To support someone who’s experienced trauma …
1. You don’t need to have any answers.
2. You don’t need to have gone through the same thing yourself.
3. You need to be able to listen. Really listen. Through the deep concern expressed in your eyes.
4. Silence is good. Often words don’t help. What really matters is the fact that you are there.
5. Find a way to convey that you absolutely ‘get’ how terrible this is, and how it’s shocked them to the core.
7. Often questions make things worse. If used at all, they should be used sparingly, and with sensitivity.
8. Do not offer your opinions or give advice. Never comment on the person who has caused them so much harm. Keep your focus on the victim, and what they are going through.
9. Keep emphasizing strongly that the person isn’t crazy. Their feelings and reaction – no matter how intense they are – are actually a normal response to what has happened.
10. Communicate the fact that you believe in them, that you know that they can cope, and you believe they will survive.