“The Power of Presence”

Tib_1 "I believe in the power of presence.
I was recently reminded of this belief when I and several other Red Cross
volunteers met a group of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. We were there, as
mental health professionals, to offer "psychological first aid." Despite all the
training in how to "debrief," to educate about stress reactions and to screen
for those needing therapy, I was struck again by the simple healing power of
presence. Even as we walked in the gate to the shelter, we were greeted with an
ardent burst of gratitude from the first person we encountered. I felt
appreciated, but vaguely guilty, because I hadn’t really done anything yet.
Presence is a noun, not a verb; it is a state of being, not doing. States
of being are not highly valued in a culture which places a high priority on
doing. Yet, true presence or "being with" another person carries with it a
silent power — to bear witness to a passage, to help carry an emotional burden
or to begin a healing process. In it, there is an intimate connection with
another that is perhaps too seldom felt in a society that strives for
ever-faster "connectivity."

"The Power of Presence"
Debbie Hall
This I Believe on NPR