Our Communications intern Samantha checks in and tells us what it was like to go through advocate training.
I really cannot express how informative and moving advocate training is.
We have learned so many things within the past few weeks, and after each session I leave feeling more aware of the world and the people who surround me.
I’ve mentioned before that I think a lot of the communication skills that we employ here can easily be translated to other aspects of my life, and that opinion remains the same. I think that the listening skills, the ability to put my judgments aside and the ability to be supportive that we’ve learned will really be beneficial in my interpersonal relations.
I think that one of the most important things that I have come away with is that each and every person is unique and so their situation, their life and their trials are unique. I know that in my last post I mentioned that we talk a lot about meeting people where they are, but I really don’t think that I, or the trainers, can stress the importance of that enough. We have to talk to them on their level, about things that they are experiencing, in a way which they are receptive of.
We also talk about being supportive and nonjudgmental, which I think is extremely important. We really want people who reach out to us to know that they are going to be listened to, that they aren’t going to be judged and that we are truly here to support them and their decisions. We want them to know that they can turn to us if they need help.
One of our main focuses when we’re helping callers, chatters and texters is to ensure that they are safe. We do a lot of safety planning with the people who contact us. We try to come up with plans of action to help them protect themselves physically and emotionally. This could be tips like staying away when their partner is in a bad mood, or even more serious tips like how to avoid being hit in their body’s most vulnerable places. We want to help them protect themselves.
We also try to help set up support networks for victims. We talk to them about who they feel comfortable talking to, or who they trust. We try to let them know about abuse programs in their neighborhoods or schools, so that they can set up a support network.
We even talk to people who think they might be abusive. We try to give them resources and information so that they can make decisions about their behavior. But we never judge them because we realize how hard it is for them to reach out and say, “Hey, I have this problem and I want to change.”
All of this is stuff that I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t gone through advocate training, so I’m extremely grateful that I was able to participate in these sessions.