and no distractions in the room. Turn off media -- communicate in a private, quiet, confidential setting.Don't try to take the pain away, allow them to feel what they feel. We accept that we may never know if we helped or how we helped.We admit that we do not fully understand their journey, but offer to learn more about it with them.Myths about comforters: They are not always warm people, touchy-feely, or huggers. They don't always know what to say. They don't always have lots of time; little things can make a big difference.Keep body language open or neutral -- don't be closed off. Be at eye-level. Talk naturally, pause often to listen. Tell them how sorry you feel about what has happened. Check in regularly without being intrusive or demanding. Ask open-ended questions. Keep your voice calm.People in need of comfort sometimes resist it from those closest to them; it may make them feel uncomfortable or too vulnerable. Be willing and understanding of accepting a background role if that will help the distressed person the most. AVOID PLATITUDES.It sounds like this is really hard.How are you doing with all this?I can only imagine how you have coped.I'm so sorry to hear your news. It isn't fair, is it?I believe in you. I'm thinking of you every day. I can offer my help, if you like.It sounds hard, getting through these days. How is your body dealing with the strain?This might take time.I believe you will know the right time to return to work.Take all the time you need for yourself.Tell me more, if you like.It sounds like nothing will be the same after this.I can bring you some groceries on Saturday. I can call on Monday. Would you like to come with me to xyz on a certain day?If they are repeating themselves -- It sounds like this is really important to you. This sounds almost too big to sink in. I hear you.Instead of saying you need exercise, ask them to go for a walk with you. Make suggestions about support groups, reading materials etc as suggestions, not commands. Don't ask why something happened, just focus on comfort after it happened. Suggestions for writing:Tell them you are thinking of them.Tell them how you feel.Ask how they are doing.Let them know what you notice about any positive ways they are coping.If you know the deceased, include a shared memory, photo, keepsake, etc if possible. Express your desire to stay in touch.Follow up, stay in touch. Avoid: platitudes, upbeat news about yourself, assurance that you completely understand what they are going through and/or that everyone experiences these problems.The arts' role in comforting.The comfort in being in an audience.Identifying with the underdog.Movies, music, scrapbooking. Creating together -- crafts, etc. Play games together. Create a shrine or a memory box or wreath. Create a ritual. Nature: birds, dogs, horses. Gardening.There are also lists of comforting movies, etc, in appendixes -- I didn't find this as useful as the rest of the book.