Welcome

Elizabeth Easton:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Emotion-Focused Family Therapy Self-Guided Learning Journey. I'm Elizabeth Easton, the national director of psychotherapy. We're here to support you as the caregivers, the people who love the loved ones in our care. You deserve some skills and some support to better understand what your loved one is going through and some tools to actively engage in the recovery process. So I want to start with this, if what you are doing is working, keep doing it, but if you're feeling stuck, some of these tools could help you feel unstuck, feel more confident and empowered in this process.

Elizabeth Easton:
So just know, we were never given a handbook. We don't know how to help our loved ones or other human beings in pain, let alone, other human beings in pain with a mental illness. So it's often, the common experience for caregivers to feel unsure, anxious and very frustrated as their loved one is going through this process. As the great clinician and researcher, Evan Eisler once said, "Mental illness reorganizes the family. They are more extreme versions of themselves and you are a more extreme aversion of yourself. Be gentle. Be patient." We are wired to our loved ones. When they feel pain, we feel pain. When their brains feel scrambled, our brains feel scrambled.

Elizabeth Easton:
When they feel hopeless, we may feel hopeless. It is because of that wiring, not in spite of it, that we need you in the recovery process. As you learn in subsequent videos, that wiring is your superpower. With the help of some additional tools, you can help your loved one identify emotions, move through them and heal. So how should you watch these videos? First, try to find a quiet, comfortable place. Next, take some deep breaths. Ground yourself in the present moment. Really allow yourself to take this time to not only support your loved one, but to support you.

Elizabeth Easton:
Notice what comes up, what emotions arise, like fear, helplessness, grief and even frustration, and seek support. Don't do this alone. Ask others to watch these videos so that they can learn how to support your loved one, or just how to support you when you feel stuck in some of these emotions. Most importantly, take care of yourself. You are on this journey too. I hope that these supports help you feel more prepared and less alone. We're here for you. Thank you.

Emotion Basics

Elizabeth Easton:
Welcome everyone to Emotion-Focused Family Therapy: Emotion Basics. I'm Elizabeth Easton. I am the national director of psychotherapy. I am here today to talk to you a little bit about the importance of emotions so that you understand what your loved one within our care is going through, as well as what you may be going through during this time. So first let's start with: What are emotions? What's the purpose of them? So first, emotions have body cues; they have a body felt sense. When you feel anxiety or anger or sadness, there's usually a place within your body that you feel it. And there's even very common places in bodies where everyone may feel certain emotions. And that's this graphic here on the right. It also connects you to a need. So for instance, with sadness, the need may be comfort, connection, a hug.

Elizabeth Easton:
With anger, the need may be to set boundaries, to reinforce the boundaries, to make what's important to you known. Our motions serve a vital purpose. They first and foremost signal us that something is going on, that there's something important to pay attention to. They aid in our survival. They let us know that not only do we need to pay attention to what's occurring for us, but we need to also respond in a certain way in order to be safe and comfortable. They can also serve in an alarm system. So for instance, if you're about to cross the street, you look both ways. The reason you do that is because of emotions, you experience fear of getting hit by a car, of something occurring as you walk across the street that may be unpredictable. So what do you do? As you approach the street, you look right and you look left. Actually, I think the rule is left, right, left. And the reason you do that is to ensure that you're safe as you cross the street.

Elizabeth Easton:
Well, sometimes what occurs for people is that emotions can create false alarm systems. So we have the typical worry that may occur when you're going to do something challenging. And then in addition to that, you have this additional worry, these irrational worries that make you think, feel, and even do things that aren't as typical or aren't as needed for the situation. And that's where things like mental illnesses come into play. The emotions that are natural are there and then they're amplified in this false alarm system way. So let's understand a little bit more about what happens when the alarm system goes off for all of us. So first let's talk about the downstairs brain. So this is the work of Daniel Siegel. He's written some wonderful books about the neuroanatomy and neuropsychiatry, basically how the brain works when emotions are felt and as the brain is developing. The downstairs brain, as he refers to it, is an area of the brain that is first developed.

Elizabeth Easton:
It is our alarm system. It's very primitive, it's very reactive. And it's very simple in certain ways. So this area includes areas that you may have heard about before, the limbic region or the amygdala. The amygdala is responsible for fight, flight and freeze, for instance. When we think something could be going wrong, our brain responds, it sends out a signal and lets us know that something's happening. So the downstairs brain is responsible for very basic functions like blinking, breathing. It's responsible for really innate reactions or impulses and is responsible for strong emotions like anger and fear. So whenever you're in those emotions, whenever those things are occurring, that's the downstairs brain. And then there's the upstairs brain. The upstairs brain is also thought of as the prefrontal cortex. This is the last area of the brain to develop. It's actually not fully developed until around the age of 25 or 26.

Elizabeth Easton:
It's more evolved. It's more sophisticated. It is responsible for higher order thinking, analytical thinking. It's responsible for decision-making, thinking, imagining, planning, and it's responsible for empathy and self-reflection. We could all wish that we were in the upstairs part of the brain all day, but the facts are we're not. Certain emotions, certain situations can knock us downstairs. And this is really what happens with people with mental illnesses. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, these illnesses can knock them downstairs quicker and actually keep them downstairs longer. So what's our goal? Our goal is to connect these two parts of the brain to ensure that there's a staircase and even help build the staircase between the downstairs brain and the upstairs brain. In more neurological terms, we need to connect the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex so that they're working together. We can experience a big emotion and then the front of our brain, the prefrontal cortex or upstairs part of our brain can analyze it, can help you figure out what to do with it.

Elizabeth Easton:
So this is our goal. So what we're going to teach you in these series of videos, it's the ways to connect these two parts of the brain; what skills you can use to ultimately act as a temporary co-regulator for your loved one with a mental illness. When they're stuck in downstairs brain, when they're laying on the floor in the basement, they don't even know that there are stairs there to climb, you're able to walk downstairs, connect with them and help build the staircase back up. So I hope these videos are helpful for you and I hope you're able to learn some skills to support your loved one in this way. Thank you for joining us.

Step 1

Elizabeth Easton:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Emotion-focused, Family Therapy. Emotion Coaching, Step 1. I'm Elizabeth Easton. I'm the national director of psychotherapy here at Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Behavioral Health. These series of videos are here to help you learn some tools and skills to support your loved one while they're in our care and beyond.

Elizabeth Easton:
First, let's talk about emotion coaching, and we'll talk about a two-step process. First step is validation. How to convey your understanding of your loved one's emotional experience and prove that you get it. Step 2 is emotional support and practical support.

Elizabeth Easton:
Emotion coaching is here to help you support your loved one through their difficult emotions, through difficult struggles that may be occurring. It's to give you a tool in your toolbox to engage, to connect, in order to help them feel less alone, and maybe even help them move beyond the emotion to what they need to do.

Elizabeth Easton:
Let's talk a little bit more about Step 1. The first step in emotion coaching is validation. This is really a deep validation. So, this is the sentence you could memorize and then vary as you go forward. "I can understand why you might feel..," "I can understand why you might think," or "I can understand why you might want, or want to avoid..."

Elizabeth Easton:
The goal here is to first come forward and sit with them in what they're going through. "I can understand what you're experiencing in this moment." And then, you're going to help them beyond that. First, we have to do a little rewiring in our brains. Because most of us learn it this way. "I can understand why you feel so sad." And then we want to utter this three letter word afterwards. Any idea what that is? But. Many of us then pivot. "I can understand why you feel so sad, but there are so many reasons to feel happy in this moment." We pivot. We shift away from the emotion. This is natural. We've been conditioned to do this. Our brains are wired this way in our society.

Elizabeth Easton:
Our goal here in supporting a loved one, particularly one with a mental illness that really gets stuck in emotion is to come towards the emotion and stick around for a little while, before pivoting. So it looks a little bit like this. "I can understand why you might feel sad," which shifts to, "I can understand why you might feel sad because, because, because..." So, you're really going to sit in the sadness. You're going to try to convey all of the reasons why you can imagine they are feeling overwhelmed in that moment. So, let's walk through an example. "I can understand why you don't want to go to your therapy session today because it can feel so uncomfortable to talk about the things that you struggle with, because you're not used to being so open about these things, and because you may not be convinced that it's worth it, that it will even make a difference and you're going to feel better on the other side."

Elizabeth Easton:
As you can see in that example, we came towards what they're struggling with, what they don't want to do. And we tried to prove that we really get what might be underneath that struggle, that resistance, using three becauses. It's important to note that the hardest states to validate, the hardest emotions to validate, are anger, hopelessness, and shut down or silent. In future videos, you'll see a couple examples of how to work specifically with these most difficult emotions.

Elizabeth Easton:
So then, you would come forward with Step 2. And we'll also talk about that in the next video, Emotion Coaching Step 2. But just remember a couple tips if you're going to come towards a loved one and use validation. First check in with yourself. Are you calm? Maybe take a couple deep breaths. Second, monitor your own voice tone and volume. You want to match them. You want to ensure that your voice tone and volume is about connecting, about coming towards them, about understanding. And then, you want to try to match your energy. For instance, if your emotion coaching sadness, you may slow your voice tone down a little bit. You may slow the volume down and the rate of speech down. If your emotion coaching anger, then you're going to want to come towards them with more energy, with more strength, maybe even roll your shoulders back. Anger has energy. And then, a micro skill is you would bring the energy down or bring the energy up with each because. So, you start here with anger and then maybe the next, because sounds more like this. And then maybe the last because is more slow and calm and more vulnerable.

Elizabeth Easton:
I hope this was helpful for you in approaching your loved one's emotions. Watch the next few videos to continue to enhance the skill.

Elizabeth Easton:
Thank you.

Step 2

Elizabeth Easton:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Emotion-Focused Family Therapy, Emotion Coaching Step Two. I'm Elizabeth Easton, the National Director of Psychotherapy here at Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Behavioral Health.

Elizabeth Easton:
Today I'm here to do a follow-up video to another video. This is step two and if you hadn't watched step one, Emotion Coaching Step One, I'd encourage you to go back, watch that one and then come to this one. This is step two of a tool that I hope will help you support your loved one and the emotions they may be struggling with.

Elizabeth Easton:
So, let's step in. So ,step two of emotion coaching is emotional support and practical support. So, what do we mean by that? Emotional support is what many of you are drawn to do in supporting your loved one already. Offering comfort, reassurance, or even giving them some space. Practical support is what others of you are really drawn to do when your loved one is struggling. Redirecting them to something else to think about or something else to do, helping them problem solve, or maybe even setting limits things that would be unhealthy or unsafe for them to do.

Elizabeth Easton:
So, let's dive into this step a little bit more. So, just a reminder, you would do step one first. You do a deep validation or connection to what they're going through and try to prove that you understand it. In step two, you're going to come forward to help them feel that connection, really deepen that connection and then help them shift to something that may be more helpful.

Elizabeth Easton:
So, first, emotional support. What do I say? How do I even approach this? Stop and think. What would you naturally say or do if you were well resourced? If you ate well, slept well, were relaxed and really connected with yourself and with them.

Elizabeth Easton:
So, here are some examples. So, first you would say, I can understand why you might feel, think, or want the three becauses that we talked about in the last video. And then you would come forward and offer comfort. So, maybe a hand, a hug, loving words. It's important to notice here that your loved one may feel differently about each of these things. Maybe giving them a hug in that moment is uncomfortable for them, but putting out a hand or just making strong eye contact while providing comforting words.

Elizabeth Easton:
Reassurance. It's going to be okay. You've got this. Communication of understanding. I understand how you're feeling. I hear you. Maybe saying that as they're conveying what else is going on for them.

Elizabeth Easton:
Communication of positive regard. What does that mean? I know you're doing the best you can right now. Assuming that everyone is trying their best, doing their best and that the struggle may just be too hard in that moment.

Elizabeth Easton:
Communication of a belief in the other. I believe in you can do this. I've seen you do hard things.

Elizabeth Easton:
Communication of togetherness. We're in this together. I want what's best for you. I'm right here. You're not alone.

Elizabeth Easton:
And space. Why don't I give you a few minutes and then we'll try again. And what's really important about this one is you don't want to provide them space without that sense of you're right there and you're going to come back and support them and try again. So, those are some examples of the emotional support step.

Elizabeth Easton:
So, now let's talk about practical support. What does your loved one need to do more of or less of to get back on track with wellness? That's really the question for practical support. This is usually a pretty behavioral step. It's about problem solving. It's about getting them to shift and do something different.

Elizabeth Easton:
So, here are some examples of that. You may start the sentence with why don't I, why don't we, why don't you. Proceed with whatever plan you had. Whether it was going for a walk, doing an exposure, maybe doing a challenging meal.

Elizabeth Easton:
Suggest a distraction activity. Why don't we put on some music? Why don't we put on your favorite movie.

Elizabeth Easton:
Redirect them to another thought or activity. Why don't we focus on this instead? Why don't we review some of your action plans whenever you got stuck.

Elizabeth Easton:
Teach a skill like deep breathing. Remind them of the skills they've already learned.

Elizabeth Easton:
Exposure to the anxiety provoking stimulus. What does that mean? Whatever it is they're afraid to go do, you would slowly and gradually move in that way. So, you're going to gradually move towards the thing that they're afraid of with support.

Elizabeth Easton:
Offer solutions. So, practical solutions. How to solve the problem, what to do next. And maybe even set a limit. Say, "I need you to walk me through your room and show me what you're using to hurt yourself. I need you to take your fork and take another bite." So, really directing and even setting the limit of what you need to have happen next. And sometimes you don't even need to do this step. After coming forward with validation and connection and emotional support, your loved one may rise up to the occasion and be able to figure out what they need to do next all on their own. Stay there, support them through it.

Elizabeth Easton:
So, these are the steps of emotion coaching. You have step one, validation, and step two, emotional support and practical support. I hope this was helpful. Go try it out and don't necessarily try it out on the most challenging situation. Try it out on something simpler or maybe a different loved one. Gain some confidence with it and then try it with your loved one in our care. Thank you for joining.

Anger

Elizabeth Easton:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Emotion-Focused Family Therapy. Emotion coaching, anger. I'm Elizabeth Easton, the national director of psychotherapy. Today, I'm here to talk to you a little bit about emotion coaching. One of the toughest emotions to support with anger. If you haven't had a chance to watch the videos on a motion coaching step one or a motion coaching step two, I would encourage you to pause this video, go back to those and then return. This is really meant to enhance and deepen your work with that skill. Let's jump in. Emotion coaching, anger. Why is it so important? For an emotion to run its course, it needs to be expressed and accepted. This is one of the toughest things to do with anger. In our society and the way many of us were conditioned to work with anger, expressing it and actually accepting anger within ourselves or for other people has not been supported. That's not what's been taught. This is going to shift some of the wiring in your brain in terms of how to respond to anger and hopefully be more helpful for your loved one and for you.

Elizabeth Easton:
Here's what we know about holding in anger or suppressing it. Suppressed or incomplete anger is particularly toxic. We've learned that it can really fuel the symptoms of anxiety, depression, OCD, and eating disorders, and many others, including the behaviors like self-harm behaviors, or even suicidality. Supporting the expression of your loved one's anger can be an incredibly powerful tool for healing. In fact, by helping your loved one to express the anger, you can expect to see fairly immediate reduction in symptoms. You can see them calm and you can see them shift very quickly, especially the more you do it. So why is it so hard?

Elizabeth Easton:
Well, the capacity to remain calm, and open, and non-defensive in the face of another's anger is nothing short of a superpower. You will be a superhero if you're able to figure out how to do this, especially when that anger is directed towards you. Loved ones who are more explosive can also benefit from the validation of anger in order to calm the brainstorm that occurs in their brain when they're overwhelmed and to help them find more appropriate ways of really communicating that they're not doing well, that all is not well. In fact, navigating anger together can actually help promote the deepening of your relationship, a deeper connection with each other. So here's what I try to always remember. That our goal is that the loved one learns how to get angry and move through anger in order to navigate some of the biggest challenges they're going to face. It's actually a helpful skill for all of us.

Elizabeth Easton:
So won't I be reinforcing the anger if I validate why they're experiencing it? It's a great question. It's one probably the most common question that I get from caregivers who are supporting their loved ones through anger. So here's the metaphor we use. Imagine that anger is like air in a balloon. The anger will slowly dissipate and so to with their symptoms as you emotion coach, as you join them in their anger, as you prove that you understand it and you get why they would feel angry. If your loved one is quick to anger or angers often, you may discover that their anger actually covers up deeper feelings of pain, like fear, loneliness, sadness, or even shame. That sense of not being good enough. So validating their anger is really the portal or the pathway to these more vulnerable emotions that you may need to be ready to validate afterwards to jump into validating their fear or validating the more vulnerable things underneath. This can be the way in.

Elizabeth Easton:
So some caregivers have asked me, "Do I even need to learn this skill? My loved one never expresses anger. That's just not really who they are. Are you sure there's anger underneath what they're going through?" So here's what I generally say. If your loved one is struggling with a mental health issue, assume there's unexpressed anger. You should assume that not only do they have anger that they're not comfortable with saying out loud or really conveying to anyone else, assume that they may even be afraid to be angry with you in case it negatively affects your relationship.

Elizabeth Easton:
Many of us in our culture are conditioned to not express this. And that if we express it, it could only be harmful. And if it's harmful, we could lose relationship connection with the people who we most love, who we need support from. So assume it's there. What's the worst that can happen? It's not there and they let you know that. Well, at least you left no stone unturned. The best way to prove to your loved one that it's okay to be angry with you, that this is allowed in your relationship is to help draw out their anger by recalling or validating instances when they made attempts to express anger towards you and maybe you didn't accept it or you shut down or it made sense for them to feel angry and they didn't express it. They stuffed it in some way.

Elizabeth Easton:
It can be helpful to return back to these situations to validate them now, even if they were years in the past to really introduce that anger is okay to be expressed and is okay to be discussed in your relationship. If they dismiss your attempts to do this, just let them know that it would be normal to feel angry in those instances and validate their possible experiences anyway. It'll help heal those places within them that need healing.

Elizabeth Easton:
So it's the same script. Here's one variation in terms of working with anger. I don't blame you for feeling angry because, because, because. So the way that I like to think about emotion coaching, anger is that I'm going to go towards the anger and I'm really going to help draw it out and I'm going to put words to what may be going on. So here's an example. "I can understand why you're so angry, that you have to face your fear right now, because you may not feel like you have the strength to even do this, and because we haven't always been able to navigate this well together, and because I have not always understood how hard this has been for you." And then you would come forward with the support step. You would come forward with joining them, that they're not alone, that you're going to figure out a way to support them through it, and that their anger is allowed and accepted. And maybe encourage them to take a deep breath and to still take a step forward defacing whatever that feared situation is.

Elizabeth Easton:
A micro skill in emotion coaching, anger, that you may have even noticed that I did to some extent is really matching the energy of whatever emotion you're working with. So when we think about anger, take a second and imagine anger in your body. How does it feel? The last time you were angry, what did you notice? Maybe your shoulders are back, maybe your muscles are tense, maybe your jaw is clenched, it feels strong, it feels big. So you're going to try to match that as your emotion coaching, especially starting here with your first because. That's like going up and grabbing that balloon by the string and bringing it down. You're going to go up to match the energy and then draw the balloon down. So with each because you come down to a baseline.

Elizabeth Easton:
The way that I like to think about matching toner volume is imagine you're in a car. You're driving the car and you're on the highway. And you have someone in the passenger seat and someone cuts you off. You have to swerve to even stay in your lane and imagine that the passenger next to your turns to you and says, "Hey, it's fine. We're fine. Nothing happened. Let's just let them get ahead of us." How would you feel? Less angry, more angry. Most of us would feel more frustrated in that moment. We'd feel like we aren't supposed to be angry. That it's not allowed or appropriate for the situation.

Elizabeth Easton:
So what happens if instead they turn like this, "Can you believe that guy? I can't believe that happened. He's still doing it up there. Oh, that was awful. Let's just pull into this next line and let him get way ahead of us. You did a great job handling that." How would that feel? They're frustrated. They're angry with us. They can join us in the emotion that can help us feel less embarrassed and more valid in what we experienced. And then we can let go of that and slowly start to come down. That's really the goal. That's why you match energy and tone.

Elizabeth Easton:
So I hope this is helpful. I know that sitting in someone's anger, that feeling angry yourself is so uncomfortable. The best thing we can do is feel it and move through it and support our loved ones to do the same. So I hope you go try this. Thank you.

Silence/Shut Down

Elizabeth Easton:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Emotion-Focused Family Therapy: Emotion Coaching, Silence, or the Shutdown. I'm Elizabeth Easton, the director of psychotherapy. I'm here today to give you a skill of working with one of the most challenging situations that we come across in supporting our loved ones, particularly our loved ones with mental illness. And that is the shutdown when you can't get much from them. In order to fully understand this skill, I would encourage you, if you haven't already, to watch a Emotion Coaching Step 1 and Emotion Coaching Step 2. These two videos will give you the foundation you need to then deepen your work with that skill in order to approach this really challenging situation. What do we know about the silence or the shutdown that we sometimes can get from the people that we love? We know that it's incredibly painful for all involved, that when you're trying to support someone you love through something difficult, and they don't give you anything to work with, you have no idea what they're experiencing, what they're feeling, what they're thinking, or how to help, it is excruciating.

Elizabeth Easton:
And I know many of you watching this video right now may be in that situation right now, but remember being in that situation along this journey. Although they may come across as wanting space, rest assure that your loved one has incredibly strong and often vulnerable emotions underneath that need attention, that in those moments of shutdown, space is often the last thing that you should give them. So here's what we're going to do instead. We're going to go towards them, connect with the goal of helping them to open up to connect, and to seek support. I know that sounds like a tall task when you think of some of the situations you've been in when your loved one has been shut down or shut you out, but we're still going to come towards them with that goal, and that belief that it's possible to help them through it.

Elizabeth Easton:
So let's now walk through the steps of Emotion Coaching Silence. It's the same as the steps you learned before. Step one validation and step two, support: emotional support and practical support. All we're going to do, in this instance, is lengthen out our validation of what they're going through. So, first, the validation of silence, and then the validation of the emotions underneath. So your goal in this first piece is to connect to why they may be silent, why they're closed to your attempts for connection. And you're going to do that from three perspectives. The first, from their perspective, the you. I can imagine why you wouldn't want to speak to me because you may feel really uncomfortable in talking to others about these vulnerable feelings.

Elizabeth Easton:
The next one is validating from the perspective of your relationship or the we. I can understand why it would be hard for you to talk to me about your feelings, because we haven't always been in the habit of talking about the tough stuff. And the last one is to validate from your perspective, the I. I can imagine why you would be silent, because I haven't always been understanding or accepting of your feelings in the past. The you, we, I micro skill that is used in Emotion Coaching Silence really helps to connect and deepen the connection and also brings in the element of it's okay. If part of the reason they're silent is because something in your relationship or the way that you've approached their emotions before, to really sit with that, to allow that to be discussed, and brought in because what's the goal? To get them to open up.

Elizabeth Easton:
And if opening up starts with them saying, "Yes, you haven't always made this easy for me," well, that's the start. They're no longer silent. They're no longer shut down. And now you can start moving forward to unpacking what's really going on for them. So the next piece to this, after Emotion Coaching The Silence or the shutdown is to start targeting the emotions that might be underneath that state, so emotion coaching anger or sadness or loneliness or even hopelessness, whatever you believe might be underlying the resistance to open up. Remember, making guesses is often better than asking questions. If you can imagine that in that state, they are so overwhelmed, they don't know what they're feeling. If you just start to work through what they may be feeling, you can help them start to move through the emotion and be less locked into that process.

Elizabeth Easton:
So make some guesses. These are not just darts at a dart board. They're precision darts. Assume that there's anger and anxiety and hopelessness underneath. You've known them. You've known what they've been through. This is that moment to bring in that knowledge. I can imagine that underneath the silence, you might be feeling angry because, because, because. And then move on to maybe sadness. I can imagine that underneath your resistance, to connect with me, you might be feeling sad because, because, because. Again, noting that for each emotion, you're going to bring forward at least two, ideally three becauses to really sit and help them process and move through the emotion. And then you could repeat that with fear and loneliness and hopelessness, so really helping to connect deeply to what they're afraid to express, to feel, and to bring into your relationship.

Elizabeth Easton:
Your last step, step three, is to come forward with problem solving, but it's a little different with silence. In this step, you may want to communicate to your loved one that there's space for them to build trust with you, that they may not feel comfortable doing this yet, and they don't have to do it right now, that they could take the time they need to be more comfortable and more willing to open up in these ways, and that there's no pressure for them to engage with you in that moment, that you will be there whenever they're ready, and that your loved one has you no matter what. So these are really four components that can be very helpful to follow up to that validation step. This is really your support step.

Elizabeth Easton:
Meeting silence in this way conveys an understanding and respect for your loved one, and it goes a long way towards maintaining connection and even encouraging your loved one to eventually open up. In fact, we've found that it's difficult for many to remain in that silent, disconnected, or shut down state when met with this kind of unconditional support that you bring forward in validating the silence. I hope that this is helpful. I know this is incredibly painful, but this will give you some tools to be able to rely on that can help start to build that bridge to your loved one and to their vulnerability. Thank you.