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The Art of Comforting: What to Say and Do for People in Distress
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The Art of Comforting: What to Say and Do for People in Distress

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  112 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
We live in an increasingly "virtual" world in which it can be tempting to skip making that true, human connection with someone in pain. Even though our thoughts might be with them, we lack the confidence to reach out, worrying that we will say or do the "wrong" thing.
In this practical, step-by-step guide to what she calls "the art of comforting," Val Walker draws on nume
ebook, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Tarcher
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Jan 17, 2011 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I've been in the company of someone grieving or in distress, I've always felt awkward or uncomfortable because I didn't know what to say or even how to act. After reading through this book, I now feel a little more confident in handling such a situation and just hope I can remember some of phrases and advice given. I really liked some of the phrases to avoid and what to say. Examples include instead of saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.", say "How are you doing with all t ...more
Read for CBR6 - Review Cross posted here

You know those personality tests you take (mostly online now, but I’m from the stone age when I had to take some of mine on a Scan-tron), and they supposedly tell you what careers you’d be good at or what traits are your strongest? Well mine always came/come back teacher, or counselor. Which was a good thing, as I always knew I’d be a teacher, and when it came to my family and friends, even as a kid, I might as well have hung out a sign (a la Lucy from Pea
Angie Locke
Dec 30, 2010 Angie Locke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot recommend this book HIGHLY ENOUGH! It's a life-changer. Please, please, please, read it... so important for everyone to understand who has relationships with people they care about deeply enough to explore ways to communicate and share your heart the most effectively when they are in pain.
PK Reeves
Nov 24, 2010 PK Reeves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Art of Comforting guidance is supreme. Review up on Aisle B
Thanks to Tumblr, I picked up this title with the hopes of understanding how best I can comfort those who are hurting in my life. I've never been at ease with providing comfort and never knowing what to say to those who are so evidently hurting. I felt self-conscious and uncertain of what to say and how to be. Then, my mother-in-law suddenly fell ill and later died rather quickly earlier this year, which put my comforting abilities to the test. Much of what I learned in this book helped me to co ...more
I really wish I could rate this higher, because there's a lot of good information in it. It's not the most in-depth comforting guide out there, but it is a very good starting point for anyone who genuinely wants to improve on comforting others.

The downside is that the book is extremely unbalanced, especially so when the author begins discussing the significant comforters that she interviewed for the primary material of the novel. The book slams to a halt to talk about their backgrounds, then qui
Trudy Pomerantz
May 11, 2012 Trudy Pomerantz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Trudy by: Amanda Dilday
Shelves: piety
A well-written book from someone who understands suffering. Unfortunately, in Christian circles two views seem to predominate when someone is suffering. The first is to tell you that God means it for our good. It is not that this is not true but what is being forgotten is that we were told to weep with those who weep. Knowing that we live in a fallen world and that God has a plan in all that we are going through does not take away the pain. Most Christians know that God is sovereign and don't ne ...more
Bryan Tanner
Mar 30, 2014 Bryan Tanner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm terrible at comforting others. I'm so I thought I read a book to, first, teach me how it's done. And second, help me see opportunities to practice in my own life. It worked. Over the course of a couple months, I was hypersensitive to opportunities to apply the things I was reading about. The book is narrated by a woman who shares interviews she's conducted with the most comforting people she knows. Their stories were just what I needed to prime my pump.
Michelle Bodle
As a whole I wasn't impressed with this book, which is mostly composed of interviews, however, it has one wonderful treasure worth reading it for - the conversational suggestions.
Feb 19, 2013 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so applicable to life in general if you want to improve relationships and be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, neighbor, etc! I am truly inspired by this book. I think everyone should read it because it offers insight into how the person going through grief wants to be loved. There is no way to understand something completely unless you experience it or read about others that experience it. This gives you an inside view of how people in distress feel and how to give them what ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Jmp rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just okay.
Jun 12, 2015 locrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is easy to read and covers everything. The thing that makes it great is that it gives advice for any kind of person, so you can develop your style of comforting based on your own strengths, and learn how to improve your weaker areas. I read it because I'm a counselor and a follower of captain awkward's blog (where I got the recommendation) but really everyone would benefit from reading this book, it will help everyone you interact with.
Anna Kendig
Apr 14, 2011 Anna Kendig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really useful as a reflection tool with parish care teams or just for anyone who wants to think about how to be with people who are going through difficult times. Offers impressions from professionals in the non-profit, therapeutic and ministerial fields as well as just general suggestions like a what not to say/what's better" grid that offers better options than saying "Maybe it's for the best" to someone who's in a difficult place. Highly readable.
Nov 11, 2014 Skyler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five stars to the lists of things that are so much better to say than others. That elevated the book for me despite my cynicism about the more woo woo parts.
Nov 28, 2012 Lia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: healing, self-help
This book offers its message clearly and simply. Even just skimming through it, I gleaned enough to gain perspective on the art of offering comfort. Putting in the tables was a great idea. There are also interesting lists of resources at the back of the book.
Clayton Sillsworth
Very aged for the modern day, hardly takes the internet into account for this. Good stuff, good examples,mouth the latter half is full of cumbersome lists about good movies and whatnot. Eh, I could see it be done better and in a less wordy fashion.
Dec 09, 2011 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: human-behavior
It is good to take the time out and consider the ideas presented in the book. I just wish it could have been presented in a more effective manner. I found that passages ran too long filled with details burying the message.
Niadwynwen Koch
Sep 26, 2011 Niadwynwen Koch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very user-friendly. If you can skim through the little personal stories, there are some really helpful ideas about how to effectively comfort.
James B
Oct 17, 2011 James B rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-i-own
very useful book, bang on the point! highly recommend, comforting is indeed a lost art in this fast paced world
Martha Grace
Jun 19, 2011 Martha Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was not much information for me, coming through the school of Hard Knocks, but I will recommend this.
Book includes many helpful thoughts and suggestions for those who want to comfort others.
Aug 01, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I freakin' love this book! The tone of the book is wonderful and well...comforting.
Oct 07, 2012 Tonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend of mine lost her husband & this book was helpful.
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