Listen your way to a buffet

Support starts with asking and listening. People may not ask for the support they need. Do not assume people feel as strong or as capable as they appear, or that you know what they need.

Ask “What do you need?” and then listen, honestly, genuinely and safely—not from a place of judgment about coping or not coping.

Needs will change and vary across individuals and across time. What is helpful for one person or team might not be helpful for another. Asking and listening will help support to be relevant. Be prepared to take, what Kate Riddell from Firefoxes terms, ‘a buffet approach’ to support, offering different options for different people at different stages.

Ask open-ended questions and do not assume you know how people feel. Lots of mistakes happen when we think we know how people feel. Louise Steen Kryger - IFRC

We assume people know what they’re doing. This is all new to people. They then don’t question things because people expect they know what they’re doing. We don’t understand what support people might need. They rarely ask for help. Ted Tuthill – British Red Cross

Staff care looks so different in different places. Different cultures have their own ways of expressing and recovering from stress. Dr Rick Williamson – Headington Institute.

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