By: Ally Hoffman, MA, LPC Associate
Supervised by Melissa Barton, MA, LPC-S
Finding The Support You Really Want
Have you ever been confiding in someone and just felt like they didn’t quite understand what kind of support you were looking for at that moment? Those times when you are just left feeling like you want more from your support system or that what you were sharing didn’t land correctly? Well, because of all of our nuanced experiences, it can be difficult for our loved ones to truly know what we want or need in those moments of confidence. As a result, you might sometimes be left feeling misunderstood, unseen, or unheard. Let’s talk about how to find the support you really want.
Addressing the Disconnect
Sometimes when working with clients, it becomes apparent that the safe space we hold for them is simply not enough. This is because no matter how comfortable we feel with someone, it does not fill the void of being truly seen and understood. It is important that we recognize the level of trust required to know that someone will be able to fulfill our requests for connection. Not to mention the contingency of a person understanding that even though they may not have felt attended to before, it is possible. A therapist once told me that we sometimes have to “teach people how to treat us.” Offering the idea that even if we are not feeling as though someone is truly attending to us, there is still a possibility for that to happen, given the right circumstances. While it is important that our loved ones pick up on our cues, occasionally, it takes the courage of the individual seeking help to really guide their support system on how to do so in a way that feels right for them.
Teaching People How to Treat Us
So, I am sure you are wondering at this point – what exactly does it mean to “teach people how to treat us”? For starters, it is important that we look inside ourselves and consider what we really want or need. The reality is, we have to be able to identify those things within ourselves before we can ask others to play their part in helping us.
I ask you to consider the following options when looking for emotional support from others. Are you looking for comfort, advice, or simply for space to be held for you? Each of these manners of attendance offers different levels of involvement and input from the person offering. By letting our support system know what we are looking for and offering guidance throughout the conversation to help support your needs, clients often feel much more seen, heard, and understood. It is important to practice compassion for the support person’s experience and understand that others cannot read our minds. This is how we can cultivate the supportive experience we were hoping for! At the end of the day, we are all looking for support. The context of each of our trials and tribulations can absolutely change the way we care to be attended to. No situation has a foolproof answer!
Support: Looking For Comfort
When we are looking for comfort, we ask our support system to empathize with our experience and offer some supportive reassurance that we are going to be able to manage what it is that life is throwing our way! Comfort can help to give us strength in moments of adversity and can look different depending on the situation.
Ultimately, the idea is to provide a console and help free the person from physical or emotional pain as best we can. For example, this could look like offering physical comfort with something like a hug. It could also be more emotional or mental comfort through interpersonal conversation or even spending time immersing themselves in a movie or related works. Other times, this can look more spiritual in nature, offering comfort through the use of worship or attuning to our higher power. Finally, one of the other ways we can create comfort for those in distress would be by addressing the environmental aspects of the situation and all of the sensory input that entails. This includes sounds, smells, lighting, textures, and general atmosphere.
Support: Looking For Advice
Alternatively, when we are looking for specific ways to help address the situations at hand, we typically seek some advice. A huge piece of this particular type of comfort is whether or not the supportive person is offering suggestions based on request or in an unsolicited manner. This is often the make-or-break factor for this particular type of support. It is also important to consider whether the advice offered is something that you truly wish to do. Even if we ask others for their input, that inquiry does not require that we follow what it is that they suggest.
So, if this is the type of support you are looking for, consider what kinds of advice you might be searching for. It could be recommendations for or against a topic or coaching for specific skill-building or mindset. Alternatively, it could be for objectivity in finding creative solutions or understanding. It could also be more mentorship that entails a longstanding relationship in that you will often seek counsel. Each of these offers guidance to the supporter on what specifically you are looking for at any given moment. They also help to indicate the time commitment and overall involvement.
Support: Looking For Held Space
Finally, one of the simplest ways of showing support is having others offer us a safe space to simply just be. That space we are looking to have held for us does have a few general requirements, though. Typically, we are looking for a judgment-free zone where our supporters feel like they are truly paying attention and grounded in the present moment.
That space is intentionally focused on the person needing the support. Those seeking help are looking for compassion and to be fully embraced and understood when sharing their truth. The space is for the person needing the support and is free of any opinions or input from the supporters. This type of support can greatly impact those who have not felt as though they might be able to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions in the past.
Begin Counseling For Seasonal Support in Katy, TX!
Looking to learn more about how to garner the support you really want? One of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide mental health counseling, as well as other mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more information about seasonal support systems
- Meet with one of our knowledgeable therapists
- Start feeling more seen, heard, and understood!
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!