Response to Rehab: What to SaySo, what is the best response to learning that someone you love has decided to go to rehab or has already been through a treatment program? One thing you shouldn’t do is completely avoid the topic or pretend it isn’t a big deal. A topic like rehab understandably makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and when people can feel uncomfortable, they often react by minimizing the problem, being critical, or offering a platitude like “everything will be alright.” (Journal of Extension) However, this is not what someone who is just getting out of rehab needs. Those dealing with this challenge need people around them who will be able to empathize and listen to what they have to say, even if they haven’t dealt with something similar. First and foremost, the way to help is to be prepared to be an attentive listener.Read more: Effectiveness of Substance Abuse Treatment
Response to Rehab: Be a Sounding BoardNext, let your loved one express his or her emotions. This isn’t necessarily always easy, because while you might feel simple relief or happiness that they are finally dealing with their problems, he or she might have mixed feelings after returning from rehab: relief, sadness, anger, anxiety. When helping a friend or family member through a difficult and confusing situation, a lot of people try to be rational and offer advice. However, professional counselors have found that they’re more successfully able to help people through these difficult situations when they focus on the person’s emotions instead of cold, hard facts. Be a sounding board for your loved one – let them get their feelings off their chest.
Response to Rehab: Ask How You Can HelpIf your loved one seems reluctant to talk, ask them what kind of support they need so that you know exactly how to help through words and actions since everyone reacts differently to different situations. Maybe your loved one was avoiding the topic of rehab because they didn’t want to upset you – you’ll never know if you don’t ask! Sometimes just asking is the best way to get someone to open up to you.Ultimately, the best response to rehab is whatever makes your loved one feel the most comfortable and supported. Just keep in mind the goal of recovery, as defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association: “individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and try to reach their full potential.” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) By keeping this overarching goal in mind, you can begin figuring out how to help through words and actions.
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