Trauma can be a difficult, painful, and frightening experience for anyone, and dealing with it can be a nightmare. And, when you have someone you care about going through traumatic experiences, it could be equally challenging to deal with such a situation.
As someone who cares for them, you may feel helpless in the face of their suffering. However, with the right approach, you may be better equipped to not only handle your helplessness but also support your loved ones through these arduous times.
Some of the renowned certified trauma specialists suggest that it is very important for family members to understand that trauma takes a different approach to healing. Here, we explore in this article five ways that will equip you to handle, support, and help your loved ones deal with trauma.
1. Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help
Trauma can have a profound impact on a person’s mental health, and your loved one should seek professional help if they are struggling. There are experienced certified trauma specialists who can help the person suffering from trauma and guide their family and caretakers in various situations on how to handle the challenges.
But, above all, you should encourage your loved one suffering from trauma to seek professional help. You need to assure them that it is not anything to be ashamed of.
2. Listen Without Judgment
In certain cases, a person suffering from trauma may not speak up, and it may be difficult to make them speak up about what’s bothering them. This could be because they may feel hurt and resentful deep inside. They may go into a self-created cocoon to not get hurt any further. They might develop a deep distrust for people because of which their self-confidence becomes low. This can even develop emotions of worthlessness in them.
Understand that their behavior is often a result of the trauma they have experienced, which is keeping them stuck in a cycle of self-defeating behavior. Allow them to tell their story without any judgment or interruption.
Eminent doctors of psychology and trauma experts advise further to avoid trying to fix their problems or offering unsolicited advice. Instead, be present and attentive, and let them know that you are there for them. Active listening can help your loved one feel heard and validated, which is a vital step in the healing process.
3. Encourage Them to Practice Self-Care
Trauma can take a toll on a person’s physical and emotional well-being. It has a tendency where the person suffering starts neglecting themselves. Encourage your loved one to practice self-care and self-love. Encourage them to go for a walk, exercise, meditate, etc. Enthuse them to eat healthily and get enough sleep every night.
Assist them in finding ways to destress and detoxify their mind and body. Go for a walk with them occasionally.
Your encouraging words and gestures should direct them to practice self-care. It is equally important to understand that practicing self-care will help your loved one feel more grounded and resilient in the face of their trauma.
4. Be Patient and Understanding
Healing from trauma takes time, and it’s not something that can be rushed. So, always be patient with your loved one and understand that their healing journey may have ups and downs. Don’t pressure them to move on too quickly. Yes, hoping is fine and good, but never put expectations on your loved one. This may make them feel overwhelmed and struggle with continuing in the healing process.
Instead, be a source of support and encouragement. Let them know that you are there for them.
5. Educate Yourself About Trauma
You should educate yourself about the symptoms, effects, treatments, and procedures for healing trauma. The more you acquaint yourself with the right information about trauma, you will be better informed and equipped to deal with such situations. Further, you can also guide other family members on dealing with a traumatic patient.
There are many resources available to educate yourself about trauma. However, if you are in doubt at any point, do consult a doctor of psychology or a specialist trauma therapist to know more about trauma. Right information from an authentic source can be life-transforming.