Hello online community.
What do you do when someone near you goes through a crisis? We all want to care for others as we see them go through painful events but sometimes we don’t quite know how.
Central Texas just experienced a weekend of flooding and weather crisis leaving many in a state of shock or loss or both.
Here are some specific and practical tips for either offering your resources or to directly come alongside someone who is in pain after these events. See the PDF below for more to share!
[This blog doesn’t address crisis needs such as self-harm, suicidality, or traumatic relationships. Please connect with me or another professional if you have questions for current needs.]
This week crisis care responders and first responders are meeting the immediate needs of those impacted by the weather induced incidents. We can support them by connecting through their websites and understanding community needs we might be able to meet indirectly. (i.e. www.adrntx.org , www.redcross.org, or local news websites)
Next week and the following weeks we can continue to support those who go in the trenches. We can also be mindful of who we can come alongside in our own circles of influence. Begin to apply the attached tips to come alongside others directly.
To come alongside well, remember the following:
- Engage—engage with God first before you engage with another person. Let God comfort you, direct you, and care for you. Then engage with others first with your presence. Presence is powerful, just being there means so much. Next engage with words, non-verbal caring, prayer, or with direct actions of helping. If you choose to pray, remember praying with someone in crisis is for the purpose of connecting them to God and his resources. Also remember when in crisis, we are naturally distressed so this distress is felt in relationship with God as well.
- Develop—develop your responding skills so that you are engaging in helpful ways. Helping means to come alongside and meet the direct need in a corresponding supportive action. This happens as we listen well, respond well and refer well. We listen for words and the non-verbal’s. We respond with comfort, grace and then truth or practical tips through words, prayer or actions. Referring happens when we feel overwhelmed, scared, or notice there is someone who can better care for the need and then connecting the people involved.
- Manage—manage your own pace of care giving. An effective helper always helps out of their own health. This means taking into account your own limits and setting up healthy boundaries in your helping. Healthy boundaries always serve to enhance the relationship. As we help we might want to help more than is needed or help is ways that are hurtful rather than helpful. Managing also means recognizing when you might not be the best person to help and referring that person to a more specific helper.
- Understand—understand the nearby and local resources. We never help alone but always in connection with God and our community. So reach out and utilize the nearby resources. If you don’t know where to start, call your church or your community service. They can help you find another place that might be more specific.
As the flood waters recede, the tears will continue to flow. We can be present with others to listen well, respond well, and refer well as we offer healthy coming alongside.
I’m in this with you and here for you.
If you would like ongoing training in these kinds of skills, check out our Coming Alongside 5 week course soon to be available online. Or check with ADRN or the Red Cross for training.
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me which is focused on providing short-term global opportunities for local people to apply their skills or gifts. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
- Photo pinned by mybodypeaceofmind from tumblr and found on Pinterest