Substance Abuse Recovery and Re-entering the Work Force

Within the many challenges of substance abuse recovery from relapse to reconnecting with family, one also finds difficulty again finding financial stability.  Usually many who recover from substance abuse and addiction are in debt due to their high habit spending tendencies.  In addition to being in debt, finding a stable job or career can be difficult.  Again, due to the addiction, many may have lost a job or career and are in the process of rebuilding oneself both professionally and financially.   With these struggles, someone who is recovering from an addiction needs to be able to properly represent oneself in an interview and in properly create a clear and concise resume.  This can be difficult because many potential employers may be weary of a job gap on a resume or may be hesitant to hire someone in recovery.  Hence one needs to be well prepared to counter many of these concerns.

Certified Substance Abuse Practitioners from AIHCP can help others in recovery

The article, “Employment Resources for People Recovering From Substance Abuse Issues” by Frank Hackett supplies some detailed hints and strategies for someone recovering from addiction and trying to secure a job or career again.  He states,

“In the U.S., over 19 million Americans suffer from substance abuse issues. The road to recovery is long, filled with lifelong trials and tribulations—yet many people encounter one major challenge: reentering the workforce after achieving sobriety. And a lack of employment and career prospects is a leading cause of relapse. Although reentering the workforce after treatment can be difficult, your past does not dictate your future. With perseverance and diligence, you have every opportunity to build a career that brings you fulfillment. ”

To read the entire article, please click here

Hackett, F. (2023). “Employment Resources for People Recovering From Substance Abuse Issues”. Resume Builder


Substance abuse recovery is a period of rebuilding and transformation, which often includes the daunting task of re-entering the workforce. Achieving financial independence is a common goal for those in recovery, yet the journey to secure employment is fraught with unique challenges and requires a delicate balance between personal health and professional development. This article explores the intersection of sobriety and employment, offering insights into the common hurdles faced and strategies to overcome them while maintaining sobriety in a professional setting.

Key Takeaways

  • Securing employment is a critical step towards financial independence and self-sufficiency for individuals in substance abuse recovery.
  • The process of finding and maintaining a job post-rehab is non-linear, often involving simultaneous management of personal recovery and professional responsibilities.
  • Common challenges in the job search include a lack of positive references, balancing ongoing rehabilitation with work, and overcoming stigma and criminal history.
  • Strategies for successful employment include identifying recovery-friendly workplaces, utilizing resources and assistance programs, and networking to build professional relationships.
  • Maintaining sobriety in the workplace is essential, with employment playing a vital role in sober living environments and requiring careful navigation of high-risk industries.

Introduction to Recovery and Employment

The Intersection of Sobriety and Financial Independence

Achieving sobriety is a monumental step in the journey of recovery, but it is often closely followed by the pursuit of financial independence. The re-establishment of a stable income is crucial for individuals seeking to rebuild their lives post-rehabilitation. Employment not only provides the means to support oneself but also contributes to a sense of purpose and self-worth, which are vital components of sustained sobriety.

For many, the transition from substance abuse to a sober lifestyle involves redefining personal values and goals. The focus shifts from the immediate gratification of addiction to long-term stability and well-being. This shift often includes a reassessment of one’s relationship with money and material possessions, which can influence their approach to employment.

  • Prioritize sobriety in job choices
  • Seek employment that supports recovery
  • Understand the value of financial planning

The journey to financial independence in sobriety is not just about earning a paycheck; it’s about creating a sustainable lifestyle that supports long-term recovery.

It is essential for individuals in recovery to be mindful of the potential triggers and stressors present in certain work environments. Choosing a job that aligns with one’s recovery goals can help mitigate the risk of relapse and ensure that the path to financial independence also leads to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

The Non-Linear Journey of Recovery and Employment

The path to re-entering the workforce after substance abuse recovery is seldom a straight line. Individuals often face the dual challenge of finding employment while still grappling with the complexities of their recovery process. The journey intertwines personal healing with professional development, and setbacks in one area can impact the other. For instance, those in active addiction are far more likely to display workplace behaviors such as absences, frequent tardiness, decreased job performance, or even substance use, which can lead to a cycle of job loss and further substance abuse.

It is essential to recognize that recovery and employment are interdependent. A stable job can provide the financial support and structure needed for sustained sobriety, while a strong recovery foundation can enhance job performance and reliability. However, the pressures of managing both can be overwhelming, especially when additional responsibilities, such as family care, are present.

The process of rebuilding a life during recovery is multifaceted, involving not just the search for employment but also addressing the underlying issues that led to substance use.

Navigating this non-linear journey requires patience, resilience, and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. It is a process of continuous self-improvement and professional growth, where each step forward, no matter how small, is a victory in itself.

Balancing Personal Needs and Professional Aspirations

For individuals in recovery, re-entering the workforce is a delicate balancing act that requires aligning personal health needs with professional goals. The pursuit of financial independence must not come at the expense of sobriety. A supportive work environment, reasonable working hours, and minimal stress are crucial factors in this equation. Vocational training and job placement programs offered by community organizations can be instrumental in facilitating this balance.

  • Prioritize recovery activities such as therapy sessions, support groups, and self-care.
  • Manage time effectively to ensure a healthy work-life balance.
  • Seek employment that accommodates the need for ongoing rehabilitation.

Balancing the additional pressures of personal and family needs with professional responsibilities can be overwhelming. It is essential to approach this challenge with a structured plan that emphasizes recovery maintenance.

Developing coping strategies for potential workplace triggers and stress is vital. Regular breaks, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques can help manage cravings and negative emotions. By maintaining a recovery-focused routine and building a supportive professional network, individuals can navigate the transition back into the workforce while safeguarding their sobriety.

Employment in Recovery: Common Challenges

Employment in Recovery: Common Challenges

For many individuals in recovery, re-entering the workforce is marred by a shortage of positive references. This gap often stems from a disrupted work history or strained professional relationships due to substance abuse. Employers typically seek references to validate a candidate’s reliability and work ethic, making this a significant barrier to employment for those in recovery.

  • Self-assessment: Reflect on personal strengths and past responsibilities to articulate one’s value to potential employers.
  • Volunteer work: Engage in volunteer opportunities to build a fresh track record of commitment and reliability.
  • Skill development: Pursue educational courses or certifications to enhance employability and provide evidence of self-improvement.

While the challenge is formidable, it is not insurmountable. Proactive steps can be taken to mitigate the effects of a sparse reference list, such as focusing on personal development and seeking out new opportunities to demonstrate one’s capabilities.

It is also beneficial to be transparent with potential employers about one’s journey through recovery. Honesty about past challenges can sometimes turn into an asset, showcasing resilience and a commitment to personal growth. Networking within recovery communities can also lead to connections with employers who are more understanding of the unique circumstances faced by individuals in recovery.

Managing Ongoing Rehabilitation with Work Demands

For individuals in recovery, re-entering the workforce is a pivotal step towards financial independence and societal reintegration. However, balancing work and recovery demands careful planning and support. Post-rehabilitation, the journey to maintain sobriety continues with aftercare services such as 12-step meetings or therapy sessions, which must be integrated into the work schedule.

A healthy post-rehab routine is essential for long-term recovery. It should include time for work, self-care, and ongoing rehabilitation activities. Here are some tips for professionals:

  • Prioritize your rehabilitation schedule alongside work commitments.
  • Seek employment that is supportive of your recovery journey.
  • Communicate with your employer about your needs in a professional manner.
  • Build a daily routine that balances work with self-care and recovery-related activities.

Balancing work and recovery is not only feasible but also imperative for making the rehab journey successful. It requires a commitment to self-care and the development of a structured daily routine that accommodates both professional responsibilities and recovery efforts.

Overcoming Stigma and Criminal History in Job Searches

The journey to re-enter the workforce post-rehabilitation is fraught with challenges, not least of which is the stigma associated with past substance abuse and criminal history. Despite legal protections for employment rights, the shadow of past difficulties often looms large during job searches. Employers may subconsciously allow biases to influence their hiring decisions, leading to fewer opportunities for those in recovery to even secure an interview.

The process of overcoming stigma is not just about securing a job; it’s about changing perceptions and advocating for the value that individuals in recovery can bring to the workplace.

Organizations dedicated to vocational rehabilitation play a crucial role in bridging the gap between recovery and employment. They offer a suite of services designed to support individuals with a criminal record or a history of substance use disorder. These services often include:

  • Information on employment rights and protections
  • Resources tailored to the unique needs of recovering individuals
  • Assistance with job-related skills and training

Branching out from personal networks to utilize these resources can be instrumental in navigating the job market. It is essential to recognize that a history of substance dependency or criminal background does not render an individual unemployable, particularly when they are committed to their recovery journey.

Strategies for Finding Employment Post-Rehab

Strategies for Finding Employment Post-Rehab

Identifying Recovery-Friendly Work Environments

For individuals returning to the workforce after rehabilitation, identifying a recovery-friendly work environment is crucial. Such workplaces understand the unique needs of those in recovery and often provide supportive measures to facilitate their reintegration. These measures may include flexible scheduling to accommodate therapy sessions, a culture that discourages workplace drinking or drug use, and access to employee assistance programs that offer counseling and support.

To build a healthy work-life balance, manage your time effectively, ensuring enough space for therapy sessions, support group meetings, and self-care activities.

A recovery-friendly work environment also prioritizes the well-being of its employees, recognizing that a supportive atmosphere can significantly enhance job satisfaction and retention. It is beneficial for individuals to seek out employers who demonstrate a commitment to their workforce’s recovery journey, often indicated by policies that promote mental health and sobriety.

  • Look for jobs with reasonable hours and minimal stress.
  • Consider vocational training or job placement programs offered by community organizations.
  • Establish a routine that maintains a focus on recovery, including time for self-care and support networks.

Utilizing Resources and Assistance Programs

For individuals in recovery, the path to employment is often paved with the assistance of various resources and programs designed to facilitate the transition. These programs provide critical support in areas such as housing stability, health insurance, and professional development. They are essential in helping individuals maintain their treatment and recovery while seeking employment.

  • Economic Development Assistance Programs (EDAP) offer ongoing support for public works and economic adjustment, which can be crucial for those re-entering the workforce.
  • Recovery support services focus on securing sustainable permanent housing, a fundamental need that directly impacts one’s ability to gain and maintain employment.
  • Training and support services are tailored to empower individuals in education, financial literacy, and health and wellness, including addressing mental health and substance use issues.

The integration of these resources into a recovery plan not only addresses immediate needs but also lays the groundwork for long-term stability and success in the workforce. It is a strategic approach that acknowledges the multifaceted challenges faced by those in recovery.

It is important for individuals to be aware of the ongoing application processes for programs like those sponsored by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and USDA Rural Development (USDA RD). These programs are designed to assist residents in achieving outcomes that support their overall well-being and employment goals.

Networking and Building Professional Relationships

In the journey of recovery and reintegration into the workforce, networking emerges as a pivotal step. It is through the expansion of one’s social and professional circles that opportunities for employment can often be found. Individuals are encouraged to begin with the people they already know, leveraging existing relationships as a foundation for new connections.

Engaging with local organizations, such as civic groups or churches, can serve as a fertile ground for meeting community members and forming valuable relationships. Volunteering offers a dual benefit: it allows individuals to showcase their skills and dedication, while also expanding their network. These activities not only foster professional relationships but also contribute to building healthy relationships in recovery, providing support and acceptance.

  • Begin with familiar contacts and expand outward
  • Get involved in community organizations
  • Volunteer to demonstrate skills and passion

Finding employment post-rehabilitation is challenging but achievable. Joining professional groups and attending workshops are additional avenues for networking. These environments can be particularly conducive to meeting like-minded individuals and can lead to both personal growth and potential job prospects.

Maintaining Sobriety in the Workplace

Maintaining Sobriety in the Workplace

The Role of Employment in Sober Living Environments

In the realm of sober living environments, employment is often a cornerstone of recovery. The structure and accountability provided by a job can be instrumental in maintaining sobriety. Residents are typically encouraged, if not required, to seek employment, which not only fosters a sense of responsibility but also aids in the re-establishment of a normal routine.

Transitioning from a rehabilitation facility into a sober living arrangement that accommodates employment is an important step in the aftercare process.

However, the workplace can present its own set of challenges for those in recovery. For example, the restaurant industry is known for its high-stress environment and easy access to alcohol, making it a potential hazard for individuals striving to maintain their sobriety. A study on restaurant workers’ sobriety has highlighted this delicate balance between the necessity of employment and the risks it can pose.

To mitigate these risks, sober living homes often provide support through various means:

Addressing Unique Challenges in High-Risk Industries

Certain industries present unique challenges for individuals in recovery due to higher rates of substance use and the associated workplace culture. Industries such as construction, mining, and some service sectors are known for elevated levels of alcohol and substance use disorders. These conditions are characterized by an uncontrollable use of substances despite the negative consequences, and they disproportionately affect blue-collar, middle-class, and white-collar professions.

In male-dominated fields, where the workforce is predominantly male, the prevalence of alcohol-related problems is notably higher. This is particularly true in industries like construction, utilities, manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation. For example, in the construction industry alone, one in five workers is reported to have a substance use disorder.

The constant pressure to deliver, unpredictable weather conditions, loneliness, and depression are factors that contribute to substance misuse among professionals such as truck drivers. Younger workers, in particular, may turn to drugs to cope with work pressures.

Professionals in recovery must navigate these industry-specific challenges while maintaining their sobriety. Strategies to address these challenges include seeking employment in recovery-friendly work environments, utilizing support programs, and building a strong professional network that supports their recovery journey.

Creating a Supportive Social Circle in Professional Settings

In the journey of recovery, establishing a supportive social circle within professional settings is crucial for maintaining sobriety. This network not only provides emotional backing but also serves as a resource for guidance and accountability.

  • Choosing supportive work environments is the first step in fostering a conducive atmosphere for recovery.
  • Maintaining a recovery-focused routine helps in integrating work life with the essential aspects of sobriety.
  • Building professional networks through joining groups and attending workshops can lead to meaningful connections.
  • Developing stress management strategies and having a supportive network are key to navigating the pressures of the workplace.

By actively seeking out and nurturing relationships with colleagues who understand and respect the recovery process, individuals can create a buffer against potential relapse catalysts. Regular check-ins and participation in shared activities can further solidify these connections, providing a foundation of support that extends beyond the workplace.

Finding employment after rehab may be challenging, yet it opens the door to new opportunities for building relationships. Volunteering and engaging with community organizations are excellent avenues for expanding one’s social network and demonstrating commitment to both personal growth and professional development.

Achieving and maintaining sobriety is a commendable journey, and the workplace can be a critical environment for support and success. If you or someone you know is striving for sobriety in the professional setting, our comprehensive Substance Abuse Practitioner Certification can provide the necessary tools and knowledge. Visit our website to explore our certification programs, continuing education courses, and a wealth of resources designed to empower health care professionals in the field of substance abuse counseling. Take the first step towards enhancing your expertise and making a positive impact in your workplace today.


AIHCP offers a Substance Abuse Practitioner certification program for trained professionals to help others overcome addiction

In conclusion, re-entering the workforce after substance abuse recovery presents a complex set of challenges that require resilience, support, and strategic planning. The journey to financial independence and self-sufficiency is fraught with obstacles, including the need for positive references, the management of ongoing rehabilitation, and the potential for employment environments that may threaten sobriety. However, with the utilization of personal networks, job-related assistance programs, and a focus on building new professional relationships, individuals in recovery can navigate these challenges. It is essential to prioritize personal recovery and seek employment that aligns with one’s rehabilitation goals. By doing so, recovering individuals can rebuild their lives, contribute meaningfully to society, and solidify their path to long-term recovery. The process is neither easy nor linear, but with determination and the right resources, finding employment and reintegrating into society post-rehab is an achievable and rewarding goal.

Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals looking to help others through the process of addiction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common challenges faced during employment searches post-rehab?

Common challenges include a shortage of positive references, managing ongoing rehabilitation with work demands, and overcoming stigma and criminal history during job searches.

How can someone in recovery identify a recovery-friendly work environment?

Look for employers who demonstrate a supportive attitude towards recovery, offer flexible schedules for ongoing treatment, and have a clear policy on substance abuse.

What resources and assistance programs are available to help find employment after rehab?

There are job-related assistance programs specifically designed for recovering addicts, including vocational training, job placement services, and support groups.

Why is employment important in sober living environments?

Employment is a pillar of recovery that instills a sense of responsibility and normalcy, helping residents maintain sobriety and rebuild their lives.

How can recovering individuals balance personal recovery with work?

By establishing a structured routine that includes regular check-ins, prioritizing recovery activities, and seeking work that doesn’t compromise their sobriety.

What strategies can help in overcoming the stigma of substance abuse in the workplace?

Open communication, seeking supportive employers, advocating for fair employment practices, and focusing on demonstrating reliability and competence can help overcome stigma.

How can networking and building professional relationships assist in finding employment post-rehab?

Networking can lead to job opportunities, provide social support, and help build a professional identity that reinforces recovery goals.

What unique challenges do high-risk industries pose for individuals in recovery?

High-risk industries, like the restaurant industry, may have environments that are more prone to substance use, requiring individuals to be vigilant and seek additional support.

Additional Resources

“Finding Employment In Recovery From Addiction: A Step-By-Step Guide”. ARK Behavioral Health.  Access here

“Working Through Recovery: How to Navigate Sobriety on the Job”. Jedeikin, M. (2022). Indeed.  Access here

“Finding a Job While in Recovery”.  Reviewed by Hoffman, K. (2023).  Access here

“A Guide To Finding Employment In Recovery”. Powers, T. (2016). Sober Nation.  Access here

Evolution of Grief Video

Grief changes and evolves over time.  In healthy grieving, the acute intensity and frequent oscillation of moods and emotions lessens.  The wound and the loss remains but it is accepted and adjusted to without any pathology.  Yes, dates, or memories can push forward emotions and tears, but one is able to function.

Grief over time changes but it is a never ending journey. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification


Still, as grief proceeds forward, the griever notices multiple changes in life that he or she must adjust to, in addition, to discovering less social and public support of others.  As time proceeds, the individual loss becomes more personal and well wishers seem to vanish little by little.  It is important to grieve properly throughout the grieving process to avoid potential complications in grief.  This is why it is so important to do one’s “grief work”.

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.


Please review the video below

Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention

Suicide occurs primarily due to a unhealthy mental state of mind.  Most individuals are truly victims of their own hands.  Due to intense trauma, crisis, or over bearing chronic depression, the unhealthy state can lead to suicide.  There are signs and remarks that can be red flags for counselors, friends or family.  There are a variety of assessments that review a person’s intent, plan and ability to carry it out as well.  These tools are all extremely valuable in identifying higher risk individuals who express suicidal ideation.

Suicide is rarely a choice but due to an unstable mental mindset due to crisis, depression, or severe trauma


Statistically, men are more likely to commit suicide.  Various demographics vary and differ based on gender, faith, community, social support and individual coping abilities.  It is essential to treat all suicidal threats as serious and take appropriate action to help the person.  Crisis Intervention Specialists help individuals de-escalate from intense crisis and emotional instability in hopes of preventing an individual from making taking one’s own life in a moment of despair, intellectual confusion, and mental imbalance.

The article, “Suicide Prevention Must Expand Beyond Crisis Intervention” by Samoon Ahmad takes a closer look at preventing suicide and helping others cope through the it’s thoughts.  Ahmad states,

“There is no positive spin that one can put on the fact that just under 50,000 Americans chose to end their lives last year. And while there may not be a silver lining in this story, we at least have the epidemiological tools to better understand where more suicides are happening and who is more likely to die by suicide, which may eventually help us understand why the number of suicides is climbing. Though it is a category error to treat suicide as no different than a disease, there are most certainly social factors that are contributing to the rise in suicides, and they are affecting some communities more than others.”

“Suicide Prevention Must Expand Beyond Crisis Intervention”. Ahmad, S. (2023). Psychology Today

To review the entire article, please click here


Mental health is a crucial aspect of our overall well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, and influences our ability to handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Unfortunately, mental health issues, including the risk of suicide, are prevalent in our society. Understanding the importance of mental health and gaining knowledge about suicide prevention and crisis intervention is essential for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of mental health, delve into the understanding of suicide, identify risk factors and warning signs, discuss the role of crisis intervention, effective communication techniques, available resources, ways to support those struggling with mental health issues, and initiatives to promote mental health and well-being in our communities.


The Importance of Mental Health Awareness

Mental health awareness is vital for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health issues. By increasing awareness and promoting open conversations, we can create an environment where individuals feel comfortable seeking help and support. Furthermore, understanding mental health allows us to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses, providing an opportunity for early intervention and treatment. Mental health awareness also plays a crucial role in suicide prevention, as it enables us to identify individuals who may be at risk and offer them the support they need.

Understanding Suicide and Its Prevalence

Suicide is a tragic and complex issue that affects individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It is essential to gain a deeper understanding of suicide in order to address this problem effectively. Suicide is often a result of various factors, including mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. It is crucial to recognize that suicidal thoughts and behaviors are not signs of weakness or attention-seeking but rather indications of severe distress and a cry for help. By understanding the underlying causes and risk factors associated with suicide, we can work towards prevention and provide support to those in crisis.

Risk Factors and Warning Signs of Suicide

Identifying the risk factors and warning signs of suicide is crucial in preventing tragic outcomes. Some common risk factors include a history of mental health disorders, previous suicide attempts, family history of suicide, access to lethal means, and social isolation. It is important to note that these risk factors do not necessarily mean that someone will attempt suicide, but they can help us recognize individuals who may be more vulnerable. Additionally, being aware of warning signs, such as talking about suicide, expressing hopelessness or worthlessness, withdrawing from social activities, and giving away belongings, can help us intervene and provide the necessary support.

The Role of Crisis Intervention in Suicide Prevention

When diagnosing suicidal thoughts, one goes through a rigorous process of risk assessment and viability of the plan


Crisis intervention plays a pivotal role in suicide prevention. When someone is in crisis, immediate action is required to ensure their safety and well-being. Crisis intervention aims to provide support, stabilization, and assistance to individuals who are experiencing acute psychological distress or contemplating suicide. It involves active listening, empathetic communication, and connecting individuals with appropriate resources. Crisis helplines, such as suicide hotlines, provide a valuable service by offering immediate assistance to those in need. Trained crisis intervention professionals can help de-escalate the situation, assess the level of risk, and guide individuals towards appropriate help.

Effective Communication Techniques in Crisis Situations

In crisis situations, effective communication techniques are crucial for providing support and promoting a sense of safety and trust. Active listening, empathy, and non-judgmental attitudes are essential components of effective communication. It is important to create a safe and supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable expressing their emotions and concerns. Reflective listening, paraphrasing, and summarizing can help demonstrate understanding and validate the individual’s experiences. Additionally, using open-ended questions can encourage individuals to share their thoughts and feelings more openly. By employing these techniques, we can foster a connection and provide the necessary support during a crisis.

Resources for Mental Health Support and Crisis Intervention

There are various resources available for mental health support and crisis intervention. National and local helplines, such as suicide hotlines, provide immediate assistance to individuals in crisis. These helplines are staffed by trained professionals who can offer support, guidance, and resources. Additionally, mental health organizations and community clinics often provide counseling services, therapy, and support groups. Online platforms and mobile applications also offer resources and tools for mental health support. It is important to familiarize ourselves with these resources and share them with others to ensure that individuals in need can access the help they require.

How to Support Someone Who May Be Struggling with Mental Health Issues

Supporting someone who may be struggling with mental health issues requires empathy, understanding, and patience. It is crucial to create a safe and non-judgmental environment where individuals feel comfortable discussing their feelings and concerns. Listen actively and without interruption, allowing them to express themselves fully. Avoid offering unsolicited advice or making judgments. Instead, provide reassurance, validate their experiences, and encourage them to seek professional help. Offer to accompany them to appointments or help them research available resources. By being a supportive presence, you can make a significant difference in someone’s life.

Promoting Mental Health and Well-being in Your Community

Promoting mental health and well-being in your community is a collective effort that can have a profound impact on individuals’ lives. Start by raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health through educational campaigns and community events. Encourage open conversations about mental health and provide opportunities for individuals to share their experiences. Advocate for mental health resources and support services in your community, such as counseling services, support groups, and crisis helplines. Additionally, promote self-care practices and stress management techniques, such as exercise, mindfulness, and healthy coping mechanisms. By fostering a supportive and inclusive community, you can contribute to the overall mental well-being of those around you.

Mental Health Initiatives and Organizations

Numerous mental health initiatives and organizations are dedicated to raising awareness, providing support, and advocating for mental health. These initiatives work tirelessly to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, promote access to mental health resources, and support individuals in crisis. Examples of such organizations include the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America (MHA), American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and Crisis Text Line. These organizations offer resources, educational materials, and platforms for individuals to share their stories. By supporting and engaging with these initiatives, you can contribute to a healthier and more compassionate society.

Conclusion: Taking Action to Support Mental Health and Prevent Suicide

Those in crisis need guidance. Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Specialist Certification and see if it meets your goals


Understanding the importance of mental health and taking action to support individuals in crisis is crucial for suicide prevention. By increasing mental health awareness, identifying risk factors and warning signs, utilizing effective communication techniques, and providing support, we can make a significant difference in someone’s life. It is essential to familiarize ourselves with available resources and promote mental health initiatives in our communities. By working together, we can create a society that values mental health, provides support to those in need, and prevents the tragedy of suicide.

Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Specialist 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 Crisis Intervention.


Additional Resources

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.  Access here

Suicide Prevention. CDC. Access here

“Suicide: What to do when someone is thinking about suicide” Mayo Clinic Staff. (2023). Mayo Clinic. Access here

“Suicide Prevention”. (2023). APA. Access here

Maslow and Human Love/Loss

Fulfilled Need that Is Lost

Humanity in the fallen world has numerous needs to maintain existence.  Among the most basic needs are food and water.   Instinctively within human nature is a drive for to satisfy hunger and thirst, as well as drives to reproduce.  These are natural evolutionary forces that push the human person to exist and perpetuate the species.   In Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow lists basic needs of existence as the base of all needs.  Following these needs are needs of safety and shelter.  Beyond that is a more complex social need of belonging and love.  Following this basic social need, is a mental need to perform and succeed in certain areas and talents that help manifest self esteem.   Still even beyond those accomplishments, there needs to be a self actualization of self that recognizes one has met one’s fullest potential.  Finally, after all these physical, social and mental accomplishments, one needs to find an existential or spiritual idea of meaning and tie that meaning into one’s life (Myers & Dewall, 2019, p. 351).  Hence humanity has many needs to find completeness .

One of Maslow’s needs is social fulfillment, When death happens, this need becomes unmet and leads to the grieving process


When these basic needs are denied or removed, one can experience a sense of loss.  Human loss is more than merely losing a loved one but is an assortment of losses that range from the everyday minor issues to other losses that include home, shelter, job, career, relationships, or lack of success.  Some of these loses are losses related to physical events, while other losses are more abstract, ambiguous or anticipated (Kastenbaum & Moreman. 2018, p. 374-375).

Attachment is key to any type of loss.  John Bowlby observed that the greater the attachment to something, the greater the loss reaction (Kastenbaum & Moreman, 2018, p. 378).  Hence grief is a simple formula of losing a vital attachment and learning to adjust without it.  The problem is the adjustment.  Especially when one considers the core of human needs includes love, being loved and belonging.  When someone is ripped away from another, these needs are now unfulfilled and lead to an adjustment period referred to as the bereavement period.  Ironically, there is no true period of grieving but a life long reaction to adjustment of the absence of that love.  Some proceed through the adjustment period without pathology, while others are able to better cope.

Kubler Ross gave various stages to the adjustment of loss.  Denial, anger, sadness, negotiating and acceptance became the 5 classic steps to grieving ( Kastenbaum & Moreman. 2018, p. 380). However, while these emotions clearly are part of the grieving process, one cannot neatly place grief into stages.  Grief instead is messy.  Grief oscillates from extremes and reverts back and forth between different emotions. (Bonano, G. 2019, p.40).  Ultimately, the person must perform the needed grief work to adjust to the new status.  The person must search for meaning in the loss (Wolfelt, A.

This is why Robert Neimeyer’s work on Meaning Reconstruction is so key to overall healing.  Neimeyer looks to connect past, present and future, pre-loss and post-loss into one story of a person’s life.  The loss must be incorporated into the full narrative of the human person (Worden, J. 2009, p. 5-6).   This incorporates the loss more fully into the person’s existence and finds meaning in the loss itself.  It also helps the individual realize that while the loss and absence of love physically exists, the continued bond in memory and in life itself still exists.  The love that was shared is a part of one’s life and continues to shape oneself.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs clearly illustrates the necessity of love, being loved and belonging, but when these things are torn away through loss, a serious grief reaction occurs and individuals need to understand how to cope and incorporate loss into life.

Motivation to Find the Beloved

In psychological studies, the person is driven by motivation.  Motivation is defined as “need or desire that energizes and directs behavior” (Myers & Dewall. 2019, p. 349).  In addition to genetic and evolutionary drives, one is also driven to certain goods via an arousal of the psychological state that looks to decrease that desire through obtaining or fulfilling it.  This is referred to as Drive-Reduction Theory (Myers and Dewall. 2019, p. 349).

There is a continued drive to remained connected with the deceased


The need and drive finding the beloved after loss is definitely a natural and evolutionary urge.  The process of bereavement helps the individual react and adjust through a series of emotions to understand the loss itself.  This can be difficult at first to rationally understand, since emotionally charged events are first deciphered through Amygdala.  This short road is far more emotional and reactionary to an initial loss (Myers and Dewall. 2019, p. 370).   Charged emotions respond to this drive to find the lost or deceased person.  This is why denial is so common when a horrible event occurs.

Emotion plays a large role in one’s appetites and how one is pushed towards or pulled away from an object.  According to Myers and Dewall, emotion itself is the response of the whole organism from physiological arousal, expressive behaviors and conscious experience (2019, p. 369).  Within the list of emotions, many scientists differ what are the core base emotions, but most concede that anger, fear, disgust, sadness and happiness are the basic human emotions (Myers and Dewall. 2019, p.369). Others also include interest, shame, guilt, as well as pride and love (Myers and Dewall. 2019, p. 369).

Obvious sadness is a key emotion related to loss.  The desire to return to a normal state of existence and the inability to do so frustrates the will and the absence of the beloved causes intense sadness.  Sadness as an emotion helps readjust but it also is beneficial as a social key in illustrating to others a sign of distress.  Due to various cues of facial expressions one can infer another person is struggling (Bonano, G. 2019, p. 31).   So while the bereaved is motivated internally and naturally to find the deceased, the function of sadness helps the person find adjustment and understanding overtime of the loss.

The drive to continue the bond with the deceased is not pathological, as past Freudian views pointed out ( Kastenbaum & Moreman. 2018, p. 379).  Instead it healthy to continue the bond through spiritual practice or memorialization.  Successful grieving in fact involves this continuation of the bond (Bonano, G. (2019, p. 140).   However, there are limits to healthy continuation of the bond and pathological.  Healthy coping will continue the bond in a non maladaptive way that accepts the loss and permits everyday existence but unhealthy bonding can be illustrated in cases such as clinging to possessions of the deceased (Bonano, G. 2019, p. 141).   This clinging is far different than keeping a few objects, but this pathological reaction involves extreme hoarding of past possessions and refusal to move forward.  In fact, in some cases, the room is left perfectly as was prior to the death (Bonano, G. 2019. p.140).

Hence one can understand the extreme motivational drive and need to maintain a bond with the deceased even after the death has occurred.  It is a healthy drive but one that needs moderated.


Psychological needs to love, be loved, belong and maintain those bonds is a key drive within the human person.  When these things are frustrated, the drive continues to push forward in the process of bereavement.  Overtime, this drive adjusts but it takes time to adjust to loss.

Emotions are key to expressing ourselves. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification



Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification 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.


“Exploring Psychology” 11th Edition. Myers, D & Dewall, N. (2019). Worth Publishers: Macmillan Learning, NY

“Other Side of Sadness”. Bonano, G. (2019). Basic Books, NY.

“Death, Society and Human Experience” 12th Edition. Kastenbaum, R. & Moreman, C. (2018). Routledge, NY and London.

“Understanding Your Grief” 2nd Edition.  Wolfelt, A.  (2021). Companion, Fort Collins, CO.

“Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy”. 4th Edition. Worden, J. (2009). Springer Publishing Company, NY

Additional Resources

“Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs”. Mcleod, S. (2023). Simply Psychology. Access here

“The Value of Sadness”. Firestone, L. (2015). Psychology Today.  Access here

“What is Attachment Theory? Bowlby’s 4 Stages Explained”. Ackerman, C. (2018). Access here

“16 Tips for Continuing Bonds with People We’ve Lost”. Williams, L.  (2014). What’s Your Grief?  Access here




Mental Health Stigma

When someone is physically ill with symptoms one goes to one’s physician.   When someone is sick or ill, others do not consider it a handicap.  If one has diabetes, they do not discriminate or spread gossip in a negative way.  Yet, the moment someone has a mental health issue, various nicknames or prejudices emerge that the person is weak or even worst crazy.  Society has laid a stigma upon the idea of mental health as not a legitimate health issue and makes individuals ashamed of their condition or and feel foolish to seek help.

Mental health needs the same care one gives to physical health. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification


One can see it in social norms that demand men should never cry, or one should get tougher when it gets life gets rough.  No wonder there is a mental illness crisis in the United States with numerous mentally ill not receiving care and some even resorting to suicide or mass shootings.  While those who engage in anti social behavior are of the most smallest percentage of those facing mental issues, there are millions who suffer from unresolved trauma, depression, bi-polar, anxiety, ADHD, OCD and a host of other conditions.  If individuals would treat their mental health as their physical health, many would lead far more happier and productive lives.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification as well as AIHCP’s other multiple mental health certifications in Anger Management, Stress Management, Crisis Intervention and Substance Abuse Practitioner.   The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in any of the above programs.


Please review the video below

Theology and Psychology: Moral Actions

Moral Theology and Psychology

Moral Theology has a meeting point in understanding immoral human behavior with Psychology.  Since Psychology studies human actions and attempts to understand it, Psychology can hence play a role in understanding subjective and circumstantial aspects of a human moral action.   Any action in Moral Theology is deemed just or unjust according to criteria.   The action itself is considered objectively good or immoral.   Theft is an objectively disordered and immoral action.  It stands against the Natural Law as something humans can know as inherently wrong due to the ideal of personal property and space.  The Divine Positive Law reinforces the evil objective disorder of theft through the 7th Commandment of “Thou Shall not Steal”.

In addition to the action, the subjective nature of the agent who commits the act receives analysis in Moral Theology.  The agent’s culpability can be lessened or increased based on his or her knowledge of the action itself.  Hence a person who may commit an immoral act out of ignorance, while still committing an immoral act, is less culpable before the eyes of God.   Finally, the circumstances can reduce culpability as well.   If a person steals food due to starvation, then the action and culpability is decreased as opposed to a person who steals from a struggling family or commits a bank robbery.    Hence, while subjective and circumstantial elements can never objectively change the nature of an action, it can increase or decrease culpability afforded to the agent.

Psychology offers Theology great insights into the subjective element of the human agent during a moral act


Psychology offers particular insight into the subjective element.  In Moral Theology, the agent is the human person.  Focus is placed on the human being, as the soul and body.  The soul is comprised of the intellect and the will.   Due to Original Sin, the mind and passions are not in harmony and this creates discord within the ability to choose morally and control one’s impulses.  Moral Theology looks at how vice and virtue clash within the human soul and how habitual vice can rot the soul.  Psychology looks at the manifestations of the soul through the brain and how the human agent responds to situations.  Psychology reviews how neurons and neuron transmitters can affect moods and where primal reactions exist within the brain.  It analyzes how the body produces various hormones which can also negatively affect moral decisions.

Stanly Milgram’s Experiments

Social Psychology extends beyond the subjective agent but also to circumstances as well.  Social Psychology looks how learned human behavior and social pressures can play a role in human decision making.  One of the most interesting experiments and studies surrounding this involved Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments.  At times controversial, these experiments would look at the role of authority upon individual immoral decisions.

The experiments were simple in design.  An individual in a separate room, known as the “teacher” would hold access to a button that would send an electric shock to a person in a different room who was known as the “student”.  Whenever the “student” missed a question, the “teacher” would be instructed to send a shock wave to the “student”.   As missed questions accumulated, the voltage would increase till the point one could hear cries coming from the “student” in another room.   Authority figures in charge of the study would instruct the “teacher” to nevertheless continue to impose shocks despite the cries.

Behind the reality of it, there never was a “student” but only a staff member mimicking pain.  The experiment wished to see how far individuals would proceed with an immoral instruction from an authority figure despite one’s own moral convictions.  Surprisingly, the experiment showed, 60 percent of the individuals continued supplying electric shock to the “student”.  Obviously, this brings one to sharp conclusions regarding the morality and role of Nazi soldiers and guards during the Holocaust.  What moral culpability did they hold?  How powerful is the source of authority in making an immoral decision to potentially kill?

The experiment showed that depersonalizing the other human being played a large role easing the conscience of the “teacher”.  Out of sight and out of mind played a big role in reducing the anxiety for some in pressing the button.  This shows it is far easier for human evil to exist when the agent is further away from the sight itself.   Also, the experiment showed, that when the authority figure was present, it made it easier for the “teacher” to proceed with his or her duty in delegating shock to the other person.

Moral Culpability and Cognitive Dissonance

Another principle at play in in this study was “Foot-In-The-Door Phenomenon” which teaches that agents if coaxed into agreeing to neutral or smaller tasks will later comply with larger requests.  In the Milgram experiments, the “teacher” was asked to at first simply supply a mild shock.  As the experiment progressed, the orders become more severe.  In hindsight, Nazi soldiers may had been told at first to collect Jews and bring them to the camps.  Later, they would be asked to inhumanely treat them, leading to finally the order to execute them.

So how far does culpability exist?  In Moral Theology,  hurting another person willfully is a objective immoral act, but does circumstance and subjective qualities lessen culpability for the agent physically committing the offense?  As in criminal law, there are always more culpable agents.  God’s moral law which is infinitely just and omniscient definitely understand this.  Hence, for some agents, culpability is lessened more than others depending on their knowledge.   Obviously, those who proclaim moral law over tyranny and die for it are the best humanity has to offer.   Christian martyrs who rejected the law and orders of Caesar for the love of Christ are examples that a strong conscience can overcome any psychological manipulation but many individuals fall between the cracks.

Cognitive Dissonance helps individuals justify actions that defy their moral belief system


Moral culpability like waves pulsate from the epi-center of the immoral act.  The doctor who performs an abortion is explicit in his or her role in murder.  This direct action holds the doctor to the highest culpability.   The individual who supplies anesthesia to the pregnant woman for the abortion, plays a less direct role but still a fundamental part in the intent to kill the child in the womb.  The receptionist at the abortion clinic, the janitor who cleans the clinic and the guard who holds back the protestors at the clinic all play roles to some extent.  Some may even not necessarily believe abortion is moral but concede to the opportunity of employment or the excuse it is not one’s business.   Likewise, Nazi guards who shot Jews, were merely the instruments.  The orders from superiors all played equally if not greater moral culpability, but does the solider who guarded the concentration camp also hold some culpability?

The human conscience is supposed to irk the soul when it commits a sin.  A good conscience will not allow one to sleep.  In Moral Theology, a sound and good conscience is in correlation with the God’s law and will.  Those with erroneous consciences or other types of improperly formed consciences will fall victim more easily to immoral authority commands.  Yet, due to fear, or psychological manipulation, individuals with consciences will still try to make sense of their apparent paradoxical behavior.  In Psychology, when a person attempts to balance his or her own belief with inappropriate actions, the person engages in Cognitive Dissonance.   The agent may try to justify one’s actions to try to ease the conscience.  In the case of the Holocaust, some soldiers may had justified the action as the reality of war, or believed in the dehumanization of the Jewish people as traitors to the Germany.  With the abortion clinic example, the receptionist may conclude that it is not my business and not my body, or may attempt to dehumanize the child within the womb to a mere clump of unconscious cells.  The guard outside the clinic or janitor may conclude that this job puts food on the table and his family needs the money.

It is truly a scary reality.  Evil times can very easily bring out the worst of the worst but also sheepishly lobotomize the conscience of anyone with moral beliefs but no backbone or spine to defend what needs defended.

Peer Pressure

Human beings look to belong.  They seek to find conformity within their species.   Non conformity in the prehistoric times, meant isolation and death.  It is a naturally wired thing for human beings to try to belong to groups.  What happens when larger groups challenge the moral belief of an individual?  In Moral Theology, it is the duty of the Christian to proclaim the Gospel despite social persecution.  Christ, Himself, lamented that if the world rejects you, know it has rejected Me first.  With such a warning, it should be obvious for Christians to realize that Christian beliefs and moral teachings will be at odds with the lies of the world.

The need for social conformity can lead to behaviors contrary to one’s self. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


However, there is still again the peer pressure of the world and one’s desire to conform to groups that are internally at war with the Christian conscience.  Psychology again has some explanations regarding moral behavior.  Solomon Asch provided some insight through his experiments on groups of three or more regarding the need to conform to a social group.    In his study, individuals would be asked certain questions and a high percentage would answer correctly, but when put into a larger group, he noticed that when a controlled infiltrator purposely answered wrong, and this continued, it would play a role in others being wary to answer correctly.  This experiment showed the power of a group presence to alter.  It also shows the power of today’s politically charged world how powerful and dangerous gas lighting can be in public campaigns.    The experiment also emphasized that when individuals feel different, or incompetent, or insecure, they are more likely to side with  the majority.

Another example of conformity to immoral ideals based on social majority exists in both Psychology and Moral Theology.  In Moral Theology, the occasion of sin refers to when one openly encounters sinful material that can negatively influence a person.  These occasions can be persons, places or things.  As with most situations, corruption usually weakens the whole.  This is also a concept in Psychology under the term “Social Contagion”.  In Psychology, it can also be a good force, but what it does point to is that individuals like to take upon the emotional tones of the surrounding company.  If a group is more subject to foul language, does it cause discomfort, or does it push one to maybe swear more?  If a group is drinking and smoking, is one more inclined to maybe just have one beer to fit in?

One interesting theory is “Group Polarization”.  If like minded Christians come together in a moral discussion, the increase and enhancement of the moral topic will become more powerful.  If condemning abortion, it will become more strong as the conversation occurs.  Conversely, if like minded individuals with various prejudices come together, they may leave the conversation with far more prejudice than started.  Again, for good or bad, this points to the power of peer and social groups in enhancing the need to conform.

Aggression and Harm

While Moral Theology teaches an objective action, such as “Thou Shall not Murder” and other ideals of not harming others as imperative and uncompromising, it still understand the subjective elements.  Ideas such as self defense, or just war theory can come to mind.  However, Psychology has given great insight to why certain individuals act aggressively from a neurological, genetic, biochemical and behavioral perspectives.

It has been scientifically proven that the Amygdala is a center for human emotion.  It has also been noted during Fight or Flight, the Hypothalamus ignites the Pituitary Gland to infuse the body with hormones to prepare the body for stress and conflict.   Furthermore, in more aggressive persons,  it has been shown that under-developed frontal lobes, or even damage to them play a key role in aggressive behavior.  From this, one can clearly notate a body-mind connection in behavior.

While aggression is objectively wrong, Psychology gives clues as to the subjective nature of the agent and why he/she becomes angry and aggressive


Unfortunately, due to Original Sin, the soul lost the ability to control the passions.  Psychology illustrates how this lost of the passions operates in the mind and brain.  It shows how neurotransmitters can alter behaviors due to less serotonin or dopamine, it illustrates how hormones can make one more aggressive at a given time, and it also demonstrates how even within the genetic code, some may be more aligned with anger.

Does this give one a free pass to commit immoral actions?  The moral action will always remain immoral, but culpability is another story.  For most, frustration, or low blood sugar can make one feel more irritable and can explain the urge to yell or be impatient or wish to push someone, but it does not justify.  Albeit, one cannot control these elements of the body, as Pre-Fall Adam, one is still called to control one’s passions.  It may offer an explanation, but it is not a free pass to be a nasty person.  In this, one can marvel at the kindness and love Christ showed and in the lives of the saints.  Virtue and good behavior can help balance one’s fallen passions to anger.

One must remember, humanity’s fallen nature and the inner inclinations are not sins but are natural impulses, but through the grace of the Holy Spirit, one is given the ability to better control these broken emotional systems.

The Need to Do Good

Humanity is created in the image and likeness of God.  While the Fall of Adam damaged human nature, it did not destroy it.  Humanity lost access to its great intellect and the super abilities of the brain, it lost control of emotions, and become subject to disease and death, but the inherent nature of humanity itself was still preserved.  Humans still exist with a body and a soul that is made in the image and likeness of God.  The will is hence enticed for good.  Even when the corrupted will does wrong, it still perceives some sort of good, albeit selfish motives.  Still, the will works with the intellect of the soul for the ultimate good of itself.   Human beings are conceived and born good.

Psychology also notates the impulse to do good.  With conformity and social bonds, the need to cooperate for the mere purpose of existence is programmed in humanity’s evolutionary genes.  While good actions are produced through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the human species is also naturally looking to foster relationships and help others in distress.  A few concepts illustrate the better side of humanity.   In “Social Exchange Theory” , social behavior is seen as a trading of services where the goal is to maximize benefit and minimize discomfort to others.  There is a “Reciprocity of Norm” concept that others will help those who help instead of hurt and that there is an innate “Social Responsibility Norm”  that others will help those in need.

Since humanity is made in God’s image, there is an inclination to be good.


James Stuart Mills noted that human beings help others and perform good moral actions because it maximizes the overall benefit of humanity.  It ultimately benefits the whole.  This concept is known as Utilitarianism.  In addition, one can see these concepts of helping others found in the most basic concept of the “Golden Rule”.

Teaching children to be good and kind is key at a young age.  It is important to curb selfish egos and harmful behaviors.  From a Psychological standpoint, this is a good idea for continuation of the species and maximization for human potential.  When anti-social disorders erupt, under the guise of Narcissism and other more serious elements of Sociopathy emerge, then the concept of the Social Contract itself can collapse.

From a Naturalistic standpoint, it is hence self fulfilling to promote kindness and goodness.  Even the atheist can contest the need for social harmony through human made laws but Christianity and Moral Theology demands more.

One does not merely perform morally neutral acts to promote unity and productivity but these act carry objective and inherent good, not just for its consequences but also because it is right and just and good before the Lord.  The love of God is communicated through good and moral actions.  The communal wholeness is not the aim but the consequence of worshipping and loving God and neighbor.  There reward and beauty of kindness and good action is in itself a deep love for God Himself.  In this way, Psychology is limited in understanding the greater depth that good action has beyond the empirical visible elements of social stability.


While Psychology helps one understand the physiology of how the soul, brain and body work together and how the fallen human nature operates, it is Theology, the first study, that fully explains the nature of good and evil and the objective nature of a human act.  Psychology is a necessary aid in helping understand the subjective agent in human action, but it does not have the authority to objectively define good and evil in its most primitive forms.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


Christian Counselors need to possess a strong understanding when giving spiritual direction to others regarding morality in these aspects.  Christian Counselors can benefit greatly through the study of Psychology in understanding the subjective inner workings that play key roles in the human action.  Since, spiritual advisors, pastoral directors and clergy help souls through moral decisions, it is important that they not only understand the spiritual aspect but also the mental and physical elements taking place that hold great weight in the subjective agent and ultimate culpability.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian 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 Christian Counseling.


“Exploring Psychology, 11th Edition”. Myers & DeWall (2019).  “Chapter 12: Social Psychology”


Related Articles

“Thomas Aquinas: Moral Philosophy”. Floyd, S. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Access here

“What Was the Milgram Experiment?”. Cherry, S. (2022). VeryWellMind.  Access here

“Here’s Why Some People Can Stand Up to Social Pressure”. Sanderson, C. (2020). Greater Good Magazine. Access here

“Solomon Asch Conformity Line Experiment Study”. Mcleod, S, PhD. (2023). Simple Psychology.  Access here

ADHD and Productivty

ADHD can negatively hurt productivity by not allowing one to focus on the job of the moment.  It can lead one in a circle without focus and goal.  ADHD experts and consultants can help others learn coping skills and tips to better reroute and rewire ADHD to work for oneself.  ADHD can be used with certain strategies to help individuals become more productive.

ADHD can limit productivity by preventing focus. Please also review AIHCP’s ADHD Consulting Certification and see if it meets your goals


The article, “Productivity Tips To Help You Work With Your ADHD, Not Against It” by Antonio Bowring looks closer at how to utilize ADHD for one’s advantage in regards to productivity.   She states,

“If you’re an adult with ADHD, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re just making up excuses about productivity issues you may face. You have a truly valid explanation, and that’s an important distinction. In order to take responsibility, you have to be open to realizing and communicating your needs for structures, scaffolding and possibly work accommodations.”

“Productivity Tips To Help You Work With Your ADHD, Not Against It”. Bowring, A. (2023). Forbes

To read the entire article, access here

Living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can present unique challenges when it comes to productivity. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults, making it difficult to stay focused, organized, and manage time effectively. However, with the right strategies and support, individuals with ADHD can unleash their full potential and maximize productivity.

One of the key aspects of understanding ADHD and productivity is realizing that it is not a lack of intelligence or capability. People with ADHD often have a wealth of ideas and creativity, but struggle with executive functions like organizing thoughts, prioritizing tasks, and managing time. Recognizing this distinction is crucial in developing effective strategies for productivity.

The Challenges of ADHD and Productivity

ADHD can manifest in different ways, making it essential to understand the specific challenges that individuals may face. One of the primary difficulties is maintaining focus on a single task for an extended period. Individuals with ADHD may find their attention easily diverted, leading to unfinished projects and a sense of frustration.

Another challenge is managing time effectively. People with ADHD often struggle with estimating how long tasks will take and may underestimate the time needed. This can result in a constant feeling of being behind schedule and increased stress.

Additionally, staying organized can be a significant hurdle. Keeping track of deadlines, appointments, and important documents can be overwhelming for individuals with ADHD. This lack of organization can lead to missed opportunities and increased anxiety.

Strategies for Maximizing Productivity with ADHD

While ADHD presents challenges, there are numerous strategies that can help individuals with ADHD maximize their productivity. Here are some effective techniques:

Creating an ADHD-Friendly Workspace

A organized and friendly workplace can help individuals who have ADHD with productivity


Designing a workspace that caters to the unique needs of ADHD can significantly enhance productivity. Start by decluttering your workspace and organizing your materials in a way that makes them easily accessible. Minimize distractions by creating a quiet environment, using noise-canceling headphones, or implementing white noise.

Time Management Techniques for Individuals with ADHD

Time management is crucial for productivity. Utilize techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique, where you work in short bursts followed by frequent breaks. Use visual aids like calendars, timers, or smartphone apps to help you stay on track and manage your time more effectively.

Prioritizing Tasks and Setting Goals

Learning to prioritize tasks and set realistic goals is essential for individuals with ADHD. Identify the most important tasks and break them down into smaller, manageable steps. This approach helps to prevent overwhelm and ensures that you make progress towards your goals.

Using Technology to Aid Productivity with ADHD

Technology can be a powerful tool for individuals with ADHD. Utilize productivity apps, task management software, or digital calendars to keep track of deadlines, appointments, and to-do lists. Additionally, consider using reminder apps or setting alarms to help you stay on schedule and avoid forgetting important tasks.

Incorporating Breaks and Self-Care into Your Routine

Taking regular breaks and practicing self-care is crucial for maintaining productivity with ADHD. Engage in activities that help you relax and recharge, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies. These breaks not only improve focus but also prevent burnout and enhance overall well-being.

Seeking Support and Resources for ADHD and Productivity

It is important to remember that you are not alone in your journey with ADHD. Seek support from family, friends, or support groups who can provide understanding, encouragement, and helpful tips. Additionally, consider working with a professional coach or therapist who specializes in ADHD to develop personalized strategies for improving productivity.

Conclusion: Embracing Your Potential with ADHD

Someone certified in ADHD Consulting can help one find better productivity and coping skills with ADHD


ADHD may present unique challenges, but it doesn’t have to limit your productivity. By understanding ADHD and implementing effective strategies, you can unleash your full potential and achieve your goals. Embrace your creativity, seek support, and make use of the various techniques and resources available to maximize your productivity with ADHD.


If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD and productivity, remember that there is support available. Reach out to a professional who specializes in ADHD, join support groups, and explore the wealth of resources that can help you navigate the unique challenges of ADHD and maximize your productivity. Remember, you have the potential to achieve great things, and ADHD should never hold you back.

ADHD Consultants can also help with coping skills.  Other clinical professionals can provide more in-depth guidance and possible medication.

AIHCP offers a certification in ADHD Consulting for non clinical and clinical counselors who wish to upgrade their professional development.   The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.  Please review the program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.

Additional Resources 

“How to Stay Productive with ADHD”. Lebow, H. (2021). PsychCentral.  Access here

“Productivity Rules for ADHD Brains Stuck at Work”. Turis, S. (2022). ADDitude. Access here

“Hyperfocus and ADHD: Productivity Superpower or Kryptonite?”. Saline, S. (2022). Psychology Today. Access here

“ADHD at Work: 10 Tips for Thriving at the Office”. Chamlou, C. (2022). PsychCentral. Access here


Christian Counseling: Understanding Metaphysical Integration of Brain and Soul

Atheistic guided neuroscience has proudly proclaimed the death of the soul with advances of understanding how the brain operates and functions.  As DJ Dobbins in his article, “Does the Soul Exist” proclaimed, “There is nothing left for the soul to do (Dobbins, 2013)”.  It would seem with every emotion, abstract thought and “spiritual” function mapped out throughout the brain that the soul itself is an antiquated ideal.

What is the boundary between brain and soul? Is there one? Are they separate, integrated or merely a physical phenomenon.


Take into consideration the brain itself.  Within the amygdala, various emotional reactions related to fear and anger are monitored and controlled.  Within the hypothalamus, stress response triggers tied closely to pituitary gland are regulated giving the body its ability of fight or flight.  Within memory itself, the hippocampus creates and stores memory through a flash work of neurons and neurotransmitters creating a pattern of responses that correlate to abstract memory itself.  Upon the cerebral cortex, exist various lobes of the cortex that regulate further emotions, inhibitions, understanding, consciousness, memory and language.   Furthermore, neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine can greatly alter emotional moods based on excess or less amounts. What one is left with is an astounding explanation of many metaphysical attributes once solely thought as free of matter and scientific observation.  The intellect and the will, the hall mark classic identifiers of the soul, are left with material explanations that live and die with the functioning of the brain itself.

In fact, all moral behavior can be explained by brain function.  How can one sin or bear responsibility for damaged frontal lobes, mood disorders, or chemical reactions that affect thought and moral decisions.

Also, consider this.  If part of the brain is damaged, one can lose important information of one’s life.  Amnesia and dementia and physical injuries to the brain can alter identity and self through theft of oneself.  If part of one’s brain is altered, taken, or injured, personality and behavior can be greatly altered.  If the left and right hemisphere of the brain is divided, there can become two autonomous actions independent of each other.  So is the idea of the soul merely a mechanical action that exists and dies with the brain’s activity?

Reactions in defense of the soul

Dualism is the most common reaction to the atheistic neuroscience.  Dualistic ideals teach that the brain and soul operate simultaneously.  Rene’ Descartes believed that both the brain and soul operated in parallel of each other.  He properly dictated that something spiritual cannot be spiritual divided unlike the brain and hence the soul operates at a independent level.   Opponents point out that a dual consciousness can arise when the hemispheres of the brain are split.  What does this say of the soul they contend?

Others point out that the soul communicates through the brain.  The fullness of the soul exists independent of the brain but is manifested in the brain.  Of course, this is theological discourse, not scientific observation.

What type of soul?

When incorporating dualism it is important to understand one’s own definition of the soul.  Ideas of the soul and its connection with the body differ from traditions.  From a philosophical Platonic school of thought, the body is a temporal vessel of the soul.  In Buddhism and Hinduism, the soul travels from different material bodies through reincarnation.  In these religious and philosophical traditions, the importance of the body is regulated to a shell.  Hence once the soul escapes the body, what explains its consciousness if the body was just a shell but yet still produced such spiritual activity within its own very functioning?

The soul and the brain are intimately connected in Christian theology. Human nature is both body and soul


It is important in Christian Counseling to understand the human nature.

In Christian theology, the body and soul are inseparable .  Before the fall of Adam, the body and soul communicated perfectly.  Adam’s control of his passions and great intellect all pointed towards a body that worked perfectly with the soul in regards to balance of emotion.  Hence Adam’s brain operated at full capacity without defect.  Adam’s endocrine system did not create chemical imbalances.  His neurotransmitters did not create imbalances of serotonin or dopamine to create mood disorders.  In essence, his body was in complete harmony with his soul.

His soul in fact was never created prior to his body.  Unlike Platonic ideas of the soul,  Christian theology teaches that the soul and the body were made for each other.  Hence the intricacies of the brain operating and the soul operating are in many instances one mind.  The fact that metaphysical realties would manifest within matter are no surprise.  The brain, like an interpreter, is able to process abstract spiritual concepts and physically manifest them.  The partnership of the brain and soul is so intense that it is not truly even dualistic.   They were never intended to be separated.

It was the sin and fall of humanity that caused death.  Death, from a Christian standpoint, is an unnatural event.   It is the tearing of the soul from the body.  It is the cost of sin itself.

With the death of the broken body due to sin and its displaced spiritual component, one pays the price for the sin of Adam.  One’s entire life has been a struggle until that moment of death.  The body does not respond to the intellect and will perfectly, the body breaks down, the soul is open to passionate and uncontrolled inclinations.  Due to this temporal dysfunction within the the fallen world, death arrives.

A purely dualistic system of thought sees the soul as an independent rider of the bike that can be cast off the bike at death to exist independently, but the Christian system views the bike and its rider as one system. While the consciousness absorbed through temporal life exists beyond the death, it is through God that it incompletely still exists  awaiting judgement and the return of the body.   While the temporal connection was broken, one’s human nature was not completely corrupted on earth and still yearns the perfect reunion.  The body and soul were made for each other.

Christ’s Resurrection

Christ is the New Adam and hence it is only fitting through His resurrection, His Body was a glorified Body.  Christ was already perfect, but His Body on earth was still temporal despite the Divinity within Himself that allowed Him to perform miracles.  After His Resurrection, Christ’s Glorified Body was the body that is intended for all humanity.  Like Adam’s pre-fall body,  the soul has complete mastery of the body, but it is also glorified.  From Scripture, Christ can manifest differently with light and make it hard for individuals to know who He is.  Furthermore, He is able to transport from different areas, however, due to the wounds on His Hands, Side and Feet, it is clear it is the same Body that was crucified but transformed.

Christ’s glorified Body on earth showed the return of the body to the soul


Humanity will share in Christ’s Resurrection. Through Christ’s death, He conquered sin and through His Resurrection promises a full reunion of body and soul.  The temporary exile of the soul from the body is removed.  The body and soul then are reunited in a perfect way.  It is of no wonder then that the brain and soul are so close to each other.  It is natural that they exist side by side and work together in expressing a full human nature.

The Brain as a Metaphysical Organ and Partner of the Soul

While atheistic neurosciences see the brain as the soul from an only observational and empirical standpoint, they cannot philosophically deny possibility of a spiritual component within human nature.  The brain in itself is a metaphysical organ.  It translates spiritual emotion, thought and memory in a material code through the patterns of firing neurons.  Like the ability of radio waves to interpret human words on the radio, the brain and its certain components have the amazing ability to translate the soul.  The soul receives all information through the senses.  The branch of Epistemology or how humans gain knowledge can be divided into the concept of realism.  Within realism, knowledge is gained by the senses.  This was championed by St. Thomas Aquinas.  Hence the soul gains its primary knowledge from its surrounding areas via the senses.  The brain interprets and aids the soul in this material exploration.  Albeit imperfect in the temporal reality due to sin, the partnership still functions.

The brain hence is immersed within the soul and vice versa.  They were never intended to be separated at creation.   The brain is a partner of the soul and all its manifestations aid the soul in understanding reality.

“Proofs” of the Soul 

While the brain is not the soul itself but a partner intimately interwoven with it, the soul after the Fall, was deemed to be separated from the body.  Death is unnatural but the soul still exists beyond as conscious energy.  The amount of time one is separated from the body is not measured in minutes since time is no longer a player after death.  It could be seen like an instant upon the refusion of the soul and body upon where it will enter into its heavenly reward or hellish curse.  However, due to sin, the unnatural state of death kills the broken body and snatches an incomplete human’s soul into eternity without his/her body.

Yet, the conscious energy of the soul, albeit incomplete still has abilities to exist due to God’s plan to reunite it with the body. How this is accomplished is a matter of faith.  The immortality of the soul is a mystery that science cannot explain.  Yet one can see instances of the soul and its operations beyond its interwoven material expressions within the brain.

In Christianity, the notion of spiritual eyes and spiritual senses is well understood.  For instance, knowledge that is gained not through the physical senses explain a deeper existence beyond broken matter in this world.  While empirical science does not accept these ideals or looks for logical explanations, individuals, saints and mystics have all experienced out of body, mystical, and innate discourses that do not permeate from the senses.   For instance, beyond the natural REM dreaming, one can review prophetic dreams or communications.  In some cases, the senses can be utilized but in most cases, the subconscious void of sense perception is open to Divine or angelic communication.  In addition, many who experience Near Death Experience describe their surroundings in detail without seeing the surroundings with their own physical eyes which were closed and brain activity was comatose.   The spiritual eyes yet were able to see and then later recount the instance utilizing memory of the event from a spiritual source.

Moral Implications of Sin and Choice

It would be criminal not to at least react to atheistic neuroscience’s assault on moral theology.  If the brain and its chemical reactions account for all of reality, then how can one be accountable for sin or wrong?  If moods due to neurotransmitters are altered, or parts of the brain are altered or removed hence affecting behavior, how can the soul be a source of morality?

Of course, as stated, the manifestation of inhibitions, decisions,  and thoughts within the brain are clearly listed.  Morality is a complex system of biology, genetics, social norms and learned behavior.  Certain maladies do play a key role in altering behaviors.

For the Christian, it is understood there is a complex and intimate connection between the soul and body.  It is also understood due to the fall of Adam, there is a conflict between mind and flesh.  Due to sin, sickness and death exist as well.  Hence, in many, anti-social disorders, depression and other mood disorders, certain behaviors can manifest.  In fact, removing certain areas of the brain can have staggering effects on moral behavior.   This though in no way complicates the existence of the soul and its connection to the brain.  Again, Christians maintain a intimate relationship between the body and mind albeit a broken one.  Hence explanations for behavior from a purely neurological point are expected but they are not the sole source.

Christian moral theology takes into account mental maladies that reduce culpabilities of the agent committing the offense but conscience, morality and free choice in most cases still exist.  One is not programmed to sin and do evil.  It is through disease, broken nature, environment, and habitual vice that lead to many neuro factors that contribute to a mentally disturbed person as well.  The sickness of the brain that leads to immoral deeds is a sad story but one due to Original Sin.  It exists and plays a factor because the soul and brain are interwoven but it is not the only aspect of the story that dictates what someone is or not.


It is of no wonder to the Christian who understands the unity of human nature that the brain and soul closely are correlated.  While separate, they are still intimately interwoven so closely that manifestation of the spiritual is possible.  To atheistic neuroscience this may be hard core evidence that the functions of the brain are the soul but to the Christian it only reinforces the idea that the soul and body are meant to be together forever.  Unlike platonic and dualist ideals that view the body as the inferior partner or temporary shell, the Christian understands that only due to sin does this fallen temporal reality exist.  It is because of sin that the body and soul are not in complete unison and that elements of our body affect our soul and elements of our soul affect our body. It is with this understanding that the Christian can marvel how wonderfully created he/she truly is and how while sin scarred it temporarily, it will one day be completely and perfectly restored.  Human nature is both flesh and soul!

The brain and the soul are tied intimately together. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


Christian Counselors need to understand how the brain, its parts, and neurotransmitters play a role in moral action.  It is not a indictment against the existence of the soul but a manifestation of the innate partnership between the brain and soul.  Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.

Additional Readings :  Some articles are from an atheistic neuroscience stance and others support Christian belief of the soul. Others are merely educational

“The brain and memory: Understanding how the brain thinks”. NIH. (2022) Access here

“What Part of the Brain Controls Emotions?”. Paxinos, G.  (2018). Healthline.  Access here

“Does the Soul Exist? Evidence Says ‘Yes’”. Lanza, R, MD. (2011). Psychology Today.  Access here

“Why psychology lost its soul: everything comes from the brain”. Paxinos, G. (2016). The Conversation.  Access here

“Neuroscience and the Soul”. Hobson, A, MD. (2004). Dana Foundation.  Access here





Anger and Emotional Avoidance

Anger sometimes builds up within an individual.  One way anger can build is through emotional avoidance.  Whether the individual is avoiding one’s emotions or whether the individual is ignoring others, avoidance can cause a build up of anger and frustration.  When other emotions are not dealt with or recognized in others, it can lead to issues in how one reacts.  The vent up emotional energy finds it outlet via anger.

Emotional Avoidance can lead to anger issues. Please also review AIHCP’s Anger Management Consulting Certification


It is hence important to be more open with oneself and others regarding emotion , as well as, recognizing others emotional needs and not hiding from them.  Unfortunately avoidance is not always about being selfish but is usually due to a trauma where individuals are uncomfortable facing emotion.  Anger is hence a side effect of that neglect of emotional recognition.  The article,”How Emotional Avoidance Contributes to Anger” by Bernard Golden, PhD.  looks closer at how emotional avoidance can lead to anger.  He state regarding emotional avoidance that…

“It is then no surprise that we may be more vulnerable to tension and conflict within ourselves and have related irritability with others and ourselves. It is this irritability that can foster a propensity for anger arousal, anger that serves as a reaction to and distraction from such tension. It directs our attention outward, attributes responsibility to others, or may lead us to displace our anger toward others. In each instance, it moves us further away from true connection with and understanding of ourselves.”

Golden, B. (2023). How Emotional Avoidance Contributes to Anger.  Psychology Today.

To review the entire article, please click here


Golden further discusses various ways one can become less detached from one’s emotions and how to take a more conscious step towards recognizing them and also validating emotions in others.  In dealing with emotional avoidance and preventing anger, there are numerous ways to better become more in touch with oneself through mindfulness, journaling and finding someone within a circle of trust that one can share emotions with.

Understanding Emotional Avoidance

Emotional avoidance refers to the tendency to suppress or ignore our emotions rather than facing them head-on. It is a defense mechanism that many people employ to protect themselves from pain, discomfort, or vulnerability. However, while it may provide temporary relief, emotional avoidance can have serious long-term consequences for our mental health and overall well-being.  Long term anger issues can result by burying emotions.

The Impact of Emotional Avoidance on Mental Health

It is important to recognize and address emotions within oneself to avoid future stress, depression, anger and anxiety


Emotional avoidance can have a detrimental effect on our mental health. When we consistently avoid our emotions, they tend to build up and intensify over time. This can lead to increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and even physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches. Additionally, emotional avoidance prevents us from gaining insight into our own thoughts and feelings, hindering personal growth and self-awareness.

Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Avoidance

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of emotional avoidance is crucial in order to address and overcome this harmful pattern. Some common signs of emotional avoidance include excessive busyness or workaholism, substance abuse or addictive behaviors, chronic irritability or anger, and a general sense of emotional numbness or disconnection. If you find yourself constantly avoiding or suppressing your emotions, it is important to take a step back and evaluate the impact this may be having on your overall well-being.

The Dangers of Suppressing Emotions

Suppressing or bottling up our emotions may seem like a convenient way to avoid discomfort. However, the long-term consequences can be severe. When we suppress our emotions, they don’t simply disappear; instead, they linger beneath the surface, affecting our thoughts, behaviors, and relationships. Suppressing emotions can lead to increased stress levels, decreased immune function, and a higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.  Anger can also over time build up when emotions are not properly handled and addressed. It is essential to recognize the dangers of emotional suppression and take proactive steps to address our emotions in a healthy and constructive manner.

The Benefits of Confronting Emotions

Those who avoid emotions and the emotions of others eventually feel issues of anger from within


While confronting our emotions may initially seem daunting, it is a necessary step towards personal growth and well-being. When we confront our emotions, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our needs. This self-awareness allows us to make better decisions, form healthier relationships, and cultivate a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness. Additionally, confronting our emotions provides an opportunity for healing and growth, allowing us to process past traumas and move forward with a renewed sense of purpose and resilience.

Techniques for Confronting and Processing Emotions

Confronting and processing emotions can be challenging, but there are various techniques that can help facilitate this important work. One effective technique is journaling, where you can express and explore your emotions in a safe and non-judgmental space. Another technique is mindfulness, which involves being fully present and accepting of your emotions without judgment. This allows you to observe and acknowledge your emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them. Seeking support from trusted friends, family members, or a therapist can also provide valuable guidance and perspective as you navigate your emotional journey.

Overcoming the Fear of Facing Emotions

Many individuals avoid confronting their emotions out of fear. The fear of being overwhelmed, judged, or rejected can be powerful barriers to emotional healing. However, it is important to remember that emotions are a natural part of the human experience, and suppressing them only prolongs our suffering. Overcoming the fear of facing emotions involves challenging negative beliefs and adopting a compassionate and nurturing mindset towards ourselves. It may also be helpful to seek professional help or join support groups where you can connect with others who are going through similar experiences.

Seeking Professional Help for Emotional Avoidance

If emotional avoidance has become deeply ingrained and is significantly impacting your daily life, seeking professional help can be a crucial step towards healing. A therapist or counselor can provide guidance and support as you navigate your emotional journey. They can help you identify underlying patterns and beliefs that contribute to emotional avoidance and provide you with effective strategies for confronting and processing your emotions in a healthy and constructive manner. Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but rather a courageous step towards self-improvement and well-being.  Anger Management Consultants can also help with any anger issues relating from emotional avoidance.

Creating a Healthy Emotional Well-being Routine

In addition to seeking professional help, creating a healthy emotional well-being routine can greatly support your journey towards confronting and processing your emotions. This routine may include activities such as regular exercise, practicing mindfulness or meditation, engaging in hobbies or creative outlets, and prioritizing self-care. It is important to find what works best for you and to make these practices a consistent part of your daily life. By nurturing your emotional well-being, you are investing in your overall happiness and long-term mental health.

Conclusion: Embracing Emotions for a Happier and Healthier Life

In conclusion, emotional avoidance may provide temporary relief, but it ultimately hinders our personal growth and well-being. By confronting and processing our emotions, we gain insight, resilience, and a greater capacity for joy and fulfillment. It is essential to recognize the signs of emotional avoidance, understand the dangers of suppressing our emotions, and take proactive steps towards embracing and processing our emotions in a healthy and constructive manner. Remember, seeking professional help and creating a healthy emotional well-being routine are vital components of this journey. By prioritizing our emotional well-being, we can live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.

Anger Management Consultants can help individuals face emotions and also deal with undealt with anger


CTA: If you find yourself struggling with emotional avoidance, reach out to a therapist or counselor who can provide the support and guidance you need on your journey towards emotional well-being. Remember, you deserve to live a life that is not defined by avoidance, but rather by courage and self-discovery.

Anger Management Consultants can also help individuals face anger issues resulting from emotional avoidance.  Please review AIHCP’s Anger Management Consultant 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 Anger Management Consulting.


Additional Readings

“Repressed Anger and Emotional Avoidance: 5 Ways to Find the Positive in Negative Emotion”. Riddle, J. (2019). Psycom.  Access here

“8 Ways People Avoid Their Emotions”. Boyes, A. (2021) Psychology Today.  Access here

“5 Symptoms of Repressed Anger”. Lo, I. (2022). Psychology Today.  Access here

“Repressing Emotions: 10 Ways to Reduce Emotional Avoidance”. Attard. A. (2020).  Access here

The Conflicting Emotions of Anticipatory Grief and Ambiguous Grief

When loss is less definite but lingering in the balance, one can begin to feel like life is a fog and one is living with a ghost.  This is very common with family and friends of the terminally ill.  The sentence has been passed and the loss is being experienced but it has yet to occur.  This type of anticipatory grief can cause confusion and create obstacles in loving the person who is still alive.  Instead of appreciating what time is left, one mentally is thinking of the funeral and the tomb.  This prevents the few joys that remain and the beautiful conversations that still can be shared.   In addition, this can later lead to complications of the loss after it occurs, as one may feel guilt over the final days.  Others may feel relief that the state of limbo is over but still feel guilty for feeling relief.  Many times Grief Counselors are needed to help individuals through the crisis.

Anticipatory grief is grief before the loss. It is anticipatory in many ways. It mourns the loss and fears the loss.

Anticipatory grief happens to many individuals and while it is natural during trying and stressful times, individuals must be alert enough to understand the presence and better able to navigate.  Primary caregivers, such as spouses, face caregiver burnout during this time.  They are not able to mourn or feel happiness, but instead deal with a magnitude of emotions.  Resentment, mental fatigue, grief, and guilt can all occur.  After the actual death, many primary caregivers feel a relief.  This is especially true of loved ones who no longer could communicate or barely function.

Ambiguous grief can be very similar to Anticipatory in that usually also deals with terminally ill but in most of these cases the loved one is no longer physically or mentally present.  So in many ways both griefs can exist.  However, there is no true way to find complete closure.  This is also the case with loved ones who are lost in war or go missing.  The individual is unable to find complete closure.

The article, “When There’s No Hallmark Card for Your Grief”. by Jessica Fein looks closer at ambiguous grief.   As the title describes, without closure or a loss event, there are no condolence cards because the death has yet to occur but nonetheless the grieving individual is experiencing and expecting a loss at the same time.   This type of confusion causes many conflicting emotions.  The article states,

“Coined by therapist Dr. Pauline Boss in the 1970s, ambiguous grief means mourning the loss of someone who hasn’t died but is no longer physically present or mentally present. In the former, your loved one might have gone missing in war, for example. In the latter, your loved one might be suffering from dementia or drug addiction or, as in my daughter’s case, a degenerative disease that slowly took away her ability to communicate. With ambiguous grief, there’s no closure because the grieving remains unresolved.”

“When There’s No Hallmark Card for Your Grief”. Jessica Fein.  March 9th, 2023.  Psychology Today.

To access the entire article, please click here


Anticipatory as well as Ambiguous grief causes many conflicting emotions as stated.  It is a place of limbo.  The loss itself is has yet to occur but it has been declared.  This can cause early reactions to loss or force individuals into a isolation and numb mode of existence.  The individual awaits the impending death sentence.  The issue at hand is the loss has yet to occur and time remains to experience love with the terminally ill person.

This can cause multiple emotions.  Grief Counselors can help individuals sort out the meaning of many of these emotions.

Anticipatory Grief

In regards to relief, many find a relief for a loved one who finally passes.  Seeing a loved one become more ill and less capable makes seeing the existence of the loved one more painful.  In many cases, individuals hope for the end.  As ironic as this is, the fear of the loss has been lessened by the pain and suffering of the loved one.  This in turn can cause relief in the actual death.  This relief can also be felt by those who have expended excessive energy in care of the loved one.  For some the experience of this relief can be an anchor of guilt.  Grief Counselors can help individuals see that this relief is natural and acceptable and that one should experience guilt.

In addition to relief, others may feel guilt based upon how they interacted with the loved one while the deceased was still alive.  They may regret their isolation or lack of communication due to their ambiguous grief.  They may feel like they needed to be there more for the loved one.  They may also feel guilt for during those times, seeking to enjoy life itself.  These types of guilt are very common with long drawn out terminal illnesses.  The person after the death begins to analyze every thing he or she did or do not do.  This analyzation can cause distress and complicate the loss itself.  It is important to identify this type of guilt in grief counseling and dispel it.

Ambiguous Grief

Ambiguous grief has some elements of anticipatory grief in it but it also lacks closure in itself. There is no closure in the loss due to the medical condition or absence of the person


In regards to ambiguous grief, the lack of closure is decided due to the terminal illness not the individual who cares about the person.  The person is mentally or physically incapable of discussion or resembling who he or she once was.  This leads to a another type of limbo.  In addition, ambiguous grief can also affect individuals who lose loved ones to war or those who go missing.  There is no closure.

The inability to communicate to a ill loved one or say a coherent goodbye, or never to know where a loved one is who has been displaced or assumed dead at war are painful events that can impede healing and also rise to complications in the grieving process.  In relation to those who are missing, there is a torturing decision between abandoning hope and accepting loss.  One cannot simply dismiss the emptiness but one is tortured with doubt about what happened?  Nightmares can haunt these individuals.

The viciousness of this type of grief prevents healing and closure, it permits a constant torture between hope and despair.  The survivor is subjugated to perpetual suffering.  Many feel the need to find hope that someone will awaken from a coma, or return home from missing.  Others contribute to causes that reflect the nature of their loss.  Yet, the splinter of hope that one will return always exists and this in turn leaves the grief wound constantly open.

Some experience guilt in ever experiencing happiness again after a loss of a loved one.  Others feel guilty for losing hope and giving into despair.  There is a definite feeling of helplessness and this contributes to the prolonged and complications of grief itself.


AICHP offers a certification in Grief Counseling for qualified professionals. The program is independent study and online.


Both anticipatory grief and ambiguous grief can cause complications and prolonged grief.  Ambiguous grief though is far more toxic because in all cases there is no resolution or closure which leaves a permanent emptiness.  Individuals can keep hope, if they need it, but ultimately the unknow and ambiguity haunts the survivor.   Finding causes or promoting social awareness to issues surrounding the issue may help give purpose but the grief wound cannot heal without concrete closure. With this in mind, emotions such as guilt, helplessness and utter despair can dominate.

Anticipatory grief offers closure but closure can become more difficult due to how one handled the terminal illness prior to the death.  Hence emotions of guilt and relief are very common.  Anticipatory grief can exist in ambiguity as well as one awaits impending news.  Relief of knowing whether one is alive or dead can equally confusing when the bad news does finally arrive.

Grief Counselors can help with the loss but in most cases a licensed counselors are needed to offer deeper form of cognitive grief therapies to help individuals cope from prolonged grief due to the complications found in both of these types of losses.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification 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.


Additional Resources

Locked in grief: a qualitative study of grief among family members of missing persons in southern Sri Lanka. Amila Isuru,  Padmakumara Bandumithra & S. S. Williams.  BMC Psychology volume 9, Article number: 167 (2021). BMC Psychology. Access here

“The Pain of Grieving for a Missing Person”. María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez. December 21st, 2022. Exploring Your Mind.  Access here

“Coping With Not Knowing What Happened to a Missing Loved One”. Raj Persaud, M.D. and Peter Bruggen, M.D.  June 17th, 2017. Psychology Today.  Access here

“What Is Anticipatory Grief?”. Cynthia Vinney.  November 10th, 2021. VeryWellMind. Access here

“Anticipatory Grief: Are You Mourning Before a Loss?”. Hillary Lebow. January 7th, 2022.  PsychCentral.  Access here

“Grieving Before A Death: Understanding Anticipatory Grief”. Litsa Williams. What’s Your Grief.  Access here