Expert gives tips on how to communicate with a loved one after a tragedy

Bruce Conn speaks to WGXA's Eric Mock / WGXA

MACON, Ga. -- Following a disaster or tragedy, it can be hard for some people to know how to interact with loved ones who were involved.

Bruce Conn, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Coliseum Medical Centers, said that there are some dos and don'ts that you should be aware of when trying to help your friends and family through a dealing with a tragedy, such as witnessing or knowing someone who was involved with the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas that left at least 58 dead and more than 500 injured.

Conn said that most of all, it is just important to talk about it. He said you should not be afraid to ask your loved one how they are feeling and what they need.

However, he said it you should avoid saying that they are "lucky to be alive" or "fortunate to not be killed." He said that oftentimes in the survivor's mind, they are not lucky because they experienced something horrific and even may have seen others killed.

Additionally, Conn said you should avoid using generalized language like, "I know how you feel," because this can dismiss their feelings. He typically you don't know how a survivor feels, so you should not tell them that you understand what they are going through.

Instead, he said you could talk about a similar situation you may have gone through and how it made you feel then ask them if they are feeling something similar.

Most of all, he said that talking face to face is the best way to communicate with a loved one after a tragedy, and texting about it is a no-no. Although speaking over the phone is okay, Conn said that talking in person is ideal.

Although no one ever wants a loved one to experience a tragedy, it is important to know how and how not to communicate in order to help them get through it.

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