How to be a good confidant

22 Aug, 2016

When people are worried or upset about their marriage or relationship, they turn first to friends and family members. Research shows that there are millions of these 'natural confidants', people who trust others with their concerns

But who helps these confidants do a good job of supporting people who open up to them?

Marital and Relationship First Responder is a new course that will help you to be the best confidant you can for friends, family or colleagues who turn to you for support.

This one-day training workshop will assist people to respond effectively and empathetically to those who turn to them. It provides non-professional, ordinary people with the skills and confidence to respond effectively in regards to concerns about relationships and marriages.

Counsellor and Educator Leah O’Brien-Addison said the workshop is designed to help anyone who wants to be able to effectively support friends and family members who turn to them at times of stress in their relationships.

“It helps confidants avoid mistakes that can undermine marriages and hurt friendships, and participants will also learn how to maintain healthy boundaries, to prevent helper stress and burnout themselves,” she said.

“It will also give them the knowledge and insight to be able to refer others to professionals when such support is needed.

“The training is suitable for people of all ages, backgrounds and personalities. It has been run in both secular and religious settings and has even been effective in a prison setting.”

Course details

When: Wednesday 21 September
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Where: West Leederville
Fee: $220 per person. Concession available.

Call 6164 0200 or click here for more information or to book your spot.

Tips – how to help friends and family who have turned to you for support.

  • Make time to listen, and support the person experiencing difficulties, but not encourage or side with ongoing negative dumping about the partner.
  • Avoid being a 'fixer', 'judger', 'underminer' or 'interrogator'. You are not a counsellor or advisor – just a supportive and aware sounding board.
  • Relate to the person with empathy and compassion, but be willing to add perspective and not just agree with and fuel angry feelings about the partner.
  • Maintain healthy boundaries and do not get sucked into taking sides.
  • Encourage the distressed person to seek professional help when they are stuck or in crisis.
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