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How do you deal with an emotionally disturbed person?

Encountering an emotionally disturbed person can be a challenging and potentially overwhelming experience. Whether you’re a friend, family member, or a professional in a helping role, it’s crucial to approach these situations with empathy, understanding, and a well-equipped set of strategies.


A. Definition of an emotionally disturbed person

An emotionally disturbed person refers to an individual who experiences ongoing difficulties in managing their emotions, resulting in disruptions to their daily functioning and interactions with others. These disturbances may manifest as extreme mood swings, intense emotions, behavioral issues, and challenges in maintaining healthy relationships.

B. Importance of addressing and dealing with emotional disturbances

Ignoring or dismissing emotional disturbances can have detrimental effects on the affected individual’s well-being and relationships. By offering the right support and intervention, we can help them on their path towards healing and stability.

Recognizing Signs of Emotional Disturbance

A. Behavioral indicators

1. Aggression or violence

2. Withdrawal or isolation

3. Mood swings or intense emotions

B. Psychological indicators

1. Anxiety or depression

2. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

3. Poor self-esteem or self-worth

Recognizing these signs early on can help us better understand the challenges the emotionally disturbed person is facing and respond with appropriate support.

Creating a Supportive Environment

A. Demonstrating empathy and understanding

One of the most important aspects of dealing with an emotionally disturbed person is the ability to show genuine empathy and understanding towards their situation. This can be achieved by actively listening and validating their emotions.

B. Active listening techniques

1. Paraphrasing to show understanding

When engaging in conversation with an emotionally disturbed person, paraphrasing their statements can demonstrate that we are actively listening and trying to understand their perspective. This can help build trust and encourage further communication.

2. Summarizing to clarify and validate emotions

Summarizing the person’s feelings can help clarify and validate their emotions. By summarizing the key points of their message, we show that we have truly listened and appreciate the emotions they are experiencing.

C. Validating and acknowledging emotions without minimizing

1. Reflecting the person’s feelings back to them

Reflecting the person’s feelings back to them can show that we acknowledge and understand their emotions. This can create a safe and non-judgmental space for them to express themselves.

2. Avoiding judgment or criticism

It’s important to avoid passing judgment or criticizing the emotionally disturbed person’s feelings. By providing a judgment-free zone, we can help them feel more comfortable opening up and seeking support.

Establishing Boundaries and Safety Measures

A. Setting clear boundaries for behavior

Establishing clear and consistent boundaries for behavior can help maintain a safe and respectful environment for both parties involved. These boundaries can help prevent any potential harm or escalation of troubled emotions.

B. Communicating expectations and consequences

Clearly communicating expectations and the consequences of behavioral disruptions can help the emotionally disturbed person understand the impact of their actions. This can provide them with a framework for understanding and managing their emotions more effectively.

C. Ensuring the physical and emotional safety of both parties

1. Identifying potential triggers or stressors

Understanding the potential triggers or stressors for the emotionally disturbed person can help us take proactive measures to minimize their impact. This can contribute to a safer and more controlled environment.

2. Implementing de-escalation techniques

Having strategies in place to de-escalate intense emotions or potential conflict is crucial. These techniques can include deep breathing exercises, grounding techniques, or removing oneself from the situation temporarily, if necessary.

Accessing Professional Help and Resources

A. Encouraging the individual to seek professional assistance

If the emotionally disturbed person’s symptoms are severe or persistent, it’s important to encourage them to seek professional help. Mental health professionals can provide them with the necessary support, therapy, and medication management if needed.

B. Identifying available mental health services and hotlines

Researching and familiarizing oneself with available mental health services and crisis hotlines can help in providing immediate support and guidance. These resources can be helpful in times of crisis or when professional help is not immediately accessible.

C. Educating oneself on mental health conditions and treatments

Continuously educating oneself about mental health can help improve understanding and contribute to providing more effective support. Understanding different mental health conditions and treatment options can inform our approach and assist in finding appropriate resources.

Self-Care and Support

A. The importance of self-care for the person assisting

Dealing with an emotionally disturbed person can be emotionally taxing. It’s essential for the person providing support to prioritize their own self-care. Engaging in activities that promote relaxation, seeking support from others, and practicing self-compassion can help maintain emotional well-being.

B. Seeking support from friends, family, or support groups

Having a strong support system is vital when dealing with emotionally disturbed individuals. Seeking support from friends, family, or engaging in support groups can provide assistance, guidance, and a safe space to share experiences and emotions.

C. Managing stress and emotional well-being through self-care practices

Engaging in self-care practices, such as regular exercise, meditation, or engaging in hobbies, can help manage stress and maintain emotional well-being. By taking care of ourselves, we can be better equipped to support others.


A. Recap of key points and strategies

Dealing with an emotionally disturbed person requires patience, compassion, and a range of strategies to provide effective support. Recognizing signs of emotional disturbance, creating a supportive environment, establishing boundaries, accessing professional help, and practicing self-care are all essential elements of this process.

B. Emphasize the importance of patience, compassion, and ongoing support when dealing with emotionally disturbed individuals

By offering understanding, empathy, and consistent support, we can play a crucial role in helping emotionally disturbed individuals navigate their challenges and work towards personal growth and well-being.


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