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When Someone Shares Their Pain…

May 30, 2022

When someone tells you of their pain, just listen.

Do not try to solve or suggest they will get through it or ask to look at the bright side.

While it appears helpful, it is actually diminishing the experience of the person who as a result, may feel more immersed in their distress, not less. It can inadvertently suggest their issue is not so significant when to them, it is.

Listening however, validates the experience.

It says I hear and belive you. I can bear witness to your pain.

Listening allows for the expression of pain which in turn can then bring relief.

Very often in hearing the pain of another, it can be uncomfortable for the listener.

Hence that offer of support that inadvertently may diminish, may actually be to assuage the discomfort of the listener exposed to the pain of another.

Hang in. Just listen.

Your listening will be a gift.

If unsure if the person is looking for feedback of guidance, just ask if they are. They will tell you.

If so and you have something to offer, then do so.

If you have nothing meaningful to reply, then say that. Your honesty will be appreciated as will as your ear.

Listening often requires effort.

Suspending one’s voice in favor of another can take practice.

Sit quietly. Hear another’s voice.

It is amazing what you may learn.

It will be a gift well received by the other, finally able to voice their distress fully.

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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for counseling and support – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

One Comment
  1. Jack Love permalink


    Thank you for this. In my nearly 50 years as a mental health professional, I have yet to see better advice for therapists. Thanks for the reminder.

    Wishing you good health and a successful heart procedure.


    Jack D. Love, MA, LMFT
    Forensic Family Services
    1828 Tribute Road, Suite L
    Sacramento, CA 95815
    Tel 916-929-5765, Fax 916-925-2606http://www.jacklove.com
    PLEASE do not use e-mail to communicate urgent, confidential or personal information as security and time sensitivity cannot be guaranteed. This message, including any attachments, may be confidential and privileged and is intended solely for the recipient(s) named above. If you have received this message in error, please delete and notify the sender. Thank you.

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