How To Really Help Someone

While attending a joint Air Force/Navy conference for children and youth professionals this week I am getting the chance to learn much about the needs of families whose dad or mom is deployed. The things these families have to endure is incredible, and I am amazed at the resources provided through these professionals.

Dr. Angela Huebner gave an informative keynote on research related to the impact of deployment on military families. One area of focus was function of informal support to individuals. She broke the support needed into 5 categories:

  • Emotional (help with feelings, offering verbal support and caring words)
  • Instrumental (help with practical tasks, i.e. doing something for them)
  • Informational (achieve better decisions with a problem)
  • Companionate (spend time with them in context of support)
  • Validation (support feelings of worthiness, importance, value)

I transposed her thoughts to my own situation. I could probably be more effective in helping someone if I first tried to discern what would be the best way to help them. Do they need someone to just listen? Or do they need me to physically do something for them? Maybe they want someone to help them make a decision and need information to make that decision.

Of course it will change as their situation changes, but analyzing the situation before just jumping in would seem to be a good idea.

Jones LoflinComment