Four Practical Ideas That Can Help When Others Hurt

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Dr. Randy Carlson shares four practical ideas that can help when others hurt.

Dr. Randy Carlson

Dr. Randy Carlson

I’ve learned that the best comforters are those who have experienced a loss similar to the one who is hurting.

During times of great personal tragedy, it’s difficult to how what to say or how to help, nationally renowned radio and family counselor Dr. Randy Carlson says.

As host of a daily radio show, “Intentional Living,” on more than 200 stations nationwide, Dr. Carlson says he and his staff have a glimpse into the pain people feel. They’re they lost and alone, hurting and desperate for comfort.“

We should be equipped to help those who are hurting, but the truth is when it hits home—close to someone you love—you might find yourself feeling powerless to help,” says president of the Intentional Living Center based in Tucson, Ariz., where the non-profit ministry helps people live intentionally in the five essential areas of life: Faith, Family, Health, Finances and Work.

“Surprisingly, we often hear from listeners who have been hurt by those closest to them. Loved ones weren’t prepared to help those they love through some of the darkest moments in their lives. They are left to face that tragedy alone, hurting and feeling that no one understands, so they pull away.”

Dr. Carlson says it’s human nature to want to help. “The problem is we seldom know how to comfort them. There are no pat answers for that mother whose son had gone to prison. There are no right words for the daughter who has lost her father,” Dr. Carlson says. “

So, what can you and I do to help our friends and loved ones find their way when life deals them a devastating blow?”

Dr. Carlson offered these practical ideas:
1. Be available: “During some of the most painful times in their lives, people often feel invisible. When we don’t know how to respond to someone in pain, we often avoid them. Acknowledge their presence and let them know you’re there for them. If they don’t want to talk, they’ll tell you. You might be surprised how much comfort you can bring just by sitting in silence with someone. Sometimes it’s much better without words for both of you.”
2. Be willing to listen: “People need time to take in what has happened. Sometimes it helps them to talk about how they feel. Usually they’re not looking to you to solve the problem, give them advice or even understand what they’re going through. Be careful not to offer pat answers. Just hear them out.”
3. Be a safe place: “As a true friend you can provide a safe place for them to share their pain. Keep your conversations with them confidential and honor their trust in you. Be very careful not to criticize or assign blame to them or those involved in the situation.”
4. Be prayerful: “Only God can heal those hurts that penetrate so deeply. Many times people feel lost, are deceived into thinking that God has abandoned them, or they just don’t have the energy to pray. Stand in the gap for them by praying.”

Dr. Carlson says he’s learned the best comforters are those who have experienced a loss similar to the one who is hurting.

"It’s amazing to watch a widow receive comfort and healing through the hearts and hands of others widows,” he said. “I’ve seen couples who have lost children fall into the arms of another couple who had the same tragedy in their life."

“When we reach out to others who have experienced our similar pain, perhaps the scar of our own personal loss shrinks a bit, as we do what we can to help others heal,” Dr. Carlson says.

To find additional encouragement and support from Dr. Randy Carlson, visit Intentional Living.

About Dr. Randy Carlson:
When it comes to parenting, marriage, and other relationship issues, people are turning to best-selling author, counselor and radio personality Dr. Randy Carlson. Recognized as an advocate for the family, Randy hosts Intentional Living, a live daily call-in program syndicated to radio stations nationwide.

Randy is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a doctorate in counseling psychology and over twenty-six years of counseling experience. He shares wisdom, encouragement, and comfort from God's Word with people who call the daily Intentional Living program with issues that affect their families today. He has appeared on national radio and television talk shows such as Good Morning America, Focus on the Family with Dr. James Dobson, and Moody's Midday Connection. He also speaks at conferences and seminars around the country.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Randy Carlson, please call Evan Carlson 602-570-0945 or email ecarlson(at)flc(dot)org.

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