How do I help someone I have a hard time relating to?
Last Updated: 11/30/2020 at 6:05pm
Serene Sarah George, MA in Psychology (Counseling), Diploma in Counseling Skills
Counselor following person centered therapeutic approach, also drawing from techniques of CBT.
Top Rated Answers
When listening to people who have struggles I have not experienced personally, I have found it most effective to focus on the emotions involved to reach an understanding. For example, a good friend of mine has OCD. While I have never experienced OCD, I can listen to her story and identify the emotions involved. I do not experience the compulsions characteristic of OCD, but I can identify and relate to her emotions, like frustration with oneself or a feeling of helplessness. I've found that others often focus only on the speaker's specific situation or response, and showing that you understand the feelings involved can make them feel truly heard.
If you want to help someone, nothing but that sole desire to help someone is the minimum requirement. The mere fact that you are broadening your mind to try to help someone even if your opinion is a great start. The next step would be try to understand that person. The reasoning for how they act, and why they act like that. Even if you can't relate, you can try to understand and learn more about that person. Next, check if they are willing to be helped. You cannot help someone who does not want to be helped, and forcefully pushing your desire upon them might be negative. Next, understand the issue. If you can't relate to the person, mayhaps, the issues for you seems kind of trivial and you might not find it as difficult. but you also might find it difficult to do something they find easy. But everyone responses are different. So don't try to force how you would solve that issue, or situation, instead try to coax that person into finding a way to step up and help themselves. We can only push and teach people to help themselves, helping without their involvement would act negatively.
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