Session Key Points

  • Supporting distressed people can be rewarding as well as challenging. In order to remain effective it is important that you pay attention to your own needs and ensure you don’t become overwhelmed. See session: 01- Key Principles in Supporting Students
  • The process of supporting people is to help the person to work through what it is they need to do to help themselves. You are not responsible for the decisions they make; your task is to sit alongside them and help them consider their options
  • In order to support a distressed person you need to be able to have some ability to reflect on yourself. It is useful to ask yourself:
    • How do I manage when I’m distressed?
    • How easy is it for me to ask for support?
    • Can I talk about my feelings with relative ease?
    • Do I trust people to listen to me without judgment?
    • Can I tolerate someone being upset without trying to fix it?
    • How aware am I about my prejudices

Consider how your responses to these questions might help you sharpen your skills in listening and supporting someone who is distressed

  • Our ability to listen does improve by practicing the skills detailed in this session. Remember they are skills, which can be helpful in improving the connection we make in any relationship
  • It isn’t wrong to be upset, sad, angry etc. by what we hear sometimes. However it can be very important not to express strong emotional responses to what someone is saying as this may well silence them
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