When a loved is in pain, you always want to help. Unfortunately when that pain is mental or emotional it can feel like there is nothing you can do. Perhaps they are going through a divorce, a death or some other kind of loss. A good way to provide support to your loved one is to suggest and help them to find (if they ask) a counsellor. This gives them the opportunity to talk with someone separate from the event. In the case of a devastating event such as a death or loss, often all the support network are affected and therefore less able to help. A counsellor is experienced in providing a safe place to talk as well as strategies for coping.
How can you bring up counselling?
Keep communication open
Communication is always important in relationships, but can be especially important when someone is going through a difficult time. This doesn’t mean that you always need to talk about the specific event or situation that is causing pain, but that you be there to talk things through. This may be talking about something completely different if that’s what your loved one needs. Grief has many stages and being allowed to express all of them allows the individual to move through them. If you feel it may help them, recommend or bring up the option of seeing a grief counsellor.
Practical help is also important
In an emotionally difficult time we often rush to offer emotional support – a chat, a shoulder to cry on, or other such forms of support. These are important, but so is practical help – and it is often more easily given. When someone is emotionally distraught they find it hard to complete normal or daily tasks and duties – but life continues on and they need to be done. Taking a load off your loved ones shoulders by helping out with cooking, looking after their children or providing other practical support can be a huge relief for the affected person. Providing this practical support to allow them to take time for themselves and seek counselling is also important. Offer to help them find the right counsellor, drive them there, or babysit while they are in sessions.
Give your loved one time
Time may not heal all wounds but it does take time for situations to improve. Pushing improvement on a loved one can cause them to go deeper inside themselves and put stress on your relationship. Understanding that your loved one needs more time is key to continuing a supportive relationship. If they tell you they aren’t ready for a counsellor accept their no. In time they may return to you with a changed mind.
Be there – in the long run
When something devastating first happens people are usually inundated with love and support. Over time however, this support tends to dwindle as people return to their lives. If you’re very busy, set a reminder in your phone to keep checking in on how your loved one is doing. As their needs and emotions change and progress they will still need you there.
If you still can’t find the suitable counselling place to go to, try Life Supports and turn your loved ones’ lives around for the better!