This podcast episode discusses the importance of asking for help, how to find the right therapist and how best to provide advice to abuse or trauma victims.


Annette Oltmans from The Mend Project emphasizes the need to seek qualified and compassionate individuals when reaching out for help to avoid exacerbating trauma. She suggests starting with a small portion of one’s story and testing the waters with a potential helper.


She encourages victims to trust their gut and not feel obligated to stick with a therapist who doesn’t feel right. Annette also discusses how to approach children or teenagers who may have experienced abuse and the importance of listening, validating, empathizing, and providing support without judgment. 


Additionally, Annette introduces the concept of “double abuse,” where poorly responding to a victim’s disclosure can worsen their trauma. Hear her share the healing model of compassion instead.


Lessons Learned

1. Seek qualified and compassionate individuals when reaching out for help, especially in cases of abuse or trauma


2. Start by sharing a small portion of your story to test the response of potential helpers


3. Trust your instincts and don’t feel obligated to continue with a therapist who doesn’t feel right


4. Approach children and teenagers who may have experienced abuse with calm, patience and support


5. Listen actively to victims without interrupting and provide validation for their experiences


6. Empathize with victims by trying to understand their perspective and feelings


7. Avoid judgment and criticism when offering support to victims


8. Be aware of the concept of “double abuse” and the potential harm of responding poorly to disclosures


9. Implement a healing model of compassion that includes steps like listening, accepting, empathizing, validating, identifying, encouraging, and grieving with the victim


10. Believe the victim and refrain from making assumptions or pressuring them into quick decisions


11. Create a safe and supportive environment for victims to share their experiences and seek help


12. Recognize the importance of social support in a victim’s healing process


Resources and the Healing Model of Compassion


Book mentioned “Invisible Heroes” by Belleruth Naparstek


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You can find Mandi on Instagram @WomenAwareAndPrepared to message her.

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Music by Andrea Hamilton Binley at


The primary purpose of the Women Aware and Prepared Podcast is to educate and inform. This podcast series does not constitute advice or services. Please use common sense for your own situation,

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