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Good Samaritans Volunteers Helping Victims Program Handbook and Training Guide
Top navigation About This Guide Message From the Director Acknowledgments About the Authors Related Links
Photo: Man and woman looking out of a broken window.

Publication Date: April 2009

minus iconFilling a Void—Origins of the Program
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minus iconVolunteers: Recruiting,
Screening, and Training

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minus iconModule 2: The Victim Experience
Module 3: Basic Skills for Volunteers
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Module 3: Basic Skills for Volunteers

Useful Phrases for Crisis Intervenors

  • "You are safe now" (if they are).

  • "I'm glad you're here with me now."

  • "I'm glad you're talking with me now."

  • "I am sorry this (specify what the "this" is) happened to you."

  • "This wasn't your fault."

  • "Your reaction is not an uncommon response to an abnormal event."

  • "It's understandable that you feel that way."

  • "It must have been upsetting to see (or hear, feel, smell) that."

  • "You are not going crazy."

  • "Things may never be the same, but they can get better, and you can get better."

  • "You are experiencing normal reactions to a traumatic event."

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"These are your clichés. Your clichés are your friends. Learn your clichés and know when to use them."

—"Crash" Davis, a character in the movie "Bull Durham"
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Clutch Phrases

Face it—we all have times when we're at a loss for words. When you find yourself carrying the entire conversation, rely on the following clutch phrases to help get the victim talking again:

  • "What do you want to do?"

  • "How do you feel about that?"

  • "And how do you get along with . . .?"

  • "What do you think would happen if you did that?"

  • "What have you tried so far?"

  • "What do they think about that?"

  • "How is that?"

  • "What does that mean to you?"

  • "What do you think about that?"

  • "What is it that bothers you about that?"

  • "How do they act?"

  • "Have you considered _________? How does that sound to you?"

  • "In what way?"

  • "How do you mean?"

  • "How do you think they would react if you . . .?"

  • "Do you want to?"

  • "What would you like?"

  • "What is the best/worst thing that could happen?"

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