QQQ14 July 11, 2018: Listening is Key to Helping Someone Who is Suffering

QPR Quick Quotes: Listening is Key to Helping Someone Who is Suffering
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Listening is Key to Helping Someone Who is
                                                                                                     -Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.

In a recent Gatekeeper training, one of the participants asked a question
that prompted this week's QPR Quick Quote. The employee who works in
the Human Resources Department for a large corporation asked how she,
someone with no training as a counseling professional, could help
someone who is suicidal? Much discussion on the part of the attendees
ensued, and all agreed that natural helping skills, such as listening, could
be an essential step in assisting the person in solving their problem. And
in many cases this discussion with a peer may become the catalyst that
causes the person at risk for death by suicide, to seek professional help.   
Trained Gatekeepers make a practice of listening to peers, friends,
co-workers, and family members and recognizing when someone may
need extra support and understanding. We know that many who become
suicidal are dealing with life circumstances that often cause isolation from
others, and feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness—
and ultimately result in a downward spiral. Listening on the part of the
Gatekeeper can save a life. Following are excerpts from Dr. Quinnett’s
publication The Tender Leaves of Hope that help us understand the
power of listening to someone who is suffering.

 Listening is the greatest gift one human can give to another.
Advice tends to be easy, quick, cheap and often wrong. Listening
takes time, patience and courage, but it is always right." 

                                                                            -Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.,
       Founder & CEO, QPR Institute

There are many different types of listening. When listening to someone
who is depressed and potentially suicidal, the type of listening involved
is commonly referred to as therapeutic or empathic listening. Empathic
listening consists of attempting to understand the feelings and emotions
of the speaker. Unlike other forms of listening where we intend to
scrutinize and analyze content, empathic listening validates and supports
someone who needs both.
Dr. Quinnett reminds us that when we want to talk to someone, we do
not choose someone who lectures or makes quick judgments about what
we should do. Preferably, it is an excellent listener to whom we turn in
times of trouble. Good listeners take the time to sit with someone, which
in itself is validation and sends the message that the person is worthy. 
And when listening, the Gatekeeper withholds their fears and rush to
judgment—as we recognize that the conversation is not about us and our
lives, but about the person in need of our support and understanding.
When we engage as a Gatekeeper, we commit to spending the time that it
takes to hear the person out fully which means sharing the pain of the one
who is carrying a painful burden. The shame associated with the secret, or
problem increases as suicidal thoughts begin to insert themselves into the
mind of the depressed person. When we take time to pay perfect
attention, we will often hear the other person create his or her solution to
the problem.
Allowed to speak freely, people will often come to the solution to their
troubles, and their answer is the only one that will work for them in their
life. "Tell me more" inspires hope in people who are struggling to find a
way to live. And this means the one suffering needs to be listened to many 
times for many hours at a time.

"Suicidal people do not want to die so much as they want to find a
way to live. Listening helps them find that way."

                                                                                                     -Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.,
  Founder & CEO, QPR Institute
Listening to a person who has considered, threatened or even attempted
suicide involves remaining calm and tranquil. Listen with your ears and
your heartThis becomes the hard part because we must conquer our
fear to do it. But as you listen to every word, you will hear not only what 
the sufferer is saying, but also what he or she is trying to say.
Confirming your guesses and suspicions with questions is also validating
to the one who is suffering. If you get nods or "yeses," you have, in no
small way, helped that person find a way to live. Remember that talking
(listening) to someone who has suicidal feelings does not increase risk,
but reduces it. 

"In the end, it is tough to kill yourself when someone else truly
understands your life. And listening above all other forms of
human communication makes this possible."

                                                                                                       -Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.,
                                                              Founder & CEO, QPR Institute

Upcoming Gatekeeper Trainings

Atlanta Gatekeeper Training
Courtyard Atlanta Airport North, September 27, 2018

Atlanta Train-the-Trainer 
Courtyard Atlanta Airport North, September 27, 2018


QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer and is a research-based
intervention that anyone can learn. The Foundation works with the QPR
Institute to customize this successful intervention for cruise lines,
aviation, human resources professionals and other workplace groups. 
Please contact stephen.young@aviem.com
 at the Foundation if you would
like to know more about how you can learn to be a QPR Gatekeeper in your
organization. You can also learn how you can become a certified trainer
of the QPR Gatekeeper model. Contact the Foundation to discuss your

© 2018 QPR Institute Inc./Family Assistance Education & Research Foundation 
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