The Value of Emotional Support

In working with clients, we encounter various situations daily. Two clients I had been working with recently were struggling with homelessness because of unhealthy relationships. Both were sex workers and primarily in need of emotional support as they made better, healthier decisions to get themselves into stable housing.
One client went back to the unhealthy relationship and expressed that her life must be a real mess if staying in a bad relationship is easier than finding a safe place to live. We offered her housing options that she declined, but she stayed in touch to text me about other things. I asked her if she could be somewhere else right now, where would she be? She replied, “Home with my family in California.”
I continued to explore with her ways to get her back to a safe place. After days of texting back and forth, supporting her reasons to go back to her parents, and going over ways to help the transition go easier, I received a text that her parents came to get her, and she’s back home and safe. It was a huge step for this client to take and I couldn’t be happier that she made this step on her own.
The other client was asked the same question: “If you could be anywhere right now, where would you go?” I hoped there was a safe place she could transition to without involving emergency shelters. She told me she wanted to be with her child, who was about to give birth to twins. After days of talking back and forth about the pros and cons of relocation (reasons that staying in a shelter wasn’t an option, the benefits of being with family, and the hardships of sex work), I began to work on finding funding for a ticket to get her home. I was thrilled when I received a text saying “Thanks for your encouragement. I got my ticket and I’m leaving today.”
I’m proud to say that encouragement and emotional support was what helped these clients feel empowered to make healthy life choices and better their situations. Having someone to talk to (who keeps texting even when they don’t reply), is how we show our clients that unconditional support exists. The value of non-judgmental support is real and empowering. Aiding our clients in figuring out what’s best for them, and taking steps in the manner of their choosing, is our goal. Sometimes a conversation can be the support someone desires most – expressing the idea that they are valued…that they matter to someone.
This is the work we do. It can be something as simple as a 24-hour emergency line, where we talk to clients and encourage them, even if they are not ready to come to the office. You can help be a part of this life-changing work. $50 a month can pay for our emergency phone line. $25 a month can supply resources for our monthly support groups. $10 a month can provide cupcakes to a club or brothel where we make connections with adult entertainers and sex workers. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can –