7 Ways to Help a Friend Through a Crisis

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Lori Hope on Aug 11, 2009 at 10:30AM

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7 Ways to Help a Friend Through a Crisis

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1. Imagine Yourself in Your Friend's Shoes

When your friend is suffering, how can you help without harming? Author and cancer survivor Lori Hope listened to our community’s concerns and offers her wisdom.

Poppy suffers from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. “Those who have struggled themselves or who have seen a friend struggle with mental health issues or trauma are generally understanding and supportive. There are others who do try. Then there are the ones who are very self-centered. I guess empathy isn't something that everyone has.”

How to help: Psychologist Paul Ekman, author of Emotional Awareness, explains that while some people have less capacity for emotional empathy, most of us can imagine what others are feeling—if we make an effort. Think about what it might be like to have a disease that’s invisible or a time when you experienced something terribly painful. Acknowledge that although you don’t know what your friend is going through, you’re trying to understand—and you’re there for her.

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