Grief Counseling Certification Blog on Depression and Diagnosis/Treatment Obstacles

Individuals with Major Depressive Disorder have more to deal with other issues than just the symptoms.  There are numerous steps and follow ups and other administrative issues to deal with even before they can receive treatment itself.  It can take a little time before everything is set up and a plan of action is ready to be utilized.  Numerous obstacles can make it difficult for some to even get a proper diagnosis and treatment.  This is unfortunate situation for many suffering with depression.

Administrative and insurance issues can cause lack of treatment for many suffering from depression. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification


The article, “Top 8 Issues in Major Depressive Disorder” by Sidney Zisook takes a closer look at issues regarding diagnosis and the process of dealing with depression from a professional standpoint.  She states,



“In summary, while there has been an explosion of knowledge in the neuroscientific basis of mental disorders, genomics, neuroimaging and neuropsychology, there remains considerable room for growth in the way we provide equitable access to evidence-based treatments; define and diagnose MDD; create evidence-informed first- and next-step, personalized treatment decisions; conceptualize TRD and consider replacing or supplementing it with DTD; develop novel interventions that provide options for better tolerated, more effective, more sustainable treatments; and more effectively train future clinicians to competently employ a broader spectrum of evidence-based treatments than the current norm; and shift the culture of medicine to one that prioritizes optimizing our own wellness and mental health.”

To read the entire article, please click here

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

Forensic Nursing Certification Blog on SANE Nursing

Interesting and closer look at the job and work of a SANE nurse.  SANE nurses play an important role in helping sexually assaulted victims find justice through immediate care and collection of evidence.  SANE nurses are excellent candidates for Forensic Nursing Certification.

SANE nurses make excellent candidates for Forensic Nurses. Please also review AIHCP’s Forensic Nursing Certification


The article, “What it’s Like To Work as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)” by Chaunie Brusie takes a closer look at the importance of SANE nurses.  She states,

“On top of the injustices she sees for victims, Helmbrecht adds that she struggles with battling common assumptions the general public has about sexual assault and domestic violence. For instance, comments like, “Why don’t they just leave if the abuse is so bad?” blame the victim and overlook the reality that the most dangerous time for a victim of intimate partner violence is when a decision has been made to leave. ”

To review the entire article, please click here


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


Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Alien Life and Alien Encounter

Within Christianity, the belief that God created two sentient type of creatures, namely angels and humans is universal.   By sentient, one infers that an individual is made in the image and likeness of God in that the individual or species has an intellect and will that can reason beyond physical problems but actually acknowledge the issue of existence itself.  In this understanding of to exist or not to exist, sentience allows one to truly understand good and evil and to also contemplate a higher power.

This is far more than mere solving of puzzles as one can see in primates or dolphins, but realizing the very essence of “to be or not to be”.   Despite the intelligence of many animals and emotional ranges, animals such as primates or dolphins do not write about existence itself.   Animals merely exist.  Abstract concepts of existence itself and the choice to adhere or not adhere to moral principles are of a higher cognitive level, which is referred to sentience.   Sentience makes one made in the image and likeness of God.  It gives one knowledge, choice, and self awareness.  It is spiritual in nature, but many  non sentient things can have spirit, but it is the spiritual qualities of humanity and the angels that make them separate from other creation.

Is one to conclude then that only angels and human beings are sentient?  From observation, no other creature on Earth possesses the qualities of sentience.  While many creatures on Earth display amazing intelligence, they do not illustrate sentience.  As a Christian, is it then fair to say only human beings and angels are sentient?

While it has yet to be proven or at least acknowledged, the limitless nature of the universe ultimately has other life.  Is some of this life sentient?  One cannot answer but one cannot also limit God’s creative power to the creation of other sentient life forms.   With the creation of other sentient life forms as a possibility, speculative theology looks at the role of Christ and His redemptive act coincides with other alien sentient beings.

The cosmos is so vast that we cannot limit God’s creation.


Once asked regarding what he would do if he met an alien, Pope Francis said he would offer baptism and the message of Christ.  This point may very well be true, but the appearance of another sentient life form offers many challenges and questions to Christian theology.   For some, aliens offer no crisis of faith to the Christian, while to others, it may very well make them doubt the universal importance of humanity in the cosmos and reduce the Christian faith to just a religion of a particular planet.

I would like to point out a few ideas that may reassure believing Christians that alien life is not necessarily detrimental to the message of Christ.  In fact, Christian theology can exist side by with other sentient life.

First, humanity exists within a temporal and fallen sphere.  Hence due to the sin of Adam, humanity fell from the grace of God and the protection of the Garden of Eden.  Humanity was thrust into a world of suffering, death and loss.   It is possible, that other sentient life has been created before and could be created after humanity.  Would this sentient form of life be immune from the sin of Adam since they are not human?  Angels and humanity were judged separately.  So if sentient life does exist in the universe, it could very well be immune from the temporal fall.  They very well may have “passed” their test.  If not,  did this form of sentient life also incur the sin of Adam or their “own sin”.   In this case, one of two options emerge.  First, Christ’s death was for all temporal existence, or Christ’s death was just for humanity, and the Trinity has other plans for the redemption of other fallen sentient beings.

Second, other sentient life forms will have a different form of revelation.  Revelation via scripture is for humanity and through the special incarnation of the Son.  Alien life may have a very different form of revelation.  This does not mean it is a false creed, but a different form of revelation from the Trinity.  It would be difficult to determine if the alien life adhered to a false creed or the universal creed found via the Trinity.  It would take investigation.   Aliens could also very well be atheistic.  One merely needs to look at the variety of false “isms” on Earth.  A larger collection of false “isms” could exist in other sentient cultures as well.

What do we make of alien encounters? Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification


Hence the existence of aliens does not harm the faith of a Christian, but in fact opens one to the potential larger plan of God.  It again is only speculative but theologians should be prepared to try to re-evaluate Christianity under the lens of the possibility of alien life and how the faith would respond to such an event.

An important aspect to note.  One philosophy which has many heretical aspects are the ancient alien theories when applied to Scripture.  Assuming interventions and stories about God and angels were in actuality an alien encounter.  When these stories in Scripture are interpreted by ancient alien theories to dismiss the supernatural and replace it with the paranormal, Christians must dismiss those notions.  Did aliens appear in the past?  It is possible, but such stories cannot be used to confuse God’s communication with humanity with paranormal speculation.

As for those who are faced with alien encounters, counseling, especially Christian Counseling must approach the individual carefully.  The individual may be psychotic, on drugs, or not mentally well.  This is why it is important to refer anyone with such encounters to a professional counselor who can better attest if someone is suffering from delusion or a true event.

In such events as well, Christian theology teaches the possibility of demonic influence under the guise of alien presence.   Under such theories, the alien presence shares false ideas that weaken the faith, or push the faithful to doubt the importance of Christ.  Obviously it is very difficult to ascertain what is occurring to the individual when paranormal or supernatural events occur and this is why it is important to refer an individual to appropriate mental health professionals.

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.




Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on Spiritual Care of Patient

Spirituality is part of everyone.  The whole person, mental and physical.  While spirituality is more individual than social, many doctors do not give the holistic care to the entire being of the patient.  Doctor sometimes focus more on the body, recovery and failure based on life or death.  Many times the pastoral and spiritual issues are not identified.  The patient has multiple needs and even for the non religious, many have spiritual needs or at least spiritual acknowledgement during grief and loss during care.

Many patients would like a more pastoral approach in healthcare. Please also review AIHCP’s Pastoral Thanatology Certification


The article, “Does spirituality belong at the doctor’s office?” by Jen Rose Smith takes a closer look for the need of pastoral and spiritual care of patients.  She states,

“In fact, many patients would like to discuss spiritual matters with their health care providers: One study found that 83% of patients want physicians to ask about their spiritual beliefs, especially when they’re facing life-threatening illness, serious medical conditions and bereavement. “A high percentage of people, if they’re in the hospital for a physical illness, would like to talk to their physician about spiritual matters and have a conversation,” said Dr. John Graham, president and CEO of the Institute for Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center, a cosponsor of this month’s conference.”
To read the entire article, please click here
Please also review AIHCP’s Pastoral Thanatology 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 Pastoral Thanatology

Grief Counseling Certification Blog on the Necessity of Mourning

Grief is part of  life.  As long as love and loss exist, grief will exist.  The process of grief is an important part of growing and adjusting.  It is not something that is to be rushed, ignored, or not valued.  While it is an unpleasant part of life, the grieving process helps one heal and learn to live and adjust to the loss.  Grief does not go away but one learns to live with it and the body and the mind must go through the process of grieving to properly adjust.

Grieving is a natural part of life. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your goals


The article, “Feeling Pressure to Grow from Grief” from “What’s Your Grief” takes a closer look at the importance of the grieving process.  The article states,

“What can be missed is recognizing grief as a handbrake for the motion of life. It is an important and natural evolutionary force telling you to let yourself be, to sit, to grieve, to mourn. This leap to meaning can be an attempt to bypass the reality of loss.”

To review the entire article, please click here

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

Holistic and Integrative Specialist Program Blog on Holistic Therapy

Holistic approaches to health include an entire mind and body approach.  These approaches look for less intrusive ways to resolve health issues both acute and chronic.  Holistic psychotherapy is another type of holistic care that looks to help individuals overcome trauma and anxiety

Holistic therapies treat the whole person. Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Specialist Program


The article, “What Is Holistic Psychotherapy?” by Ashley Olivine looks closer at the nature of Holistic psychotherapy and how it works.  She states,

“Holistic psychotherapy is a type of talk therapy that is based on the ideas of holistic psychology that the biological, psychological, and sociocultural components of each person come together to form the whole person. With this approach, all areas of a person and their life are considered and treated together.  The idea behind this humanistic approach is that the individual pieces that make up each person cannot be separated. The holistic mind-body relationship includes the physical body interacting with the external environment, and the role of the brain in processing and interacting with the physical body and external environment.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Specialist Program.  Qualified nurses and healthcare professionals can earn a four year certification by completing the required independent study courses.  The program is online and open enrollment.


Spiritual Counseling Certification Blog on Spirituality and Health

Spirituality and a healthy life style coincide.   Many who do not have a faith or religion may seem skeptical but the reality is when one places merit in a higher system beyond oneself, then one can find a variety of physical, emotional and spiritual benefits.  Those who belong to a religion, or aspire to a certain individual spiritual path all can find the same benefits for overall health.  Even those who follow no creed or spirituality can find value if they place themselves under a code or meaning of life itself.   However, in this blog, we will only deal with spirituality itself.

In defining spirituality, this blog defines it as a personal and individual journey of any type of faith or metaphysical belief.  Those who are also religious and follow a code also have their own unique spirituality but are also religious in nature.  Religious individuals may not be very spiritual but socially active in their church or community or they may be very spiritually privately and also very religious and faithful to an established dogmatic code.   All of these religious and spiritual journeys while unique all aid in a better out look in life itself and can help with physical, mental and emotional help.  Some individuals may be only spiritual or religious, while others may possess both, but ultimately, the tying to a higher belief system beyond oneself has multiple benefits.

Spirituality is an important factor to health. Please also review AIHCP’s Spiritual Counseling Certification


Frankl, a holocaust survivor remarked that suffering without meaning is unbearable, but once meaning is given, suffering can transcend.  In such a fallen world, meaning is given to suffering when one is spiritual or connects to a code higher than oneself.  Erick Erickson also emphasized the importance of spiritual development as a step in life as well its importance with dying.  Those dying who attribute to a higher end than themselves can find more meaning in their suffering, as well as can activate within the body, the ability to heal itself in some cases.  Recovery itself has a greater ability to occur.  This is not to dismiss true miracles, but there is a true mental connection between mind and body for those with positive mindsets and their ultimate recovery.

Spirituality and overall health are deeply connected not only when sick but throughout life itself.  The connection to a higher code or higher being or deeper connection can be very beneficial for people on many fronts.

On the outset, a higher meaning in something, leads to a better out look on life.   Behind life is meaning and that meaning can guide one spiritually in understanding reality.  Greater happiness and peace can come to individuals who have a paradigm structure of existence.  Although those paradigms can be challenged when disaster strikes and cause world view challenges, many fall back on their faith, beliefs, or spirituality and find solace.   Hence, spirituality is able to help individuals be more happy with life itself due to an overall direction and understanding of it, as well as a system to deal with stressors and problems.

For many, this spirituality enhances social connections and helps one improve existing relationships.  Spirituality helps one see the needs of others and enhances compassion and gratitude in life.  It helps prevent selfishness and self absorption and focuses on creating an overall balance in life.  This naturally leads to a multitude of life long benefits.

The immune system is strengthened when one exists in a positive mindset.  While multiple factors play into health, one aspect is spirituality.  The body is better able to function when in higher spirits and able to recover and heal.  Meditation and mindfulness are all spiritual practices that can ease the body and allow the immune system to function without additional strain and also release the necessary hormones for self healing.

Spirituality can also help prevent possible depression.  With deeper connections in life, one is more attune with self and balanced.  Hence spirituality can help prevent or minimize depression.  It can also help one who is experiencing depression.  Again many factors come into play, but the positive nature of spiritual life can be critical to mental health.

A connection to something-whether deity, belief, social view or type of paradigm is important to life meaning and also health itself


Obviously spiritual people or individuals at least connected to a higher code than themselves have a unique way to view the world and understand it.  The importance is not so much whether the world view is correct or incorrect but that the person believes it.  This belief has potential to unlock various healing abilities in the body as well as help the person face everyday problems.   Everyone experiences stress but how one deals and copes with stress is key.  Spiritual individuals have a better success rate of dealing with stress due to world view and belief.  This in turn leads to a calmer life that does not activate the body’s stress response.  With the body not in fight or flight mode or experiencing chronic stress, there are better healthy outcomes in regards to sleep, heart health, and blood pressure.  Stress kills but spirituality can limit the dangerous effects of unneeded stress.

While there are numerous factors to health itself, one cannot dismiss the importance of spirituality and merely toss it to the side.  Life meaning is key to direction in life and maintaining an overall balance in life itself. Connection to something more than oneself and its benefits are no secret.   For the most part, a healthy spiritual life or connection to something bigger than oneself is essential for a better world view and healthier physical, mental and emotional life.

Please also review AIHCP’s Spiritual 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 Spiritual Counseling.

AIHCP also offers a Christian Counseling Certification.


Related links to spirituality and health

5 Physical Health Benefits of Spirituality” by Rachelle Williams.

The role of spirituality in health care” by Christina Puchalski


Grief Counseling Certification on Grief and School Shootings

School shootings are a parent’s and community’s worst nightmare.  Unfortunately, the wave of these national tragedies continue to rise and answers are still yet to be found on how to stop the senseless killing of children and teachers in schools due to mentally unstable individuals with guns.

The facts are alarming.  The “Sandy Hook Promise” organization lists a variety of horrific gun and children related facts.  Overall, each day 8 children die from gun violence and are the leading cause of death for children and teens.    Unfortunately, despite the alarming number of school shootings, many could be avoided.  In 4 out of every 5 shootings, at least one person knew beforehand or could have prevented it through proper vigilance and acknowledgement of the warning signs.  Many of the attackers showed signs in the weeks before the attack with as many as 75 percent of individuals noticing the alarming and threatening behaviors.  Finally, 68 percent of the time, most of the firearms were taken from the home due to improper storage of the weapon or parents did not believe the child knew where the gun was stored.

School shootings are a national pandemic that causes intense grief to parents, families, students, teachers and communities


This leads to two alarming trends.  First mental health and second gun safety and laws.   Better mental health care is required for youth as well as facilities to care for those exhibiting abuse, drug use as well as bullying.  Secondly, better gun control laws without restricting freedoms need to be in place to protect children and schools.  Yet, with political tug of war in Washington, little traction has been made, much less real solutions due to extremes that cannot reach common sense solutions.

The frightening reality is that shootings occur, children die and families deal with immense grief.  Grief Counseling and trained grief counselors has risen due to these traumatic events.  Families and victims need counseling from professional counselors, as well as certified grief counselors who can help with the local school district in helping teachers, staff, families and students with their grief and its processing.

In understanding a school shooting and its impact, it needs to be clearly classified as a traumatic event.  PTSD is definitely a possible short term and long term lingering effect on many students and staff.  This is especially made worst, since it was a human caused evil that baffles all logic and sense.  Individuals are left with survival guilt, death imprint and imaging that is difficult to be associated into the mind due to the extreme graphic visuals.

Traumatic events can trigger PTSD and complicated grief such as depression. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Training


In counseling, all of these issues will be difficult to address and many may seek avoidance but the incident will continue to haunt.  Until the loss and trauma is discussed in a healthy way, then and only then can grief healing take place.   Following this though is the grieving process itself which can lead to complicated grief itself and depression due to the horrific nature.

Parents losing children, classmates losing friends, teachers losing students and communities being scattered suffer both individual and collective grief at various levels.  All parties need help in processing the loss and caring for each other in healing and preventing anyone from being left behind.   Support groups, individual counseling and helping others adjust to life after such a horrific event are parts of dealing with the crisis and part of the process of grief counseling.

Memorials, remembrance, social action and community outreach can help some heal, but the scars will always remain visible and apparent.  Sandy Hook is only one sad reminder of these events in recent American history and continue to haunt so many more.

As grief counselors, it is not the purpose necessarily to find answers because there are no true answers to complete evil and trauma.  Instead, it is the purpose to help others overcome trauma and find some balance in life.  To try to help the loss find a place in the narrative of a person’s life and where that person will go in the future.  Such tragic grief and loss usually does not end well though and it should not because it is so horrific, evil and traumatic.  Love has been uprooted and painful loss inserted.   It is a life long practice to learn to cope with the loss that will forever haunt everyone involved in such needless chaos.

Learning to help those through such difficult events is a process for qualified professionals.  Grief even traumatic grief is unique and every student or teacher will react and recover within their own paradigms.  Some may be prone to PTSD, while others will deal with naturally grieving and process it.  Others may be extremely guilty and have more vivid death imprints.  Others will be traumatized more due to relationships that were deeper.  This involves a long process of vetting, questions and determinations to see who is highest risk to PTSD and complicated grief reactions.

If you would like to learn more about Grief Counseling or would like to become a certified Grief Counselor then please review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.


Grief Counseling Courses Video on Anticipatory Grief

Grieving over something that has not yet occurred is referred to as Anticipatory Grief.  When someone is terminal and dying, Anticipatory Grief is common as one grieves the event before it occurs.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Courses and see if they meet your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals looking for a four year certification in Grief Counseling


Please review the video below

Grief Counseling Certification Video on Social Grief

When national tragedies or disasters occur, the nation as a whole can grief.  Social reactions to loss that collectively affect the majority can negatively affect larger populations.  Social grief is a reality for many who experience grief at a collective level.

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