Supportive Listeners - Community Support Project Draft Jan 2020

~ Encouraging & Enhancing Community Supporters within Communities for the Community ~


When we fail to fit in with community expectations and our own reality of who we are, we can become alienated from public life, alienated from society, eventually alienated from ourselves. Witnessing or experiencing alienation, victimisation or suffering can drive us towards having a greater sense of responsibility to prevent others from suffering. This drive should be encouraged by the community for the community.


blockSupport We propose two types of supporters

  1. Community Supporter
  2. Community Supportive Listener


1) Community Supporter

A Community supporter would have basic skills and bring with them a desire to help reduce the suffering of others. Unlike the Community Supportive Listener who have been supported through specific post-traumatic growth, the Community Supporter still brings intrinsic purpose to be part of something greater for the community.


Training courses may include - (provided by existing training services)

  • Mental health first aid
  • Suicide awareness
  • Domestic & Family Violence awareness



2) Community Supportive Listener

A Community Supportive Listener would be an individual in the community who has been supported through resolving their own adverse life experiences. Supported through individual personal development that moves them gently through specific psychological changes that enhance authentic kindness, curiosity, altruism, sensitivity and helping as a respectful confidant and trusting partner for a support seekers situation.


"When it comes to Supportive listening it does not just include a cognitive aspect but also requires that - "the support listener demonstrate emotional involvement and attunement while attending to, interpreting, and responding to the emotions of the support seeker—a complex and challenging task." (Susanne M. Jones (2011) read full abstract from authors site) "


The Community Supportive Listener is an independent source of support, they have no agenda, or biased towards any outcome, they have trust and belief in the support seeker's choice and simply explore opportunities and possibilities through collaborative conversation and inclusiveness without monetary gain or self-serving agenda. The Community Supportive Listener has a depth of lived experiences and sensitivity unobtainable without victimisation or suffering and brings with them a greater sense of responsibility to prevent others from suffering.


Their Role -

  • Protecting support seeker from further harm
  • Encourage self-efficacy (support seekers belief in their own ability to achieve goals)
  • Opportunity to talk without pressure or judgement
  • Active listening
  • Compassion Empathy
  • Addressing and acknowledging concerns
  • Discussing coping strategies
  • Referral to professional services or social supports
  • Negotiating safety plans where there maybe concerns for harm or suicide
  • Invitation to return to talk
  • Incident debrief

03 Sup List S

Bidirectional support

Training courses may include - (provided by existing training services)

  • ASIST training - Suicide intervention skills training
  • Domestic & Family Violence responder training (DV-Alert)
  • Effective Communication Micro Skills
  • Psychological First Aid
  • Mental Health First Aid


 “Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going on inside ourselves.” - Bessel Van Der Kolk M.D.


blockSupport Our proposal - To give people purpose

Firstly, I need to honour the proposed Community Supporter as a worthy member of a helping relationship. The rest of this article will focus more on the Community Supportive Listener -

I would also like to present the Community Supportive Listener as a highly effective role model, mentor, supporter or guide for the community. The effectiveness of a Community Supportive Listener would be directly related to an individual's own life experiences (trauma, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, suffering, psychological abuse etc) and their work towards psychological change and emotional growth. The key component of crisis work is affect (emotional) regulation as opposed to language and cognitions. Prior experiences of emotional regulating another individual/s would be essential for this position.

The Community Supportive Listener would provide non-counselling support, referring support seekers (as requested) to existing services, through highly authentic face to face conversations. This would be a volunteer position.


"What support network could we co-create that would engage our community members prior to suffering, alienation, suicide, domestic & family violence or self-harm becoming the only solution to their situation?"


Community role may be to -

  • Encouraging Community Supporters and Community Supportive Listeners as valuable members in the community.
  • Arrange access to existing training services.
  • Organise administration supports and funding to ensure continuation of project. eg: training, insurances and ongoing individual counselling.


Our role may be to -

  • Support communities in building their own workable community support system using a collaborative (bottom up) approach.
  • Identify and encourage recipients of victimisation or suffering to explore becoming a supporter.
  • Provide individual counselling, supervision, debriefing to enhance and improve Community Supporters and Community Supportive Listener skills.
  • Provide our altruistic business model, ideas and concepts as a community service.
  • Monitor and observe that the project maintains integrity, compassion and authenticity in it's development and continuation. (beyond any one single individual, recommend counselling if required).
  • Role model and mentor to influence abstract ways of building resilience within the community as opposed to measured and controlled system approaches to helping. 


Possible opportunities for Community Supportive Listeners -

  • Community Guide / Confidant / Beacon
  • Community Disaster Recovery
  • Non emergency Crisis Support


What could we co-create together? If you are interested in being involved please contact through our Contact us page to arrange a chat.


 Article - Adverse life experiences that can drive action


This article is subject to change.



blockSupport Enhancing Skills  - Community - Supporter / Supportive Listener

Nearly every human being has a need to do something meaningful in life, a need to be useful, a need to contribute towards the things they care the most about. Beneath our rational mind is a part of us that is connected to a resonance of being human regardless of our race, culture, gender or age. We provide counselling that specifically focuses on enhancing an individual's resonance towards becoming a highly effective supporter.

By enhancing emotional involvement, resonance, attunement and interoceptive awareness we can connect deeper to this uniqueness of being human, the source of kindness, trust and compassion for others, much needed in the world. When we add to this our own resolved life experiences, particularly if they were adverse, we can build upon a resonance unobtainable to others who have never gone through suffering. (a diamond in the rough) 

We provide individual counselling to enhance supportive listening skills. Counselling is a casual conversations over coffee, lunch, walking, at public locations (non-clinical). It is fee base with the first 'meet and greet' free to discuss the possibilities of what we could co-create.

Suggested Reading - Adverse life experiences that can drive action