Grief Counseling Certification Article on Disenfranchised Grief

Grief is loss and all loss needs vindicated in one’s life.  When grief is not acknowledged it can cause many problems in the grief process.  Disenfranchised grief is when grief is not respected.  Examples include pet loss.  Many people are told when they lose a pet that it does not matter.  This is the type of rejection that the grieving should not be subjected to.  Other examples include stigmas that surround loss, such as the loss of a same sex partner, or the minimizing of an individuals connection to another person who may have passed away.  In all these cases, the grief is not accepted socially or acknowledged as legitimate.

A grief that is not respected or acknowledged is a disenfranchised grief. Please also review our grief counseling certification program to see if it meets your needs

The article, “What Is Disenfranchised Grief?” by Linnea Crowther looks at the nature of disenfranchised grief. She states,

“It’s painful when others don’t understand your grieving or don’t believe that you’re really feeling the loss that you are. Disenfranchised grief is more common than you might realize, and it increases the trauma of a loss.”

To read the entire article please click here

Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification to see if it matches your academic and professional goals.


Grief and Bereavement Counseling Training Article on Divorce Relapse

Divorce can be a painful loss for many.  It is not only a loss of a love, but also a loss of many secondary goods.   Learning how to cope, advance and become a new person are key.

Divorce can shatter our reality and can take a long time to recover from.  Please also review our Grief and Bereavement Counseling Training
Divorce can shatter our reality and can take a long time to recover from. Please also review our Grief and Bereavement Certification Training

The article,” 5 Strategies To Help You Deal With a Divorce Grief Relapse” by Karen Finn looks at some strategies to help one deal with potential divorce relapse.  The article states,

“Divorce grief relapses are fairly common. They don’t necessarily mean that you’re not over your divorce. They just signal there’s still a little more accepting you can do to fully heal.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Grief and Bereavement Certification Training and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.


Grief Counseling Certification Article on Secondary Losses

Grief is about loss.  The primary loss is not the end story of grief.   Grief has many secondary losses associated with the primary loss.

Losses transcend just the initial shock but have waves of loss.  Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification
Losses transcend just the initial shock but have waves of loss. Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification

The article, “Four Types of Grief Nobody Told You About” by Sarah Epstein states,

“The word grief has come to be understood solely as a reaction to a death. But that narrow understanding fails to encompass the range of human experiences that create and trigger grief. Here are four types of grief that we experience that have nothing to do with death:”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification to learn more about loss and grief and the various types of grief.


Grief Counseling Certification Article on Child Grief and Loss

Interesting article on experiencing grief at a young age and how it affects one in adulthood.

The article, “Tragedy, magical thinking, and the lasting impact of grief” by Geraldine de Brit looks at a tragic loss of her mother and sibling in an accident and how she felt and adapted through the years.

Tragic loss and a young age can have life long implications.  Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification
Tragic loss and a young age can have life long implications. Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification

The article states,

“Even now, 42 years later, this event still has the ability to feel unreal, like it must have been a mistake and I ask myself, “ how could it have happened? How could I not have seen them in all this time?” In such moments it can even feel like they might still come back, like I am leading an interim life until they do.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification to see if it matches your academic and professional goals.

Grief Counseling Certification Article on Stigma Of Suicide

Suicide is a messy thing. It is filled with multiple emotions of loss and despair, but what modern science teaches is that is most of the time an illness.   Someone does not simply wish to end his or her life with a clear head.  It is because of this and many other factors that cloud judgement that many churches have removed the stigma of suicide itself.  Suicide while a horrible thing must not be shelved away but discussed in the open and understood a decision based upon mental illness.  If so, we as a society can move forward and deal with suicide survivors, as well as family survivors of a successful suicide of a loved one.

The choice of suicide is a result of a mental imbalance that leaves everyone in tears.
The choice of suicide is a result of a mental imbalance that leaves everyone in tears.

The article, “Opinion: Talk about suicide, end the stigma” by Natalie Sept looks closer at suicide and how it can no longer be seen simply as a rational choice but more so as a decision based in intense emotional instability.  It is time to stop treating it as a stigma and face it head on and recognize the surrounding demons of it.   The article states,

“When I received the news recently of his suicide, there was something in me that knew it would end this way. Jay struggled with addiction. Our family watched nervously as his jovial disposition became clouded with the pall of substance abuse that eventually pulled him into an irreversible decision.”

To read the entire article, please click here

To learn more about grief counseling and helping others with suicide, please review our Grief Counseling Certification.

Grief Counseling Certification Article on Miscarriages and Bereavement Time

Miscarriage is a real loss.  It is a loss of potential dreams as well as a loss of a child.  The connection with the child in the womb is real and it also has emotional reactions when that bond is broken.   Businesses should be more understanding after someone loses a child to miscarriage.   There needs to be a proper bereavement time to process this loss.

Employees may need more time for miscarriage loss.  Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification
Employees may need more time for miscarriage loss. Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification

The article, “Miscarriage can be a bereavement, and we must reflect that in employment law” by Alex Penk, discusses why businesses need to be more understanding and work around the grief of an employee dealing with a miscarriage in the family.  The article states,


“A bill to provide bereavement leave for miscarriages will soon face its first vote in parliament. It’s a subject that’s close to my heart. I can vividly remember the day, nearly six years ago, when I drove to work on an otherwise ordinary morning, sat in the car park staring at the dashboard for around 10 minutes, then drove away again without getting out. Less than 24 hours earlier I had been at home, sobbing uncontrollably, after a radiographer had kindly but matter-of-factly told us that there was no heartbeat in my wife’s womb, and the crushing grief had begun to descend.”

To read the entire article, please click here

To learn more about grief and loss, please also review our Grief Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.

Bereavement Counseling Certification Article on Avoiding Grieving

Good article on the pitfalls of avoiding grief and not facing it.  Trying to be strong or keep busy can sometimes make us avoid our grief work and recovery

Ignoring grief can be unhealthy. Please also review our Bereavement Counseling Certification
Ignoring grief can be unhealthy. Please also review our Bereavement Counseling Certification

The article, Coping with Grief and Loss: Why Being Strong, Keeping Busy Won’t Work, by Signal Contributor, states

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry _______.” If you’re like most people, you’re conditioned to automatically respond with “alone.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Bereavement Counseling Certification

Bereavement Counseling Certification Program Article on Grief Movies

Good article that lists some classic movies about grief and losing someone

Please also review our Bereavement Counseling Certification Program
Please also review our Bereavement Counseling Certification Program

The article, 8 movies that perfectly portray the grief of losing a loved one, by Natalie Xenos states,

“There’s nothing more painful in life than losing the people we love, whether it’s a parent, a sibling, a spouse or a close friend. Grief is a deep, all consuming emotion and it can be difficult to put into words. Sometimes all you want is the sense that there are other people out there in the world who understand your pain.”

To read the entire article and see the list of 8 movies, please click here

There are numerous other movies as well that capture the essence of loss.  Did any of the movies on this list make your list?  Any other movies you think should be included on a larger list?  Please also review our Bereavement Counseling Certification Program and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.

Please also review our Bereavement Counseling Certification Program


Grief Counseling Topics: Near Death Experiences (NDE)

Grief Counseling: An Indepth Overview of Near-Death Experiences (NDE)

With the advent of New Age, spiritual awakening has become the societal norm, with more and more cultures embracing the concept of alternative consciousness, in a bid to attain enlightenment and personal growth. One common spiritual phenomena reported widely since the last few decades is near death experience (NDE).


What Exactly Is a NDE?

A near death experience, abbreviated as NDE is a transcendental experience unique to an individual, which typically takes place just after a near brush with death. In a near-death episode, the person is either in coma( clinically dead), or feeling threatened in a situation where death is quite likely. These circumstances may include a serious injury from a car accident, bullet shock, childbirth, murder/rape, or suicide attempt. During NDE, the individual experiences feelings of detachment from physical self, levitation, and encounter with spiritual, otherworldly entities. People in trance states or in abject grief have often reported experiences similar to NDEs, even though they were not near death.

Two Types of NDE

Any near-death experiencer commonly reports either of the two types of experiences. One is pleasurable, and the other is distressing. Pleasurable NDE involves feelings of bliss, joy, fulfillment and spiritual awareness. On the other hand, distressing NDE brings feelings of terror, isolation, confusion, guilt and horror. This type is experienced by a smaller group of NDErs. Regardless of their actual type, NDErs almost always report that the experience was even more realistic and vivid than earthly events.

The Four Stages of Pleasurable Near-Death Experience

The pleasurable type of NDE is characterized by four phases that occur in a precise order for each and every individual who report this phenomenon. That being said, it’s important to note each NDE is different. It can include a random combination of phases and the phases may occur in any order. Sometimes, people report having experienced overlapping phases that seem to occur simultaneously.

Here is a discussion of four common phases observed in an NDE:

1.) Detached phase: This is the first phase, wherein the individual experiences dissociation from their physical body. During this time, they leave the earth realm to transcend into the third dimension. They report feeling light, detached and devoid of the five senses that dominate physical existence. They sometimes describe an unbelievable sense of freedom from guilt, pain, misery and of total well-being.

2.) Naturalistic phase: In this phase, people report being gradually aware of their surroundings. They get a better understanding of the surrounding reality and also report looking down on their bodies. They see and hear things just like they do in their physical self, but the only difference is that the perceptions are unusually clear and realistic. They often say they acquired superhuman powers, such as being able to walk through walls, float around, see through people and even understand the unspoken thoughts of people nearby.

3.) Supernatural phase: In this phase, people report passing into a tunnel and meeting entities and being in environments that are not common to the physical reality. They often meet deceased loved ones, spirit guides or non-physical beings like helpers. Communication at this stage is at the mental level and there are no discernible physical features in the entities they meet, yet they seem to recognize them easily.

Following this loving encounter, people are apparently drawn to a beautiful, bright light that is difficult to describe. It is all-encompassing, unconditionally loving, welcoming and yet not overpowering to the eyes. It pulls the person like a gentle magnet and makes them feel drenched in the zenith of bliss. People then try to enter the light, only to be stopped by a powerful ‘being’ who warns them from crossing the light and coaxes them to return back to their physical bodies. At this moment, many people describe experiencing a life review, wherein they see themselves for who they are, and realize their flaws, talents and the mistakes they have made in life so far.

Sometimes, they also get access to divine knowledge and profound mysteries of the Universe. Many people come back with future predictions that eventually turn out to be true! The best thing about the life review is that it is presented to the person in the form of miniature motion pictures that allow them to observe everything from a detached perspective, so that the feelings of sorrow, regret, guilt and misery are all toned down to a negligible extent. If anything, people feel uplifted and energized.

4.) Return: As the name suggests, the individual returns to their physical self. Some NDErs report arguing their return with The Light; they refuse to continue with their life on the physical realm and wish to stay around in the peaceful glow of the third-dimension. However, they are jolted back to their bodies whether or not they choose to return. When they do want to return, it’s usually because of a connection with living people, or a heightened desire to mend persistent issues.

Characteristics of Distressing NDE

The following are some common features of a distressing NDE:

-People report feeling powerless and non-existent. They feel as though as they are trapped in an eternal void with no one around.

-Sometimes, they experience being amid evil, demon beings, frightening, otherworldly creatures and scary noises. Often, they report being transported to hideous landscapes, which is a stark contrast from the beautiful, welcoming environment described in a pleasurable NDE.

-Few people have described feeling worthless and guilty during the life review stage. They feel negatively judged and insulted by the Higher Power.

-In rare cases of distressing NDE, people report having given up fighting or escaping the harsh circumstances of the other reality and asking for help from the Higher Power. When they do so, their experience immediately morphs into a pleasurable NDE.

-Then again, few NDErs have stated that their pleasurable experiences transformed into distressing ones.

How common are Near Death Experiences?

Thanks to medical advances, NDEs have been reported much more frequently in the last few decades. As public acceptance has increased, more and more people are willing to narrate their experiences. Depending on how rigidly NDE is described, studies have indicated that around 12-40% of people who have a close encounter with death later report having had an NDE.

Up to 200,000 Americans have claimed to have an NDE. According to a 2011 survery (
) of 2000 people in Germany, around 4% had experienced an NDE. The 1992 Gallup poll by NDERF has stated that up to 774 individuals experience NDE in the United States alone.

Another 1982 Gallup poll revealed that among the 15% of Americans who reported an NDE, around 9% people had the typical out-of-body experience, 8% encountered spiritual entities, 11% said they entered a different dimension, and only 1% had disturbing experiences. These findings subsequently became published in “Adventures in Immortality” by the pollsters William Proctor and George Gallup Jr.

The possibility of having an NDE is independent of the person’s religion practice, economic background, life history, health status, sexuality and gender. Basically, it is an equal-opportunity phenomenon and it’s impossible to predict who will or won’t experience it, or whose NDE will be distressing or pleasurable.

How do near death experiences affect patients ?

Approximately 80% of NDErs claimed that their lives have been forever changed by what they experienced. In addition to returning with a profound spiritual outlook, as well as a renewed zest for life, people started observing psychological and physiological phenomena on a deeper scale. And this was true for teenagers, adults and child experiencers alike.
One common myth associated with NDE is that the experiencer has a heightened fear of death after the phenomenon. In fact, the result is just the opposite. NDErs lead a better quality of life, which is characterized by:

-An improved ability to fight present circumstances and have a better understanding of why things happen the way they do.

-A strengthened sense of self-confidence that arises from knowing one’s flaws and virtues. This feeling of true security provides bliss to the mind even in the face of utter chaos.

-A lowered fascination for material possessions, as the person finally realizes that true happiness doesn’t lie in accumulating a certain percentage every month, chugging drinks at the local bar or buying a bigger house.

-A higher than usual compassion, which extends to every being. NDErs have a deep-rooted gratitude for the little joys in life, and tend to forgive everything, as they finally understand the futility of chasing material comforts.

-An unusual love for solitude and silence, as people don’t need to rely on false objects of security to quieten their inner feeling of guilt or misery.

-Most importantly, people adopt a spiritual approach to life, as they know and believe that the spiritual realm is real and the material realm is a farce. This knowledge gives them a fresh perspective for all things in life, and they find it easier to cope up with daily hassles.

Has Medical Science Been Able to Explain Near Death Experiences?

According to 2011 study undertaken by Watt and Mobes at the University of Edinburgh,


near death experience is not a spiritual phenomenon, rather it is a physiological process that can be biologically explained. For example, the typical feeling of floating during NDE arises from the trauma of having had a close encounter with death. This has been linked with brain regions like parietal cortex and prefrontal cortex, the latter being involved in delusional beliefs observed in schizophrenia. Although the exact reason behind the feeling remains unknown, one probable explanation is that the person is trying to come to terms with the trauma of death.

A variety of theories have been put forward by medical researchers to explain the argument of meeting deceased loved ones during NDE. Parkinson’s patients ( often hallucinate as a result of abnormal release of dopamine. In the same way, NDErs also undergo an abnormal release of another neurotransmitter, noradrenaline, which is mostly produced during trauma, and evokes the feeling of reliving moments from the present life, as well as auditory/visual hallucinations.

In 2003, The BBC reported a study by Dr. Sam Parnia at the Universty of Southampton which suggested the survival of consciousness even after clinical death (coma). This could be perceived as evidence of life after death.

A 2010 study of patients ( with a history of cardiac attacks revealed that there might be a link between seeing the gleaming orb of light during NDE and the level of carbon dioxide in blood. 11 out of 52 cardiac patients studied claimed to have an NDE. Researchers concluded that the excess CO2 in blood had a significant impact on vision, which ultimately caused them to perceive the tunnel and the brilliant light.

The most common obstacle to substantial research on NDE lies in analyzing them experimentally. After all, this is one phenomenon that is reported only after it’s over, and there are no real-time evidences to testify the same.

Ending Note…

All these scientific explanations raise several questions in our mind. If NDE is merely the outcome of our brain responding to trauma, why do the experiences follow a sequences that ultimately come down to the basic question of spirituality? Why do people report vivid events as if they occurred in precise order, despite being brain dead all the while? Why do they undergo a drastic and perennial transformation after returning back to their conscious state? And most importantly, how can a seemingly trivial, ‘biological phenomenon’ occur with equal probability for everyone, regardless of their medical history, mental health status, and so on?

Interestingly, advocates of near death experience confidently assert that this mystical phenomenon is not a casual by-product of the biological processes of the brain, rather it’s an actual life-changing event that is more realistic and empowering than anything they have ever experienced in the conscious state.

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Grief Counseling: When Does A Loved One Need Help?

4 Signs That Your Loved One May Need a Mental Health Professional

When do you know a loved one needs grief counseling?  This article looks at some issues.
When do you know a loved one needs grief counseling? This article looks at some issues.

Observing a loved one exhibiting mental problems is a difficulty that many families face. Such behavioral patterns are not only difficult to accept, but they are equally difficult to bring up with the person exhibiting the problem. In many cases, the loved one experiencing the mental problems is in need of consultation with a mental health professional. The following are four signs that will help you to determine if your loved one fits this scenario.

They Resist Getting Professional Help

Even though everyone else is able to see that a loved one is exhibiting some type of abnormal mental behavior, these individuals often have an uncanny way of concluding that nothing is wrong with them. By denying that anything is wrong, a person with a mental illness will attempt to ensure that everything is okay, even when it is clearly not. Resisting help and ignoring the problem is the first sign that a loved one needs to see a mental health professional.

Getting Violent

Another common sign that a person needs to seek professional mental help is that they become easily angered or violent. The way a person gets violent may help to identify that they are not thinking clearly. Violence that follows periods of extreme paranoia, for example, is a sure sign that someone would do well to consult with a mental health professional.

Socially Awkward

Over time, it may become obvious that a loved one is struggling in numerous social situations. From body language to the way they interact with others, it sometimes takes a familiarity with mental illness to notice patterns of behavior that fit specific mental disorders. Avoiding social interaction will also tend to suggest that a problem exists with an individual that may benefit from consulting with a mental health professional.


Introversion doesn’t necessarily mean a person has a serious mental health disorder, but if it is so pronounced that he or she struggles to provide themselves with basic living needs, you may want to consult someone who has completed an applied behavior analysis certification program or another licensed health care professional to discuss options and possible treatment.

Overwhelming Depression

It is one thing to be depressed in the course of one’s daily routine. It is another thing to experience depression all the time. Over time, the experience of chronic depression will affect how a person feels and thinks. According to, even what may appear to be a mild form of chronic depression is often a sign that there is something more serious. When a person starts harming themselves or even talks about suicide, this is a sure-fire sign that they need to meet with a mental heath professional.


Mental problems in people go undiagnosed every day. When a loved one is experiencing mental issues, it will sometimes be difficult to distinguish it from normal behavior. Other times, the signs of mental illness and decline are more obvious. If one suspects that a loved one is experiencing some type of mental illness, consulting with a mental health professional is often the only way they will be able to get to the root of the ongoing problem.


Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.



If you are interested in learning more about certifications for helping others with grief then please review our programs in grief counseling, anger management, or stress management.  Here is a link to our certification page.