Our relationship with others, our connectedness with others, is what determines the possibility of healing a broken heart starting out with facilitating the individual’s capacity to feel safe and loved with us and a circle of friends. We have to see “behaviors” as relationship-driven rather than consequence-driven. By helping to create new memories, the person’s violence, isolation, confusion, or even psychosis slowly begin to heal and new memories emerge.
Sometimes the fear and even generalized hatred in a person is so deep that caregivers have to start with just a series of encounters throughout the day entering the very edge of the person’s space and then leaving after a few seconds—teaching the person that we do not wish to be burdensome, in a sense asking the person or letting him/her know that we are not going to demand much of anything, just our momentary presence, and then we will disappear. These moments start with just our physical presence followed by a quick goodbye and the a return a few minutes later Each return lasts longer and longer. Then a moment comes in which the person is waiting for us and wanting our nearness. We make sure that our mere presence is not seen as a demand. This then extends into longer periods of time until the person learns that our mere presence is good.
The main point of this process is that w enter the person’s space on his/her terms rather than yanking the individual into our space. We realize that the central aspect of all learning is this acceptance and, indeed, longing for human contact. From these early fleeting contacts the process evolves into connectedness.