Become a Certified Grief Counselor: Reality of Evil and Severe Trauma: Newtown Shootings

Grief Counseling:  The Rise of Evil and Severe Trauma

Traumatic grief over social acts of terrorism and other forms of evil has become a norm in the 21st century.  Please review if you would like to become certified in grief counseling
Traumatic grief over social acts of terrorism and other forms of evil has become a norm in the 21st century. Please review if you would like to become certified in grief counseling
As modern and Western society continues to degrade into depths of barbarianism not seen since the Dark Ages, modern man finds himself, especially in the West, more shocked at atrocity.  Death imprints and emotional numbing to atrocity were once in the West only made from a distance via media, rarely  affectionate personally.  The necessity of Grief Counseling for more traumatic cases of grief in the last ten years suggests a change in trend.  The West is now becoming accustomed to the grief the rest of the world has known for so long.  Random shootings at malls, or most recent at Newtown has left an indelible mark on America, its people and now its children
The surviving members of the Newtown shootings, and especially the children, now share what children in Africa or the Middle East live as a daily reality.  The shock is no doubt greater because “is this not America?”  Are we not supposedly safe and preserved from such things?  But with the decline of America in every aspect except maybe military might, the domestic front has declined morally, intellectually and socially becoming susceptible to barbaric outbreaks of immense evil.  The fruits of this are now bearing their ugly faces and the new America will not be one of the past.  This unfortunate reality is only our own fault.  As we push God and morality out of the public sphere and replace it with the cult of humanism, broken families will continue to multiply, creating more broken people.
Grief Counselors will be called upon more and more in the future to assist victims.  As these cases increase, there will be an increase of traumatic grief giving way to PTSS and the need for caring and qualified professionals.  It is unfortunate, but a true reality.

Traumatic Grief

Traumatic grief is an intense grief caused by something so horrible and sudden it completely breaks the human heart.  It is most intense when caused by the hands of men without logic or reason.  The case in Newtown is the latest poster for this alarming new trend in America.  Traumatic grief can lead to a variety of future psychological maladies if not treated properly, including severe depression and PTSS.
Everyone will not encounter complications of their traumatic grief.  Only fifteen percent of the population is unable to cope and recover to a form of adaptation, but in all reality, does anyone really ever completely heal from such incidents as Newtown?  The reality is, the pain, the cross, and the tears never completely go away—and rightfully so—because there was a loss; Such a great loss that it would be an injustice to ever forget, or never to shed tears again.  If there were no tears, no natural reaction to such a tragic loss, then the loss never had any value.

Sojourner In Grief

In this way, grief counselors must teach victims of traumatic grief to embrace their pain, their tears and their cross.  It is completely natural and normal to grieve for a very long time.  One cannot even comprehend the depths of anguish one may feel due to the loss of a child.  It is something parents dare not even contemplate much less have to experience.  This is why in the first few weeks at Newtown, a myriad of emotions  will explode in the hearts of these parents.  And with initial response, grief counselors, friends or loved will have to “just be there”.  No words will ease their pain.  Simply by being there with a hug, or even through silent sojourning is the most one can do.
If the parents do wish to talk, it is important to listen.  They need to vent their feelings, whichever direction they may go.  If they express hate for the shooter, allow it.  If they sob and cry without limit, cry with them or hold them if they indicate that need.  This fluctuation will continue and should not be halted until they are ready.
The worst thing that could possible manifest is guilt.  This would be the only time, I would recommend intervention.  Very possibly, a parent may be feeling survivor guilt or even basic guilt in perhaps an argument or punishment the days before with their child.  Do not let parents “beat” themselves up over this.  Reassure them that they loved their child and their child loved them.
Also, keep in mind, these parents may also be mourning over “unopened” Christmas presents.  The parents should be allowed them to keep these gifts as they see fit.  If they wish them to remain by the tree or if they wish to store them in an attic, allow this.  In time, if complicated grieving does not manifest, adaptation will occur and these gifts will be dealt with in a healthy fashion.  Usually via commeration or a ritual.

The Pieta captures the pain and anguish of a parent losing their child. If you would like to become a certified grief counselor, then please review.
The Pieta captures the pain and anguish of a parent losing their child. If you would like to become a certified grief counselor, then please review.
I do not mean for this to become a mechanical guide of reactions.  It is far from it.  Every grief response is diverse but there are general human reactions that most people share.  One way to really understand the emotions of these poor parents is to put yourself in their shoes.  In this way, the only answer is love.  You would not want to be diagnosed, or told pithy sayings.  The reality is that this is not good.  This is painful.  This is evil.  There is no happy ending in this world.  Good can come from this through the mystery of God—but this is not a time to speak of these things–maybe in a few years.
Whenever crisis occurs, acute and immediate pastoral care does not involve pithy sayings, theological discussions on the problem of evil, the goodness of God and the evil of Satan, but it involves love, understanding and witnessing to the person’s grief.  Assessments are made internally upon any suicidal indications, but overall, the pastoral care and presence is one of a passive sponge, that only soaks everything in, until squeezed by the person.
While I am sure there are many religious traditions that have examples of paradigms of coping in such situations, as a Christian, I can only turn to one.  The pain of Mary seeing her own son, Jesus, executed.  Some may find solace knowing our heavenly friends have also suffered and suffer with us today.  Other may not, but to me, if this evil were to ever strike, this would at least give some solace in the waterfall of tears and emotional devastation that would afflict myself as a parent.
While this blog is not intended for the grieving themselves, but for professionals to help, I hope if any grieving parent reads this, they find solace and some peace in their agony.  We will never trivialize your grief, nor deny it, but suffer with you as one community and one nation.
For those wishing to learn more about grief certification, please review our site.  For those seeking emotional help, know you are not alone and that pastoral ministers, counseling professionals and many people care and will be glad to lend you an ear.
If you would like to become a certified grief counselor, then please review the program as well.
Mark Moran, MA