Wrong Words at a Funeral

When others experience individuals in pain and suffering, they many time do not know what to say.  Some remain silent and distant due to the discomfort it may bring them, or inability to express, while others may seek to comfort.  Unfortunately, many good intentioned individuals who look to offer help do more damage in the words they say.   Many do not understand the process of grief or experienced loss and the words they say can make the grief process worst.  Unlike Grief Counselors who are trained in grief and loss counseling, these individuals usually say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Understanding grief can help individuals in how to approach the bereaved and how to speak or not speak to a individual experiencing trauma.  It is an important life skill that can make all the difference for a suffering friend or colleague.

Helping the bereaved with the right actions and words is key for trained grief counselors


The article, “I Lost My Dad. These Are The 7 Words I Wish I’d Never Been Told At His Funeral.” by Carly Midgley relates her own experience with the death of her father.  She too experienced the many well wishes of others at the funeral but many of the words at times did not help but made it more difficult for her.  The article discusses on why certain things that seem innocent are not the best phrases or condolences for those experiencing a loss and instead encourages better ways to help the bereaved.  Midgley states,

“But the people who surrounded me seemed as helpless as I was, uncertain how to proceed regardless of whether they’d known him. Sometimes, their attempts at comfort made a difference: A walk around the funeral home with a friend who let me talk as long as I wanted, or a family friend sharing what they remembered of my father’s youth, helped pull me to the surface of my grief just long enough to breathe. Other times, however, the people I spoke to were so filled with awkwardness about death, or with eagerness to fix it for me, that the exchanges turned prescriptive:”

“I Lost My Dad. These Are The 7 Words I Wish I’d Never Been Told At His Funeral”. Carly Midgley. January 19th, 2023.  Yahoo News.

To review the entire article, please click here


Obviously well intentioned individuals will reach out at a funeral to help the suffering family with words of advice or condolences.  Many times, these words are not the right thing to say.  Some of this stems from the types of individuals and their own experience with grief.  Some may seem aloof or distant due to the discomfort of death and discussing it or even seeing other people be emotional.  Others may be still working on their own grief and attempt to offer advice that has helped themselves.  Others may be trying to say the perfect thing in an attempt to fix and heal the bereaved.

When helping the bereaved, it is important to have a strong understanding of the connection and gravity of the loss.  It is important to only offer more words if requested regarding one’s own experiences and to keep it simple.  One cannot fix the loss but one can offer condolence and sometimes not even a word but if appropriate a hug or a listening ear.

Phrases to Avoid at a Funeral

The biggest issues occur when one attempts to know it all or look to fix the loss on the spot.   Phrases that compare the loss or speak of knowing how it feels need to be avoided.  The time is not about one’s experience but the person grieving.  Furthermore, grief is unique, the person may be experiencing the same type of loss very differently so one does not truly know how one feels.  It is best to only offer comparative stories of loss if requested.

Many well intentioned people say the wrong words at a funeral regarding loss. Please also review AIHCP’S Grief Counseling Training


Other phrases start with the words “at least”.  While well intentioned, they attempt to lessen the loss but the loss itself is something the person is experiencing.  While it may be receptive to some ears, it may upset others who only know the objective reality that their loved one is gone.  So if someone died abruptly, adding the phrase that at least he did not suffer is not conducive to helping the situation. Or at least, his or her suffering is now at end.  While this phrase can be utilized carefully depending on the situation, it can become more painful to parents who lost a child.

Phrases that also put the deceased in a better place should be avoided.  The bereaved only want their loved one them not somewhere else.  So while opening a phrase with “at least she is in a better place” does not equate to lessening the pain for many.  It does not remove the current absence.  Furthermore many times, individuals may be angry with God and not ready to discuss the afterlife. Hence it is good to avoid this phrase.

Another phrase to avoid features a judgement upon how one will feel.  A phrase that opens with you will be OK or you will get over this in time should be completely avoided.  It is a large mistake to attempt to dictate how one will feel or tell someone who is currently grieving that it will be OK.  The present moment needs to be respected.

An equally worst thing to say is that it could be worst.  For the bereaved it is already horrible.  The loss of a loved one cannot be worst or compared to other losses.  The loss itself must be respected for what it is and not lessened, challenged, or compared.

In addition, many individuals offer help, but fail to realize many do not have the energy to do something or even ask.  Instead of offering, do.  Instead of waiting for a call, call.  Many are left after the funeral with nothing.  The funeral to those more distant is a mere ceremony, but for those missing their loved ones, it is the first step in a long process of grieving.  The funeral is the start not the end.  So it is important to check on friends and ask them if they are OK or how they feel.  Listening and allowing others to vent is a big thing.

Things to Say

In contrast, focus on the loss itself.  He or she will be missed or I am sorry for your loss are very comforting, direct, acknowledging and non judgmental.  They do not take away from the person or the sorrow of the present.


Many people at funerals offer condolences the wrong way.  This is due to their own discomfort with death, lack of understanding grieving or attempts to fix the bereaved.  Sojourning and listening and respecting the loss for its own is critical to helping people during grief and loss.  When individual’s feelings are acknowledged and respected in the moment, then individuals can grieve in a healthy fashion.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification.  The program trains qualified professionals to become certified Grief Counselors who have the understanding and training to properly address grief and help individuals process it.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.  Please review the program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.


Additional Resources

“What to Say (and What Not to Say) to Someone Who’s Grieving”. David Pogue. February 14th, 2019.  New York Times. Access here

“THE MOURNER’S BILL OF RIGHTS”. Alan Wolfelt.  December 21st, 2013.  TAPS.  Access here

“7 Things to Not Say at a Funeral” Aaron Earl. May 24th, 2018.  Lifeway Research.  Access here

“What to Say (and Not Say) to Someone Who’s Grieving”. Taneasha White.  September 23rd, 2021.  PsychCentral.  Access here

Nonfinite Grief Video

In some cases, grief and loss is not acute nor even directly correlated to a observed loss.  Sometimes loss is more abstract.  Sometimes loss is beyond losing something tangible but is a loss of “what if” or “should have”.  Sometimes loss is something never possessed or greatly desired but never found.  In these cases, a nonfinite grief exists.  This grief is not something to ignore but something that needs attention within one’s life.  One may take upon reflection, respect the emotions and move forward to prevent this type of grief to anchor one into the abyss of existential crisis.

Sometimes loss is about failed expectations of life itself. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification


Human happiness is a very complex reality and when one chases things that cannot give perfect happiness then one can find themselves wandering in the desert of life yearning over things not worth.  It is important to see if one’s nonfinite grief is focused on true things of value and make the changes or accept the necessary realities to find happiness.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.



Please also review the video below on nonfinite grief

Professional Awareness of Suffocated Grief

Grief experts have labeled the term Disenfranchised Grief to be a type of grief that is hidden due to fear of ridicule, or a type of loss that is not recognized or belittled by others because to others it is outside the range of societal norms or perceived as insignificant.   Types of examples can be the loss of a pet, or particular loss that is extremely painful but personal but not acknowledged by society.  Another example would be the pain of an individual who may be a boy friend or girl friend who may have lost someone in High School.  While the family receives the bulk of the sympathy, the Highschool boyfriend or girlfriend may find themselves on the outside looking in.  Another example of Disenfranchised Grief pertains to suffering from a stigmatizing disease.  Still others who lose a loved one within the LGBTQ community may find a stigmatizing view towards their particular loss. All of these losses are ways society attempts to control how one grieves or what is worthy of grief itself.  These type of constraints are an issue that Grief Counseling attempts to unbind in counseling sessions.  Acknowledging the loss and grief is key and making awareness to others that these losses matter.

Many individuals are expected to react to grief in a quiet and private way. Please also review AIHCP’s Pastoral Thanatology Certification


Society attempts to control grief in other arenas as well.  Not just merely in what is worthy of grief, but also in how one should grieve in public.  Societal norms and standards of public display in the West seem to find contempt in outward expressions of grief.  The discomfort of others witnessing a sobbing mother, or a hysterical child grieving the loss of a parent seem out of control and socially awkward.  “What’s Your Grief” takes a closer look at this attempt to censure public displays of grief in it’s article “What is Suffocated Grief”.  The term labeled “Suffocated Grief” refers to situations where other standards attempt to moderate grief expression.  The article states,

“It wasn’t until years later, sitting in a conference listening to Dr. Tashel Bordere, that I realized it was more than that.. I heard the phrase ‘suffocated grief’ for the first time, a term she coined. She explained that for some, their expression of grief is not simply unacknowledged or stigmatized, as in disenfranchised grief, but it is punished. As she described normal grief reactions being penalized, all those calls to security flashed in my memory.”

“What is Suffocated Grief”. Whats Your Grief.  December 21st, 2022.  Whats Your Grief

To review the entire article, please click here


Hence even if a grief loss is seen as within the norms of societal grief reaction and not disenfranchised, it still may fall under societal condemnation in regards to reaction to the loss and how that reaction is perceived in public.  This literally takes grief bullying to a whole new level and can cause larger issues for the griever.

Many within societal norms see outward expressions of grief as uncomfortable or not acceptable in public


Grief reactions are not universal.  Various cultures and faiths all grieve differently to a particular loss.  One standard of expression or mourning cannot be held higher to another.  Mourning as a public reaction to loss is the primary target of Suffocated Grief.  The prevailing society sets the standards and rules for what is perceived as appropriate.  When encountering loss, one’s reaction within a society must meet those societal standards of duration or extremity.   When one travels off the path of “proper” reaction then that person is perceived as odd or temporarily insane.  The discomfort for others is the primary issue.  Individuals sometimes do not know how to respond to a particular emotion of others.  Some individuals become uncomfortable or embarrassed when confronted with raw human emotion.  Hence, hospitals, facilities and nursing homes will noise regulations or removal of individuals from a particular patient or ICU room when human emotion becomes to raw and visible.

Where is Grief Suffocated?

Suffocated grief unfortunately can be seen in many medical facilities.  The ICU can become a very stressful place and the outward mourning of someone who may have passed may cause a considerable upheaval to the point of removal from the facility.  Noise and crying in public can be perceived as threatening.  Individuals who express themselves in the moment of extreme distress are seen sometimes as insane or out of control.  While precautions need to be taken to protect everyone involved, such outward displays of mourning are usually frowned upon in the West.

The same is true within schools.  Many minority children who experience more loss than white counterparts are sometimes held to a higher standard when expressing the same loss.  They are not permitted to express themselves and when they do, it is seen or perceived as aggressive.

Suffocation of grief is especially seen in the work force.  Many positions have little to no paid bereavement leave.  Instead individuals are forced to return to work while grieving and expected to maintain composure and professionalism.

It seems, once the final shovel of dirt has been thrown over the grave, everyone should become silent and move on with life without expression.

Better Training

Understanding Suffocated Grief is important because it opens one to the pain of others.  It is a sign of empathy to realize others are suffering.   Instead of turning away, one needs to open arms.  Pastoral Care and better training in grief are definitely needed in the caring professions.  Medical professionals and nurses need to become better trained in the reactions of grief.  A less sterile response to the needs of family experiencing a loss need to be implemented.  How medical professionals discuss death and how they reveal these things can play large roles in helping others experience the bad news in a more quiet way.  When these basic decencies are not met, individuals are more likely to be angry or devastated by a loss and display more outward mourning.

These feelings need to be respected within a safety net that prevents physical harm to oneself or damage to property.


Mourning or outward expression of grief within society is a very subjective thing.  Cultures differ across the world.  One way of reacting to loss should not be sanctioned by another community.  Instead, others should be able to express grief and have the time to express grief without fear of ridicule.  Healthcare professionals should receive training in helping others when reactions to grief and loss are experienced.

Alan Wolfelt lists a number of Bill of Rights for Mourners that cannot be taken away.  One is to express oneself uniquely during loss and another is to experience “grief bursts” without fear of societal condemnation or grief bullies.  It is important to grieve and express if one feels the need to do so.

The American Academy of Grief Counseling offers both a Grief Counseling Certification and also a Pastoral Thanatology Certification for qualified professionals in ministry, counseling and the medical fields.  The programs are open enrollment and independent study.  If interested, please review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling and Pastoral Thanatology Programs.

Additional Resources

“Disenfranchisement and ambiguity in the face of loss: The suffocated grief of sexual assault survivors.” Bordere, T. (2017)  Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 66(1), 29–45.  APA.  Access here

“THE MOURNER’S BILL OF RIGHTS”. Alan Wolfelt. December 21st, 2013.  TAPS.  Access here

“The Ways We Grieve”. Ralph Ryback, PhD. February 27th, 2017. Psychology Today. Access here

“What to Know About Disenfranchised Grief”. WebMD Contributors. October 25th, 2021. WebMD. Access here


Men and Depression

While society teaches that males should keep sadness to themselves,  psychology teaches that like all human beings, males, as females, need to express their feelings and grieve their losses in order to heal and properly cope with grief.  Social taboo prevents this for many men and it prevents healthy grieving and can lead to complications within grief itself.  With that said, men, like women can become depressed and need the same outlets and aid that women need.

Men in general can have a more difficult time dealing with grief and loss publicly. Grief Counselors can help men better cope


The article, “8 Surprising Signs of Depression in Men” by Valeria Martinez Kaigi, PhD. takes a closer look at depression and men.   She points out that depression exhibits itself differently in men and one needs to notice the signs.  She relates that aggression and frustration and substance abuse are some of the many signs of depression in men, as well as sexual dysfunction.  She laments though that many men are reluctant to seek help unlike women.  She states also that suicide tied to depression is 4 times higher with men then women due to impulse and risk taking of men.  She remarks,

“First, depression is associated with more impulsive and risk-taking behavior and substance misuse in men, which can quickly escalate to behaviors that lead to suicide. Second, men are less likely to talk to a healthcare provider or therapist about their mental health and get the support they need, such as medications or talk therapy. Finally, the symptoms of depression in men are not often recognized by men themselves, their healthcare providers, or loved ones. Which means that many men — and the people closest to them — may not realize they need help in the first place. That’s why it’s so important to know, and share, the above signs of depression.”

“8 Surprising Signs of Depression in Men”. Valeria Martinez Kaigi, PhD. December 1st, 2022. Hartford Health Care.

To read the entire article, please click here


It can be difficult for men to recognize the symptoms of depression, let alone ask for help. With the right understanding and resources, however, it is possible to recognize the signs of depression in men and get them the help they need. In this blog article, we’ll explore the common symptoms of depression in men, how to recognize them, and where to find help.

Grief Counselors can help identify signs of depression and guide individuals to licensed therapists.

Introduction to Depression in Men

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions of people across the world. It’s important to recognize that even though men and women can experience similar symptoms of depression, the experience of depression can be very different between genders. Depression in men is often less recognizable than it is in women, and men are often less likely to seek help or talk about their feelings.

Depression in men can be particularly difficult to recognize because men are often expected to be strong and self-reliant. As a result, men can feel like they can’t express their emotions or seek help for their depression. This can make it difficult for men to recognize their own symptoms of depression, or for those around them to recognize them.

Common Symptoms of Depression in Men

When it comes to understanding depression in men, it is important to recognize the common symptoms of depression. These symptoms can be divided into four main categories: physical, behavioral, emotional, and mental.

Physical Symptoms of Depression in Men

Physical symptoms of depression in men can include changes in appetite, changes in weight, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and digestive problems. Men with depression may also experience a decrease in libido, or a lack of energy and motivation.

Behavioral Symptoms of Depression in Men

Behavioral symptoms of depression in men can include withdrawal from activities they once enjoyed, changes in eating patterns, increased substance use, and increased risk-taking behavior. Men with depression may also have difficulty focusing or making decisions, and they may become easily agitated or irritable.

Emotional Symptoms of Depression in Men

Emotional symptoms of depression in men can include feelings of guilt and worthlessness, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, sadness, and difficulty feeling pleasure. Men with depression may also experience changes in their mood, such as feeling anxious or tense, or feeling flat and disconnected from their emotions.

Mental Symptoms of Depression in Men

Mental symptoms of depression in men can include difficulty concentrating and making decisions, racing thoughts, negative thought patterns, and suicidal thoughts. Men with depression may also experience intrusive thoughts or images, or they may become overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks.

How to Recognize the Symptoms of Depression in Men

The best way to recognize the symptoms of depression in men is to look for changes in behavior and mood. It is important to note that not all men will experience the same symptoms of depression, and that symptoms can vary from person to person. It is also important to recognize that the symptoms of depression in men can be subtle, and that men may not express their feelings in the same way that women do.

If you are concerned that a man you know may be suffering from depression, it is important to be aware of the common symptoms of depression in men. Look for changes in their behavior, such as a decrease in energy or motivation, changes in their eating patterns, or an increase in substance use. Also, keep an eye out for changes in their mood, such as feelings of guilt or worthlessness, or feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.

How to Help a Man Who is Depressed

If you are concerned that a man you know is suffering from depression, it is important to let them know that you are there to support them. Offer to listen without judgement, and let them know that they can come to you for help. Encourage them to seek professional help, and let them know that there is nothing wrong with seeking help for their mental health.

It is also important to recognize that sometimes it is not enough to just be supportive. If you think that the man you know is at risk of harming themselves or others, it is important to seek professional help immediately.

Where to Find Help for Men with Depression

There are many resources available for men who are struggling with depression. The best place to start is to speak to a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. They will be able to assess the severity of the depression and recommend the best course of action. A certified Grief Counselor can also supply help in guiding someone through loss or directing one to a licensed therapist.

A certified Grief Counselor can help many men understand grief and loss and how to better cope with it


In addition to speaking to a mental health professional, there are many support groups and helplines available that can provide support and advice. These helplines are often available 24/7, and they can provide a safe space to talk and share experiences.


Depression in men is a serious issue that can be difficult to recognize. It is important to be aware of the common symptoms of depression in men and to be supportive of those who are struggling. If you are concerned that a man you know may be suffering from depression, it is important to encourage them to seek professional help and to provide them with resources and support. With the right understanding and resources, it is possible to recognize the signs of depression in men and get them the help they need.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.  Certified Grief Counselors can help men become more aware of their feelings and how to better cope with loss and properly grieve.  Grief Counselors can also help men it is OK to grieve and that public stigma against a man who cries it not only outdated but also untrue.


Additional Resources

“Male depression: Understanding the issues”. Mayo Clinic. December 21st, 2022. Mayo Clinic. Access here

“What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Men?”. Erica Cirino.  April 7th, 2021. Healthline. Access here

“Depression in Men”. Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD. September 4th, 2022. WebMD. Access here

“Understanding the Signs of Depression in Men”. Alison Yarp, MD, MPH. December 17th, 2022. VeryWellHealth.  Access here

Past Loss and Grief Haunting Video

Grief is a permanent process not a temporary one. Hence it returns from the past in both healthy and sometimes unhealthy ways

Grief is a forever thing because love is as well.  As long as love lingers, the loss and grief will linger.  With this, anniversaries and other dates of remembrance can resurface with grief.  The hole in one’s heart forever remains the same, but as time proceeds, one’s life grows and the loss while still big becomes less intense.  The intensity of the aching waves become more spread out.

Yet, past scents, images, or places can always take one back.  While some are haunted in a pathological way and experience prolonged grief, others merely feel the occasional pains of the loss that are natural.  Grief  and loss again is not a finite process with an ending but something that remains with one’s whole life.


Please review the video below


Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in grief counseling.

Is My Sadness Depression?

Depression is a pathological mental issue for many Americans.  It can make many adults, as well as teens, feel worthless and aimless in life.  The ironic nature of this disorder is that it usually owes its source to no particular loss.  It is a more a general feeling of low self-esteem, lethargy,  and sadness.  One feels hopeless.  One loses interests in activities or being around others in general.  One loses energy to move sometimes even out of bed.  The disorder can come and go, persist or move with the seasons.

Understanding the differences between depression and normal grief, even complicated grief is important.  The American Academy of Grief Counseling has posted numerous blogs and videos on the issues of depression, complicated grief, prolonged grief and normal grief.  It is very important to understand when one has a pathological grief.  While no one person is the same in grieving, there are signs that can lead to what is more nefarious forms of grief or sadness.

In general, grief over a particular loss, consists in a period of 6 months to 1 year.  Note already, even complications in grief are usually associated with a particular loss or event, something which depression is not.  For those who experience a loss that is more traumatic, or sudden, there is always a greater chance of complications than if the loss was “normal”.  Even if perceived as normal, complications can exist.

Is the sadness your experiencing natural grief, complicated grief or depression? It is important to find out


Individuals who suffer a loss can experience prolonged grief within the 6 month period and it can persist well beyond the 1 year period.  These sudden feelings of sadness once associated with depression, are in themselves their own pathology.  The emotions in prolonged grief are more intense over an extended period of time and they center around the loss.  Lack of association with others or places that correlate with the individual are avoided. Disinterest in life is generally focused and centered around the loss too, as well as extreme emotional guilt or regret centered around the loss of person. All of these intense feelings flood into the person’s overall life. In contrast, depression is a more general loss of hope, a more general dissociation from places and activities.

Individuals can also, unfortunately, suffer from both depression and prolonged grief.  Certified Grief Counselors need to send any clients who show these symptoms to therapists or Licensed Professional Counselors.  A Certified Grief Counselor who is not also a Licensed Professional Counselor is not permitted by law to work with these cases.

Due to this, diagnosis of depression or any type of grief complications are reserved for therapists.

The article, “Detecting and Diagnosing Depression: It Can Look Different in Men and Women and in Teenagers, Too” by Joseph Bennington-Castro takes a closer look at diagnosing depression and the extreme importance of detecting depression early.   He lists the numerous symptoms for depression in adults and teens as well as in men and women.  He also gives additional resources for help for those who feel depressed and think these symptoms may match their behavior.  The article states,

“Depression doesn’t affect all people in exactly the same way, but the illness is associated with particular signs and symptoms. There is a minimum number of symptoms needed for a clinical diagnosis of depression, but the combination and exact number of symptoms in each person can vary. If you have been experiencing some of the following symptoms for most of the day, almost every day, for two weeks or more, you may be struggling with depression”

“Detecting and Diagnosing Depression: It Can Look Different in Men and Women and in Teenagers, Too”. Joseph Bennington-Castro. September 6th, 2022. EveryDayHealth.

To review the article, please click here


Bennington-Castro in his article lists a variety of symptoms for depression that occur within a day to two week period or more.  If someone experiences many of these symptoms without any root loss or cause, then one should seek professional help to treat depression.

Depression can haunt many lives if left untreated. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification


Types of Depression

There are several types of depression that researchers have identified. The most common types are major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder. Major depressive disorder is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities that lasts for at least two weeks. Dysthymic disorder is a less severe form of depression that can last for years. Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of depression alternated with periods of mania.

Signs of Depression

The symptoms of depression can be divided into two categories: somatic and psychological. The somatic symptoms of depression include fatigue, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, sleep disturbances, and slowed thinking and movement. The psychological symptoms of depression include feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and hopelessness, as well as loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Some people may experience thoughts of death or suicide when they are depressed.

There are a number of conditions that must be met in order to diagnose someone with depression. First, the person must have a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Second, the person must have at least four of the following symptoms: changes in appetite or weight, sleep problems, fatigue or low energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide.  These conditions are based on a period of time persisting over two weeks.  Unlike complicated grief, most cases of depression have no primary source of loss, although depression can coincide with an already existing loss and amplify it.

Causes of Depression

Depression is a mental disorder that is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression can be caused by a number of factors, including genetic predisposition, brain chemistry, life events, and medical conditions.  It could be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, it could be due to stressful life events, or it could be a combination of both. Depression is also often hereditary, so if you have a family member who suffers from depression, you may be more likely to experience it yourself.

Treatment for Depression

Depression is a serious mental illness that affects millions of people around the world. While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for depression, there are many effective treatments available. These include medication, psychotherapy, and self-care strategies. Medication can be an effective treatment for depression, especially when used in combination with psychotherapy. Commonly prescribed medications for depression include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers.


Depression can affect all genders and ages.  It can be caused by numerous factors but usually has no true source in itself.  The feelings of despair and loss of hope are more general than acute and persist for over 2 weeks.  There are a variety of physical and mental symptoms.  It is important to note that Grief Counselors that are not Licensed Professional Counselors cannot treat depression.  While Prolonged Grief can seem to appear as depression, it is a different disorder, hence it is extremely important to have an accurate diagnosis if one has some type of depression in order to receive the necessary counseling and medication that may be needed.

Please also review The American Academy of Grief Counseling’s, Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Grief Counselor.

Additional Resources

“What distinguishes prolonged grief disorder from depression?”. Pål Kristensen, Kari Dyregrov, Atle Dyregrov.  November 16th, 2022. Tidsskr Nor Legeforen 2017. 137: 538-9.  Access here

“Complicated Grief vs. Depression”. Tim Jewell. December 8th, 2017. Healthline. Access here

“Conditions Related to Depression”. Julie Davis.  July 17th, 2021. WebMD. Access here

“Teen depression”. Mayo Clinic. Access here





Trauma and Intimacy Video

Intimacy is something that is very delicate in life.  Humans choose very few to become intimate with and it involves a central ideal of trust.  When that trust is destroyed through trauma, either by the said person or through a stranger via a violent sexual act, then becoming intimate again can become a long journey.  The fears and scars due to trauma prevent the individual from opening up again and hence healing.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.


Please review the video below

Grief Counseling Video and the Loss of Grandparents

One of the first significant losses for someone is the loss of a grandparent.  This loss is more severe than other more distant losses.  For some, this loss comes early in their life, for others, it is during young or middle adulthood where they finally say farewell to their grandparents.  For some as well, this loss may sting more if the relationship and attachment was stronger.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.


Please review the video below

Grief Counseling Certification Video on Nightmares and Unresolved Trauma

Trauma if it is not faced consciously will re-emerge in the subconscious.  Nightmares can bring back past trauma in an attempt to understand and face the eluded issue.  Due to disassociated mental material, trauma is trapped in the brain and not stored as a long term memory properly.  Due to this, the trauma memory becomes a rogue thought within the brain.  It haunts the individual through PTSD.  Grief Counseling can help.

Only till the trauma is resolved, faced and understood, can one begin to heal from the event.  Nightmares surrounding the trauma manifest as a way to face it but in an incomplete way.  The nightmares at first are more vivid and true to the event but overtime can become more symbolic.  The only way to overcome the nightmares is to face the trauma when awake.  Counselors can also help individuals who are facing nightmares with strategies to minimize the nightmare and prepare the mind for a more peaceful sleep.  Ultimately though, one has to be put in the work when awake to eventually overcome the haunting past traumatic event.

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management, Crisis Intervention and Grief Counseling Certifications.  The programs all deal with trauma in some aspects.  They are all online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

The video below from AIHCP takes a closer look at nightmares and trauma.



Please review the video below

Grief Counseling Certification Program Blog on Mourning vs Depression

Grief is natural.  Mourning the loss of someone or even something is natural.  There is nothing pathological about mourning yet so many seek to escape the importance of grief and mourning.  Many place it as bad as depression.  Depression in fact is a pathological state that sometimes is not even related to a particular loss.  Understanding healthy mourning and grief is important in contrast to the unnatural state of depression.  Becoming more aware of the difference in these terms is key in grief counseling.

What is the difference between depression and mourning? Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification Program


The article, “The Difference Between Mourning and Depression” by Samuel Parker and Mlrlam Arond looks at the differences between mourning and depression.  The article states,

“Many people are confused about how to distinguish between “normal” grieving and depression that needs to be treated. After all, mourning a loss, especially of a child, spouse, parent, or close friend, is bound to elicit deep feelings of sadness and regret. It is natural that everyday routines are disrupted and things that may have previously been important suddenly seem less so. And the loss of a loved one is not something that, as Presley notes, is ever forgotten.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.