Supporting Someone with PTSD: How to Help and When to Seek Support for Yourself

When someone we care about is going through a tough time, it's natural to want to help. But when that person is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or undergoing therapy, knowing how to offer support can be tricky. Here's a guide on how you can be there for your loved one while also taking care of yourself.

1. Listen Without Judgment

One of the most important things you can do is simply listen. Let your loved one know that you're there for them and that you're willing to listen whenever they need to talk. Be patient and non-judgmental, and try to understand things from their perspective.

2. Be Patient and Understanding

Living with PTSD or undergoing therapy can be a long and challenging journey. Be patient with your loved one and understand that healing takes time. Offer your support without expecting them to "get better" overnight.

3. Educate Yourself

Take the time to learn about PTSD and the therapy your loved one is undergoing. Understanding their experiences and treatment can help you offer more informed support and empathy.

4. Offer Practical Help

Sometimes, practical help can make a big difference. Offer to run errands, cook meals, or provide transportation to therapy appointments. Small gestures of kindness can go a long way in showing your support.

5. Encourage Self-Care

Encourage your loved one to prioritize self-care activities that help them relax and unwind. Whether it's going for a walk, practicing mindfulness, or spending time with loved ones, self-care can play a crucial role in managing PTSD symptoms.

When to Seek Support for Yourself

Supporting someone with PTSD can be emotionally taxing, and it's essential to take care of your own well-being as well. Here are some signs that you might need support:

Feeling Overwhelmed:

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your loved one's experiences or the challenges of supporting them, it might be time to seek support for yourself.

Experiencing Vicarious Trauma:

Hearing about your loved one's trauma or witnessing their struggles can take a toll on your mental health. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of vicarious trauma, such as intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or emotional distress, consider seeking support.

Feeling Burned Out:

Providing ongoing support to someone with PTSD can be draining, and you might find yourself feeling exhausted or burned out. It's essential to recognize when you need a break and prioritize your own self-care.

How to Seek Support for Yourself

Talk to Someone:

Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional and talk about how you're feeling. Sometimes, simply sharing your experiences can provide relief and validation.

Set Boundaries:

Establishing boundaries around your time and energy can help prevent burnout and ensure that you have the resources you need to support your loved one effectively.

Consider Therapy:

Therapy isn't just for people with PTSD – it can also be beneficial for those supporting them. A therapist can provide a safe space to explore your feelings, learn coping strategies, and develop healthy boundaries.


Supporting someone with PTSD can be challenging, but it's also incredibly rewarding. By offering patience, understanding, and practical help, you can make a positive difference in your loved one's life. Remember to prioritize your own well-being and seek support when you need it. Taking care of yourself allows you to be the best possible support for your loved one as they navigate their healing journey.

At Authentic Connections Counseling Center, we make it our mission to assign clients to the right therapists and we promise to involve you every step of the way to ensure you feel comfortable and cared for throughout the entire process. If you would like help in this journey, we are here to find a therapist that meets your needs and aligns with your values. If you’re ready to make the phone call, please reach out to us at 720-370-3010 or email us at for more information. The right therapist can make all the difference in your path to improving your overall well-being and we would be honored to be that difference in your life!