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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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How to Help

October 2011

When someone we love is suffering, we want to help. But we do not always know what to do. We are concerned that they may be offended if we ask to help. But we still want to help! So, what can we do?

The first thing that we need to do in this situation is ask! What can I do for you? What do you need? Let the person know what you are available to do, anything from driving the kids to school to doing grocery shopping. Can you cook a meal or is your ability to give more of a monetary gift? Be up front with what, truly, you are available to do. If you say that you can do anything, then get annoyed when they ask you to take the dogs for a walk, that is not fair. Be very explicit about what you are willing to do.

Please also be aware if you are saying that you want to help because you got caught up in the moment, but you are really not the type of person that wants to run errands for someone else. Both you and the person you care about will be uncomfortable when they ask for help and you do not want to follow through.

One of the biggest things that you can do to help someone is to simply be there and listen. Be willing to talk. Even about the scary things. Be that shoulder that they can cry on when that is their need. But again, be honest, if that is not your forte, please do not offer yourself in that role. If your loved one is dying and wants to talk about it, it is not good if you freak out.

We want to help when someone we love is hurting. We can, as long as we are honest with them and ourselves about what we can do.

And, as always, be sure to take care of yourself!

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