Communication Skills

Communication Skills

The way you communicate with someone in distress is vital. People who have been through a trauma may be very upset, anxious or confused. Some people may blame themselves for things that happened. Being calm and showing understanding can help people in distress feel more safe and secure, understood, respected and cared for appropriately.

Someone who has been through a trauma may want to tell you their story. Listening to someone’s story can be a critical support. However, it is important not to pressure anyone to tell you what they have been through. Some people may not want to speak about what has happened or their circumstances. However, they may value it if you stay with them quietly, let them know you are there if they want to talk, or offer practical support eg a glass of water. Don’t talk too much; allow for silence. Keeping silent for a while may give the person space and encourage them to share with you if they wish.

Communicate well, be aware of both your words and body language, such as facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, and the way you sit or stand in relation to the other person. Each culture has its own particular ways of behaving that are appropriate and respectful. Speak and behave in ways that take into account the person’s culture, age, gender, customs and religion.


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