Santa Clarita therapist Kristina de Bree explains how to offer friends advice when their stress levels threaten to affect their mental health.
Kristina de Bree, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), discussed how Santa Clarita residents can comfort friends who reach out in times of crisis.
de Bree said that it’s important to offer friends who are calling to speak about their pain a sympathetic ear first and foremost. She advises that those whose friends reach out to them for help open the conversation with praise for their friends’ courage in speaking up.
Specifically, the Santa Clarita therapist said that one may wish to say, “‘Thank you for reaching out to me. I’m really proud of you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable and to feel safe enough with me.’”
de Bree suggested that those who are listening to their friends’ concerns focus on connecting emotionally, “because healing begins with connection.”
If a friend’s stress levels are very high or they describe being in a state of considerable or continuous distress, de Bree said that it might be time for them to consider consulting a professional therapist. She acknowledges, however, that it’s important to be tactful when offering this advice.
“I think when people say things like, ‘Hey, you need to talk to a therapist,’ that can be very shame inducing,” de Bree said. She said it’s often better to phrase these concerns carefully, and offer to help where possible.
The Santa Clarita therapist added that someone in this situation might wish to say, “‘It seems like you’re in a lot of pain right now and you’re really struggling. I’m wondering if there’s some support that we can enlist to help.’”
She added that telling friends in times of crisis that they are willing to listen and be present is important, but it’s also important to communicate that friendship isn’t the same thing as professional counseling.
de Bree said that one way to phrase this might be, “‘I’m not a professional and I’m not always sure what the right things are to say, so I’m happy to continue to be here as a friend, but if you feel like you need something more, I think this would be a good time to think about that.’”
If a friend is open to seeking therapy but is too stressed out to take the first step of searching for a therapist, they may benefit from help in their search. de Bree said that those looking to help a friend find a therapist can first ask them if they have any preferences about the type, gender or age of a potential therapist before beginning their search.
“Maybe they say, ‘I don’t know (what kind of therapist I want).’ Maybe you have personal referrals that you can give them,” said de Bree.
If the friend says that they aren’t interested in receiving help finding a therapist, de Bree advises following up by saying, “‘I’m here for you if you need to walk through anything. Let’s just take things one step at a time.’”
Whether seeking information about a therapist for yourself or a friend, de Bree offers a free 15-minute phone consultation to those seeking guidance and resources. You can contact the Santa Clarita therapist through her website or via phone at (661) 513-4857.
Ed. Note: This article is a KHTS Community Spotlight based on a recent radio interview with Kristina de Bree, LMFT in Santa Clarita.
Santa Clarita therapist Kristina de Bree is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) who specializes in trauma and grief. As an LMFT in Santa Clarita, de Bree’s mission is to enable those enduring trauma to heal and develop strength and resilience for facing their pain and experiences, shed the shame, and improve their overall quality of life. In addition to being a Santa Clarita LMFT, de Bree is a EMDRIA Certified Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist and EMDRIA Approved Consultant. Those looking for the best therapist in Santa Clarita or a “therapist near me” can contact de Bree today.
25000 Avenue Stanford
Valencia, CA 91355
Kristina de Bree, LMFT – Valencia
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