Monday, October 17, 2016

Developing Skills to Meet Courageous Disclosures

Our next challenge, now that there is so much truth-telling, is developing the skills to meet these courageous disclosures.
We know a tremendous amount about trauma and healing now. But -- and I say this as a social worker -- we cede this knowledge to professional clinical spaces. We think that people who have been hurt can be helped in the magical therapeutic treatment space, and polite social discourse can remain untroubled by this ugliness.
I say this as someone whose life has been absolutely transformed by what I have found in the magical therapeutic treatment space.
But if recent events tell us nothing else, they tell us that the general discourse cannot be shielded from interpersonal and sexual trauma.
This is why we have to learn skills of empathy: The ability to be present to someone else's strong emotion. The willingness to be awkward when we're not sure what words are right. And, the right words:
I'm sorry that happened to you.
I believe you.
You didn't deserve that.
That wasn't your fault.
I'm glad you told me.
Lynne Marie Wanamaker, Facebook post, October 15, 2016

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