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No prescriptions, just descriptions.

After they have shared, reflect back what you heard. This isn’t just to get the facts straight, it’s to help them feel known. Your aim is to understand the person, not the problem. If you’re tempted to hash out the juicy details, you may be more interested in forming your opinion, than offering your ear. Let them include or leave out whatever they will. You can’t control, nor are you responsible for their emotions, but it can really help someone to not feel alone if they feel understood. As their friend and advocate, give empathy not advice.


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