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          How To Give and Receive Support

          September 05, 2002

          If you are grieving over the loss of a loved one, a support system is crucial. Dr. Phil shares his advice on giving and receiving support:

          Developing a support system:

          You have to be willing to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak; it’s OK to let people give you what they can.

          Be open and honest about what you need.

          The benefit of a support system is that your whole network won’t be down on the same day. When you really need support, someone will be there.

          Expect ups and downs over the following months, but trust that the pain will gradually lessen.

          Giving support to a grieving friend: 

          Be available.  

          Remember that your friend is in a very different place emotionally.

          If you're not sure what to say or do, just ask. Say, "Do you feel like talking about this right now?" If they do, be there for them.

          Don't tell them you know how they feel, unless you've really been there. You don't have to know exactly what they are going through to offer support.

          If they don't want to discuss their heartache, don't press the issue. Let them know that you are there for them regardless.

          Don't treat your friend like an invalid. Encourage him or her to get out and get busy doing day-to-day activities.

          Be supportive but not smothering.

          Recognize that you may need your own support system. Sometimes you can give support, and other times you'll need to receive it. Don't expect yourself to always be the leader.

          Watch out for a shift into depression. If you see your friend withdrawing into an emotion fetal position, it's time to intervene.

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