PTSD can present many challenges that can cause even the most concerned friend to worry. When you have a loved one or friend that is battling PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, you will want to try everything you can to be there to support them through their struggles. Social support is essential in overcoming the difficulties often associated with PTSD, and they will be happy to have a trusted friend to lean on. As experts in individual therapy in Orlando, we help many people cope with their PTSD. These are some of the ways that you can help a friend who is struggling with their own PTSD journey.
One of the aspects of PTSD is fear and worry, so it is important to make your friends feel safe when they are in your company. Learn what makes them feel the most comfortable and safe, and replicate these behaviors over time. Offer them hugs or sit within close proximity, spend time cooking or enjoying meals with them, and offer positive affirmations to help ease their pain. Although you may not be explicitly helping them with their fears, you are showing that they are safe.
Clear communication can also help to ease fears for those struggling with PTSD. Many people that suffer from PTSD also have dissociation, which means they will experience detachment from reality. By being clear in your communication, you help to ground them in the reality that exists right in front of them. This aids in bringing them back to reality and helping them feel less fear and discomfort.
Those with PTSD are going to encounter triggers that may stimulate negative emotions or traumatic memories. When you notice your friend going through this, or you also familiarize yourself with their triggers, you can help them stay grounded by also learning some grounding exercises. In these moments, you can practice exercises like meditation or breathing exercises, which will prevent them from feeling the negativity that often comes after encountering a trigger.
When your friend is going through a tough time with their PTSD, they may need someone there to remind them of their strengths. Talk to them about how brave they are being or remind them of how far they have come in their journey. Reaffirming their strengths can also help them stay present in reality and realize things they may have forgotten. These reminders can prevent them from slipping into negative self-talk and criticism that can end up stunting them.
Being there for a friend with PTSD may have its challenges, but it is an incredibly important role to fill. Support is essential in overcoming these hurdles and living a life without all the negative emotions that PTSD can bring. If you are looking for individual therapy in Orlando, contact Orlando Thrive Therapy to hear more about our approach to trauma today.
Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at 407-592-8997 for more information.