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This content is taken from the The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust's online course, Grief, Loss, and Dying During COVID-19. Join the course to learn more.

Barefoot Helping

Can you help with people’s stress and grief during the Coronavirus epidemic?

In the modern world we have located a lot of responsiblity for helping with specialists – doctors, therapists, counsellors and so on. But the activities around reflective practice in Week 4 are designed to suggest that it can be possible for many ‘lay people’ to offer help to others using some simple, but important principles.

  • You must be comfortable with strong feelings, and able to bear others displaying these.
  • If you have been recently bereaved yourself you may be too ‘close’ to your own grief to be able to bear doing the work of helping others. But this is a matter for your judgement.
  • You need to be able to put yourself and your own distress or grief to one side as you offer a helping space to other people. Your job is to make emotional space for them.
  • It’s important to help people focus on ‘what happened’, or ‘what have you been through’ rather than trying to answer the ‘how can I feel better?’ question. Talking and sharing is healing in itself.
  • You need to have someone you can talk to in turn, outside of the circle of people you are offering help to. You may not feel it at the time, but powerful feelings ‘get inside’ us and we need somewhere to take them in our turn.
  • If possible you need to have a quiet, safe physical space in which you offer reflective help. Interruptions or noise can unsettle the atmosphere and make people feel unsafe.

So don’t be afraid of offering yourself to others. We need all the help we can get during these difficult times.

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This article is from the free online course:

Grief, Loss, and Dying During COVID-19

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

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