Some Helpful Suggestions

This is by no means exhaustive, but rather a list of some suggestions that may be appropriate 'some of the time in some situations' :

  • Let the person talk about what has happened. Learn what the loss means for them.
  • Be a good listening ear. Ask open-ended questions. Reflect their words back to them.
  • Try to understand if the loss is an isolated single event or part of a chain of losses.
  • Explore the relationship of this loss to other losses they have experienced. How have they dealt with their losses? What have they learned about themselves from other losses?
  • Recognise the intensity of feelings that can arise from any loss that has significance for the person experiencing that loss.
  • Allow time.
  • Try to identify and label the feelings that are there.
  • Suggest and explore creative ways of externalising the feelings and reactions to the loss.
  • Understand that exploration of “the new self” is rather like living through adolescence all over again.
  • Try to retain as many safe and secure regions as possible.
  • Explore available resource people, organisations and activities and identify their location.
  • Support those who are in turn acting in a supportive role for the person or group you are assisting.
  • Remember the need for practical support to assist day to day living.14. Encourage all people affected by the loss to interact when they are ready and able to do so.
  • Be aware of the changing range of responses into the future.
  • Provide adequate and appropriate information to each individual involved at a level they can understand.
  • Explain issues carefully. Never assume understanding.
  • Encourage sharing with others who have “been there done that” but who also have moved forward creatively.
  • Explore internal resources and identify and label those same resources.
  • Be mindful that maturing may raise new issues to be dealt with in the future, or the need for issues to be handled in a new way.
  • Try to avoid using clichés and neat solutions.
  • Don’t ever abuse trust or confidentiality. If words spoken in confidence need to be passed on address that issue directly with the person you are working with.
  • Be sensitive to the likely 'triggers' and special occasions that will arise and if appropriate be there for support at such a time.
  • Be there but give space.
  • Explore defences and coping styles that may be unhelpful and affirm behaviour that is appropriate. Encourage and reassure.