Looking for some ideas for what to say? Use these tips to help you start the conversation.
If you know someone is in therapy, it’s OK to ask them about it.
Encourage them to continue what they want to talk about by using reassuring phrases, such as “please continue, I’m listening” and “tell me more about that.”
Learn how to listen without offering fixes.
Offer validation by saying things like, “I can understand why you feel that way,” or “that must be really hard.”
Sometimes conversations can feel heavier than anticipated. If you’re not comfortable, ask to pause the conversation. You can maintain boundaries that feel healthy for you too – let them know when you will be able to engage again or help them find another person to talk to.
Keep a comfortable distance. Consider sitting next to them rather than in front. Be mindful of your hands, and try to keep them where they can see them.
It’s OK if long—or even awkward—pauses fill your conversation. Embrace it. Pauses can provide a space for healing, processing, and taking deep breaths. Be open minded. Be ready to listen.