4 Ways to Help a Friend with PTSD

4 Ways to Help a Friend with PTSD

4 Ways to Help a Friend with PTSD

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.

Make Them Feel Safe

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.

Always Be Clear

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.

Practice Grounding Exercises with Them

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.

Celebrate Their Strengths

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.

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Heather Oller

Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.