How to Help Someone Cope After a Traumatic Event

man at a group therapy

It is often difficult to know how to help someone who’s been in a traumatic event or incident. You don’t know what questions to ask. You don’t know if you should give advice. You barely know how to offer help or support. But it’s also important to realize that your role as a friend, family, or loved one is critical in helping these trauma victims.

Unknown to many, there are a lot of things you can do to help a victim of trauma. Simply accompanying them to the physio clinic for their therapy will go a long way toward showing your support. Victims of traumatic accidents or events often feel distant. They shut off loved ones, too. But by trying to break these walls they surround themselves in, you’re showing them that you are there for them.

Know When to Ask Questions

Or maybe know when not to ask questions. Don’t feel bad if someone doesn’t want to talk about a traumatic experience. Contrary to some beliefs, rehashing what happened is not always the solution to coming to terms with it. Sometimes, the way for a person’s escape is exactly what this person needs. If they don’t want to talk about what happened, be respectful of their decision. When the time comes when they want to discuss these events, you’ll be the first to know.

man post-accident

Offer Practical Help

Is your loved one afraid to drive to work because of what happened? Offer to drive them to work, the grocery store, or the mall. Be present when they want you to be. If they need to be alone, let them be, too. Let them know that you’re a call away even if they don’t want to talk right now. Offer to go with them to the therapist or counselor, too. Maybe they’re afraid to seek professional help. You can be that someone who will push them to see a therapist.

Be Patient

It can be tempting to tell someone to snap out of it. Don’t. If you want to help your loved one, you have to be patient with them. Don’t expect them to get over the traumatic incident after a certain time. People have different timelines. Everyone’s response is different. Some people think that by telling trauma victims to “look at the bright side” or “look for the silver lining,” they’ll automatically recover from the incident. That’s not how this works. That’s as far from reality as possible.

Help Them Get Involved in Activities

Ask yourself: how can this person relax and be comfortable under the circumstances? Try to involve this person in any physical activity such as exercising, swimming, sports, and jogging. If you’re into hiking, you can invite your loved one to go with you. It’s exhilarating and relaxing to spend time outdoors. These activities can help reduce stress levels in a trauma victim.

Do your research well. Speak to a professional on how you can help someone who had gone through a traumatic incident. Don’t be afraid to seek help for yourself, too. It can be very intimidating and challenging to help a trauma victim, so try to get as much advice and support as you can get.

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