Support In, Reach Out

A wide range of feelings is often reported by friends and loved ones—frustration, fear, lack of power or control, confusion, guilt or anger—all of which are completely normal. Using the Support In, Reach Out model allows supporters to acknowledge their own feelings while providing comfort and care to the survivor.

Where does your relationship to the survivor fall in this model?  At the center of the model is the survivor.  Each circle contains people in the survivor's life; assuming closer relationships in the smaller rings and indirect supporters in the larger rings.  

When you communicate inward, or with someone who has a more intimate relationship to the survivor, the goal should be to listen, express concern, and demonstrate compassion; not to unload.  Everyone impacted by the survivor's trauma may experience a range of emotions and should reach out to individuals in the larger rings to unload their concerns and complaints.  When talking to someone in the same ring or smaller ring, it is important to be mindful of the relationship that person has with the survivor.  When talking to someone in a larger ring, it is important to be mindful of what you are sharing―keep the focus on your feelings rather than sharing the survivor's experience.

Is what you are saying helpful or hurtful?  Try to keep the model in mind when venting and/or expressing concern.  Unloading can make it difficult for people to process their own feelings and ultimately help the person who needs the most sensitivity and understanding―the survivor.