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Deitra Baker

LMFT

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How to Give and Get Emotional Support

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

Emotional intelligence involves providing emotional support for our children and getting the emotional support we need as young adults or parents. Giving and getting the emotional support we need is a part of improving our quality of life.


How we express and receive emotional support is unique to our intrapersonal and interpersonal selves. However, at the core of emotional support is providing love, support, reassurance, acceptance, and encouragement. The need for these things can increase when they have been absent in childhood, after experiencing trauma, and during times of increased stress or sadness. The very presence of emotional support can help to increase feelings of stability for an individual.


While there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, when we are intentional about the care and concern we put into building and maintaining healthy relationships, we can become active participants in their ability to thrive. When we participate in giving and receiving emotional support, we not only heal, but we can help others with the healing process as well.


So how do we know if our relationships lack emotional support?


  1. A person expresses their concern that emotional support is lacking for them.

  2. One or both people begin to withdraw (they are talking less or not spending as much time together).

  3. Active listening and intentional communication are lacking.

  4. Physical touch does not exist or is severely minimal.


If you or your child are concerned about giving or receiving emotional support, it's never too late to address the concerns, and the time is now. With some attention and intention, you can start heading in a better direction.


Where do we begin?

  1. Express love and support.

  2. Ask questions and actively listen to the answers. If you aren’t sure you’ve heard something correctly, ask clarifying questions.

  3. Validate feelings and provide reassurance.

  4. Do not judge or criticize.

  5. Provide opportunities for physical touch (i.e., hugs, walking arm in arm or hand in hand, cuddling, etc.).

  6. Say, “I Love You!”

Teen therapy image, girl hugging mom
Emotional Support - hugs and smiles

People who want to be emotionally supportive should consider what they know about the person seeking support, including their needs and feelings.


*This post cannot replace therapy or medical treatment, but it was written to help make a significant difference in well-being. Please reach out to a licensed therapist for children, teens, young adults, or parents for additional support with improving emotional support.


Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:


  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”

  • Listen to the person without judgment.

  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.

  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.

  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.


If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 and then 800-273-8255.

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