The greatest service you can give anyone in need is emotional support. It can help that person feel cared for and less isolated, and it also boosts their hope. One way to provide support is by allowing the person an opportunity to discuss their true reactions to the traumatic incident that occurred, a step Marling calls "ventilation and validation."
Ventilation gives the victim a chance to "vent" their response to the ordeal without being judged, while validation is the step that helps the person understand that their reactions are common. And if the victim asks if they'll ever get back to normal, it's best to be honest by saying, "No, but there will be a new normal."
Another way to provide support is to help victims process the crises logically, which will eventually help them better understand what occurred and provide them a purpose, Marling says. "In trauma, it's as if 1,000 things occurred in one moment, and victims have a difficult time placing those things in an order that can be understood," Marling says. Once they regain a sense of purpose, they can retake control of smaller -- and eventually larger -- tasks in their life again.
So what can you do to provide your support? Everything from ensuring they seek help from a counselor to simply being there should they need to call you and talk about how they're doing. One caveat: If the victim does not agree with these follow up steps, you'll be fighting an uphill battle. In the end, every person needs to be their own advocate for change, growth and healing.