WHILE the festive season can be a time of ultimate joy and wonder, for many others, it will be a period of isolation and despair.
Clinical co-ordinator, John Bennett, of the Aisling Centre has urged locals to come together this Christmas and offer a lending ear to those who need it most.
“For anyone who struggles at this time of year, the backdrop of joyfulness and good humour is overshadowed by a cloud that somehow blocks the festive sights and sounds,” he explained.
“In Aisling Centre, where we meet ordinary people every day, it is both heartening and shocking to hear some of the simple things that do make such a big difference, things that believe it or not can save a person’s life.”
When it comes to making a difference, John revealed, “At the top is being listened to, and importantly, listened to without judgement.
“It sounds easy, but to listen without judgement means giving the person the space needed to explain what is going on for them, allowing them to tell you how they feel and what it’s like for them.
“If you find yourself wanting to jump in, to correct them, to tell them they’re wrong and not to feel the way they do feel, you’ve probably stopped listening. Listening doesn’t normally need you to give advice or to tell them about your experience.
“Here in Aisling Centre we have continued throughout these difficult months to provide the professional counselling, psychotherapy and play therapy service that is at the heart of our work here.
“While we do hope that within our community everyone will be cared for sensitively by those nearest to them, we know that for some people who are struggling, friends and family are too close to make it possible to fully confide.
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