Peer support is so important for change. We know we’re not all therapists, but peer support is as if not more important than therapy. And all of us can learn to use therapy skills on ourselves and to support others.
How can we support our buddy to create positive change in their lives?
How can we be different to other friends and family members who (unknowingly?) silence us?
- Try not to interrupt. Try to actively listen (see attached file)) without thinking about what you are going to say next.
- Don’t try and fix things, let them express how they feel and think about the issue. Expressing is the first step towards healing and moving forward.
- Try not to respond with your story, e.g. by saying: “Oh yes, that happens to me too…” How often do other people do that to us and how frustrating is it?
- Instead respond by summarising what they have said and check you have understood them.
- After listening and validating their experience, use the questions we use in our programme to support your buddy:
- What have you tried?
- What did and didn’t work?
- If you feel stuck, what’s going on to keep you stuck? (Read here more about fear and secondary gains – see point 7)
- What support do you need from me and others?
- After that if you think your story or other ideas may help, you can ask if you can share it.
- Agree an action plan to work on until you touch base next time.
Please remember that this takes practice.