What are the requisite spiritual qualities that must be developed?
See them as equals:
In the non-Baha’i world, there is a rigid professional boundary between service provider and client which doesn’t exist in a Baha’i conception of service:
An important element of the Bahá’í community’s conception of service involves raising up protagonists within a population to take charge of their own spiritual, intellectual, and social development. In this light, a rigid categorization of “service provider/service recipient” has little relevance in these activities, which aim to strengthen community bonds amongst all who are associated with them. (NSA of the Bahá’ís of Canada, Framework and Guidelines for the Implementation of Child Protection Policies, July, 2012)
The person will need support and time to recover from the traumatic event and regain emotional and mental stability.
Even when someone is feeling better, they may still be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions—especially in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or an image, sound, or situation that reminds you of the traumatic experience.
. . . draw on each other’s love for strength and consolation in time of need. (Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, p. 8)
The greatest need it seems everywhere inside the Cause is to impress upon the friends the need for love among them. There is a tendency to mix up the functions of the Administration and try to apply it in individual relationships, which is abortive, because the Assembly is a nascent House of Justice and is supposed to administer, according to the Teachings, the affairs of the Community. But individuals towards each other are governed by love, unity, forgiveness and a sin-covering eye. Once the friends grasp this they will get along much better, but they keep playing Spiritual Assembly to each other and expect the Assembly to behave like an individual. (Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 41)
Call on families to be loving and unified:
If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp.144-145)
Note ye how easily, where unity existeth in a given family, the affairs of that family are conducted; what progress the members of that family make, how they prosper in the world. Their concerns are in order, they enjoy comfort and tranquillity, they are secure, their position is assured, they come to be envied by all. Such a family but added to its stature and its lasting honour, as day succeedeth day… (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p.279)
I think sometimes God sends us difficult people and difficult situations, so that we can develop love and patience:
Great love and patience are needed towards new believers, especially those who have come from very troubled backgrounds. (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer July 22, 1981)
Let them know they’re getting better
Even if this isn’t true, it can still be a turning point!
If a doctor consoles a sick man by saying, “Thank God you are better, and there is hope of your recovery,” though these words are contrary to the truth, yet they may become the consolation of the patient and the turning point of the illness. This is not blameworthy. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp.215-216)
Believe it yourself:
When you make every effort to cure someone, and they are sure of receiving a cure, this produces an excitement of the nerves which will become the cause of the recovery:
One [of the spiritual kinds of healing] results from the entire concentration of the mind of a strong person upon a sick person, when the latter expects with all his concentrated faith that a cure will be effected from the spiritual power of the strong person, to such an extent that there will be a cordial connection between the strong person and the invalid. The strong person makes every effort to cure the sick patient, and the sick patient is then sure of receiving a cure. From the effect of these mental impressions an excitement of the nerves is produced, and this impression and this excitement of the nerves will become the cause of the recovery of the sick person. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp.254-255)
Be patient and understanding
Be patient and understanding. Healing from emotional or psychological trauma takes time. Be patient with the pace of recovery and remember that everyone’s response to trauma is different. Don’t judge your loved one’s reaction against your own response or anyone else’s.
Understanding . . . that the believers are encouraged to be loving and patient with one another, it will be clear that you too are called upon to exercise patience with the friends who demonstrate immaturity, and to have faith that the power of the Word of God will gradually effect a transformation in individual believers and in the Bahá’í community as a whole. (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 23 October 1994)
In our impatience for people to “get over it”, sometimes we might want to say they need to “forgive and not judge”. Of course this is true! It’s just not helpful, nor does it take into account the time needed to heal.
The House of Justice wrote this to a friend who was struggling with the judgements of the Bahá’í community around her:
Experience seems to suggest that the healing process can often be a lengthy and stressful one requiring the close guidance and help of trained professionals. Advice given by well-meaning believers to the effect that you should seek to transcend psychological problems does not qualify as competent advice on what is essentially a medical issue. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 23 October, 1994)
For more information, please see Healing Has its Own Timetable
Sometimes people need time away from the Baha’i community while they heal. The House of Justice has told us that the healing done now is an investment that will enable them to better serve in the future:
You have asked what to do since psychological problems sometimes make it difficult for you to participate in community events and Assembly meetings. In striving to follow the Teachings and the best medical advice you can obtain, you will want to remember that the healing you do now is an investment that will enable you to better serve in the future. Ideally, you would combine concentrating on healing with avenues of service which do not interfere with it. (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 23 October, 1994)
Assemblies in particular are charged with the responsibilty of giving encouragement to women:
The members of the House of Spirituality must give unlimited encouragement to women. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdul-Bahá, v2, p.336)
Trauma survivors need understanding, compassion and support.