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How Family Members Can be Supportive

After exposure to a traumatic event many people experience unsettling reactions that are out of the ordinary for them. Exposure to these incidents may result in a disruption of person's physical and emotional well-being. These unsettling reactions are not uncommon; in fact they are normal. No one is immune from these responses, regardless of your age or past experience. Often these reactions appear immediately after the event or they may appear hours, days or weeks later. The following are some coping tips that may help your family member deal with exposure to this type of trauma.

  • Listen, listen, listen - One of the most important needs after exposure to a traumatic event is the need to talk about it. It may be difficult for you to hear, or you may get tired of hearing about the same story, but talking is a critical part of your loved ones recovery. Be supportive and sympathetic, but try to avoid overreacting. Your loved one needs to tell his or her own story. If your loved one tries to shield you from the event by refusing to talk about it, you should not force him or her to talk about it.

  • Don't encourage your loved one to quit work - After crisis emotions run high. It is easy to rush into things without thinking. While it may be difficult for your loved one to face going back to work, returning to work may actually be the best way to recover from the crisis. Work can provide the support of others who have been through the same thing you have

  • Include the whole family in the healing process - Both you and your spouse may feel that you should protect your children from the upsetting event. But they will undoubtedly know something is wrong. If you try to hide the truth from them, your children may think they are somehow to blame. This can be a stressful time for them too, and they may need some help getting through it.

  • Watch for signs of strain in your relationship - Marital problems are common after exposure to a traumatic event. If you experience this, please contact the EAP.

  • Take care of yourself - you also need some support. Ask family or friends for help, and don't be afraid to call the EAP for assistance.

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