Still a mother: Parenting after a child has died

The heart is big enough to hold both the love and the loss.

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Losing a child can be heartbreaking,  Your forever a mother.  Please review our certification in grief counseling
Losing a child can be heartbreaking, Your forever a mother. Please review our certification in grief counseling

Great article about losing a child and how mothers can feel who lose a child but are forever a mother.

Please also review our grief counseling program to see if you would like to become a certified grief counselor.  If qualified you could start helping others with a certification in grief counseling


Certification in Grief Counseling: Feelings of grief, loss can be strong during holidays

The article, “Feelings of grief, loss can be strong during holidays”, by Kim Miller states

“Often facing holidays can make existing grief from a recent loss feel heavier; the holidays can make distant grief come bubbling to the surface; chances are if you have lost”

American Institute Health Care Professionals‘s insight:

Holiday grief is a serious issue for many who lost a loved one.  Especially, the first Christmas or New Year without a loved one.  It is natural to grieve and grief counselors should encourage this.

Grief counselors should also prepare their clients for this time of year and to remember to let them to grieve.  It is important that many family members are alone or suffer greatly during this time of year.

New traditions are also important in how they may commerorate the loss of a loved one.  Families can decide which traditions are best suited for them.  Maybe an ornament for the particular loved one for the Christmas Tree, or a special candle during Hanukkah.

If you are interested in grief counseling, then please review the program.  After completion of grief counseling courses, the professional is eligible for certification in grief counseling.  The certification in grief counseling lasts three years upon which it is renewed.


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Certification in Grief Counseling: A Case for Watching Time of Death

The article, “A Case for Watching Time of Death”, by Rev. Dr. Martha R. Jacobs

“We don’t always have the luxury of being able to manage our death, but there are options other than aggressive treatment that may be more appropriate for us — depending on whether quality of life or quantity of life is more important to us.”

American Institute Health Care Professionals‘s insight:

Certification in Grief Counseling

This is a good blog to remind people of the importance of not avoiding the topic of death with our loved ones.  These are themes and questions that cannot be answered after they are gone and in some cases, not comfortable conversation when the person is sick or terminally ill.

A heatlhy respect for death teaches us that we live today and should do what is needed.  Grief counselors encourage a healthy discussion of death among family members.  When we have a morbid phobia of death, it can cause problems later.

The blogger encourages people to watch “Time Of Death”, a documentary about this subject to help open up people and their eyes to the reality of death for themselves and their loved ones.

If you would like to take grief counseling courses, then please review the site and blog.  Overall, there are four courses in the grief counseling program.  After completion of those courses, a qualified professional is eligible for certification in grief counseling. If you have any questions, please let us know.


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Certification in Grief Counseling: My Life’s Reflection

The American Academy of Grief Counseling is pleased to announce that an Advisory Board member and certified grief counselor, Samantha A. Bechtel MSSA, LISW has had a book published titled “My Life’s Reflection: A Life Review Workbook,” by Tate Publishing. Her co-author is Alicia M. Bogard MSW, LISW.
Professor Richard Groves writes about the book:

“My Life’s Reflection is a valuable resource that deals with some of life’s most challenging times and experiences. The authors clearly write with profound heart and clear insight because of the experience they have had working with hospice patients and their families. Here is a user friendly workbook that is sensitive and accessible.”

To learn more about this compelling book and to purchase it online, you may access information: click here
If you are interested in learning more about our certification in grief counseling then please review the program.

Greatest Grief: The Loss of A Child

Loss of a Child and a Certification in Grief Counseling

Within the circles of debate of emotional pain due to loss, many have speculated, and probably correctly, that the most intense emotional loss one can experience is the loss of one’s child.  The ingredients for it are already present: Extreme attachment and an unnatural and unexpected event.
First, the attachment of a parent to a child is unequaled.  Evolutionarily speaking, the drive for one to propagate and replicate one’s genetic DNA is a natural drive.  In nature, the drive to protect one’s offspring is apparent.  So at the first level, at the most instinctive levels of consciousness, one bonds with a child.  Add to the fact that humanity is a rational and sentient species, then one can understand an even deeper attachment with one’s offspring.  A spiritual connection develops and an intimate bond of nourishing and care forms between parent and child.  The child’s first breath, sight, touch, word and movement is all intimately documented by the parent.  This attachment while beautiful and good is also extremely fragile if broken.  It is the ironic cosmic paradox of the universe: one can gain love but lose it.  The greater the attachment, the greater the reaction to the loss of it- And there is no greater attachment than a parent-child bond.
Secondly, the loss of a child transgresses the natural order of life.  A parent is meant to guide and watch the child grow into adulthood.  As the parent ages, the son or daughter ironically then becomes the caretaker of the parent.  Ultimately, children bury their parents, parents usually do not bury their children.  This is especially harder on parents of children whose child dies in his or her youth, but the experience of pain is also great for parents who lose adult offspring .  In addition to this, as in any loss, the traumatic nature of the event may also play roles in the pain of a parent, while also the situation of the parent.  Is the parent older, alone, or financially dependent?

The Pieta depicts the anguish and pain of a mother holding the body of her dead son, in this case, Mary and Jesus  Also consider earning a certification in grief counseling
The Pieta depicts the anguish and pain of a mother holding the body of her dead son, in this case, Mary and Jesus Also consider earning a certification in grief counseling
There is no doubt that the loss of a child is a devastating loss.  From tradition, one can merely look at the Pieta which ironically beautifully captures the essence of anguish a parent can experience at the loss of a child.
If you are interested in Grief Counseling Education, please review the program. The Program in Grief Counseling Education is an excellent way for qualified professionals to earn a certification in grief counseling.  A certification in grief counseling can be an excellent way to help others grieve the loss of a child.  Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C

Certification In Grief Counseling and Models of Grief

Grief Counseling and the Models of Grief

As a grief counselor , a pastoral thanatologist , or a spiritual counselor one should be aware of the natural psychology of human grief.  The fundamental aspect of grief is loss.  This is the reality of the human condition.  Within this condition, the happiest moments, most beloved persons, most treasured objects, and desired outcomes are all temporary in this plane of existence.  Anything gained can be taken within a moment; the rich man and his countless millions can be stolen in the night by the thief, the loving husband can lose his devout wife to the careless swerve of a drunk driver, or a great athlete can have his career ended with a sudden snap of his leg.   Happiness in this fallen world is always balanced by the cruel joke of loss.  Grief is the response to this loss and the reaction to loss of attachment.  While subjective responses vary, the human condition universally and objectively reacts in a general manner or fashion.  The following lists some of the general reactions that are common but not always particular to most people.

Grief Counseling Kubler Ross’ Five Steps

Kubler Ross is one of the preeminent scholars and pioneers of the psychology of grief.  Her five step model has served as one of the most trusted guides to following the trajectory of grief.  The first step according to Kubler Ross is denial.  The second step is anger.  The third step is bargaining.  The fourth step is depression or mourning.  The final step is acceptance.  Within the normal grief cycle these primary steps should be accomplished within the first couple months-although the more intense the attachment, the greater the mourning process.  In some cases, complicated grief can result when the depression state lingers well beyond the average grace period.    Within Kubler Ross’ process of normal grief, one can see a natural progression to mourning and final acceptance.  Within that acceptance comes the remedy for healing where the event or loss is recognized and the soul can finally begin to form new meaning regarding its life’s narrative.  In addition to this, following acceptance, the person can then better relocate and integrate the memory of the lost person into his or her life story.

Grief Counseling and Worden’s Four Tasks

Another process is Worden’s Four Tasks.  Again one can see a similar paradigm that traces human emotion.  The primary difference is only the purpose of the process.  This was created primarily for grieving widows that Worden counseled and treated for depression.  Yet, his four tasks still can be applied to any human loss.  Worden’s first task is to accept the reality. A widow who would have reached the first task here would have naturally gone through the process described by Kubler Ross to reach this point.  The second task is to work through the grief.  Just because acceptance has entered into one’s heart regarding a loss, one cannot deny the continuing grief that permeates one’s essence.  The grief is unpredictable.  Like the harsh winds and torrents of a storm, sometimes it falls harder, while on other occasions, there seems to be a momentary ease, only again to resume the heavy downpour.   This is the nature of the grief process, it has troughs of up and down that cannot be dismissed, ignored or wished away.  As Worden believed, they must be faced even in the darkest hour and worked through.  This process is necessary for the soul to mourn, and if not a complicated grief, a process that eventually, while never gone, becomes bearable.   Although the sharp pain of grief subsides, one cannot deny the numb reminders of loss.  One cannot deny this.  Even after a decade, would one not weep at the tombstone of a loved one?  Yet the pain felt is controlled, it is understood, and it is not pathological.  There may even be a moment of happiness and realization that the loved one is in a better place.  The third step proposed by Worden is adjustment.  Adjustment is the temporary period of transition where the person re-writes their life story and readjusts the future chapters of their life.  These new chapters do not dismiss the past chapters of loss, but encompass them and interweave them into their present and future.  Adjustment is a difficult period where sad reminders of loss may appear from time to time, but life is adjustment.  If something fails to adjust, it becomes extinct.  Hence adjustment is an important phase in re-writing one’s life and creating a new future.  Worden’s final phase included relocation of the person lost.  This is simply emotional acceptance that the person is physically gone but their memory never leaves.  They are forever in the heart of the lover and forever cherished and placed in a different mode of existence.  From a theistic tradition, the person is never gone, but still present but in a different way.  This ideal completely divorces itself from the Freudian view of complete separation.  The loss is always part of you, it is not a pathology, but is a critical part of who one is.  True one does move on, but in a healthy fashion with a new life story with new chapters that are contingent upon the past chapters.

Grief Counseling and Bowly’s Process

Other grief guides encompass the same idea. Bowlby’s process of mourning includes preoccupation, disorganization and reorganization.   Lindermann’s involves acceptance, adjustment and forming new relationships.  Finally Rando’s six “R”s captures the same ideal with the following words of “Recognize, React, Recollect, Relinquish, Readjust, and Reinvest”.  In all of these one can see the same general theme that grief is a reaction to loss and that the human heart goes through a general phase of mourning, acceptance, adjustment, and reorganization.
In conclusion, grief counselors should become aware of these phases.  They can combine or utilize whatever system they feel is best for their patient.  These systems are very good guides on general human behavior but are not concrete infallible guides for every individual.  With that in mind,  grief counselors should realize that these systems are merely guides and that each human being is unique and deserves unique care.
If you want a certification in grief counseling, then please review the program.  Those  who want a certification in grief counseling can enhance an already flourishing professional career.
By Mark Moran, MA