Many times individuals do not take the time to grieve or allow themselves to grieve. They hide it or ignore it as weakness. Others wish not to burden others with their troubles. Still others feel maybe their grief is not worth acknowledgement.
On the contrary it is important to address loss and even mourn things of smaller value. While different reactions correlate with greater bonds, smaller things can still be upsetting and it is important to validate those losses.
The article, “The Importance Of Mourning Losses (Even When They Seem Small)” by Kavitha Cardoza and Claire Marie Schneider review the importance of mourning. They state,
“When someone close to you dies — maybe a parent, a spouse or a sibling — it’s a big loss. Those around you might acknowledge that loss by showing up with food, checking in or maybe sending a card. But what about when a neighbor dies? Or that long-awaited family reunion is cancelled? There’s a chance others might not acknowledge or recognize it as a loss — and you may even feel guilty for even feeling this way.”
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.
During grief, multiple emotions can emerge. Anger, sadness and even guilt. Guilt especially can be a harmful emotion during grief because it tortures one over the loss of a loved one. Thoughts torture an individual regarding potentially the final days. Did the person do enough, did she say something mean she regrets, or did he not give enough time while the person was alive? These thoughts can torment the soul.
In addition, some individuals find guilt in things that were beyond their control. The guilt eats away and when they discuss it, they discover the guilt was unfounded. This is especially true with children and magical thinking. In many cases, children may feel responsible for the death of a loved one because they wished it or thought it. Hence guilt can be a true poison in the grieving process and the only way to weed it out is to discuss it and share it with others.
Another type of guilt in loss is survivor guilt. When experiencing a traumatic event, the survivor sometimes may feel guilty they survived or feel guilty they did not do enough to save others. In reality, there should be no guilt, but the guilt still haunts them.
The article, “Grief and Guilt: ‘I can’t believe I did that’ edition” from “Whats Your Grief” takes a closer look at guilt and grief. The article states,
“When it comes to grief and guilt, these ‘if-then’ thoughts often come up around the thing we did or didn’t do. We think if something had been different, the outcome would have been better. It is easy to imagine that the alternate reality would be the perfect outcome we wish for, instead of the reality we’re living. We look back and think things like:”
The article lists numerous what if scenarios of what if, but then looks at why we do certain things in different situations. Stress response of fight or flight and our various crisis responses provoke different responses. So in reality, we respond in a given situation and are programmed to do so. Yet, in grief, we still look back with guilt, why we did not go to the funeral, or why we did not fight longer with treatments for our loved one, or wish we would have done that one little thing to change an outcome.
We as temporal beings cannot know the final end or whether an alternate ending is any better. In fact, the same ending may have occurred regardless and we can merely torture ourselves over and over in the mind.
We need to accept the past, shed guilt and realize our mind reacts to stress and crisis differently and we cannot return to that moment. What we can hold tightly to is we do what we feel is best at that moment and that we cherish and love our loved one. Our loved ones do not wish us to torture ourselves after their death. They want us to grieve healthy and not find guilt in their death but eventual acceptance.
If of a religious mind, we know they are in a better place and will one day reunite with us. In the meantime, holding on to guilt and other toxic emotion is unhealthy whether religious or not. The memory of the person lives on in us and they would never wish for us to hold on to unfounded guilt.
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 the training for qualified professionals leads to a four year certification in Grief Counseling.
Depression can be caused during pregnancy and after pregnancy due to the changes of life and also the hormones. It can affect both fathers and mothers. Sometimes this is ignored because everyone feels you should be happy but post partem depression and depression during pregnancy is a reality for many.
The article, “Mom Life: When depression is more than just “baby blues”” by Tamara Markard looks at this type of depression that many parents, especially mothers face. She states,
‘”Baby blues” typically occur within the first three days after giving birth when the levels of estrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body dramatically plummet. The symptoms usually last for about two weeks before going away on their own. For some women, the depression, anxiety, worry, sleeplessness and other symptoms turn into something more serious called postpartum depression.”
Mothers after childbirth should understand that post partem depression can occur and if it does after the initial weeks to seek help from a medical professional. Fathers should keep an eye on their wives emotional well being and be supportive of their emotional needs as their bodies readjust to post pregnancy
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. It is open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling
Mourning loved ones is natural and dogs are no different. Losing dogs are painful. Life can be a series of dogs and each dog has a special place and time in our heart. It does not get easier losing a loved one. Some individuals may only have one dog their whole life because they are two heart broken. How we mourn our dogs is important. It is important to understand that it is natural and fine to miss our dogs and cry over them.
The article, “Mourning Our Dogs The death of a much-loved dog is sometimes followed by regrets and self-doubt.” by Scott Janssen looks at how we can better mourn our dogs. He states,
“When we lose a canine companion, self-critical thoughts and feelings may become a part of our grief. We may disproportionally focus on our perceived failures and imperfections rather than view our actions as those of someone doing her or his best to stand by a canine loved one during painful circumstances. This is known as “moral pain,” and fortunately, there are things we can do to relieve it.”
Pets are family to many people. To some, they are the only family. They are blessings and companions from God. The innocence and unconditional love of a dog, cat or horse, or even smaller mammal is unargued. While pets with more intelligence are able to express love more, individuals still form bonds with even animals with less intelligence. This does not lessen the blow when an animal we love dies. It is not something to be downgrade or be embarrassed about but a bond that should be acknowledged and respected in grief.
The article, “Kevin McClintock: ‘We mourn our pets like a part of our family'” Looks at the value of pets in one’s life. He states,
“Of course, when we lose a beloved pet, our thoughts often turn to the afterlife — at least mine do. I wonder where they’re at and what they do up there in the mists, waiting for their “humans” to come up there to be with them forever. ”
Pets are family to many and individuals grieving the loss of family deserve respect in their grief. Please also review AIHCP’s Pet Loss Grief Counseling Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.
One of the most difficult challenge during the pandemic is helping the bereaved find the help they need. Grief Counseling and other mental health aides became suddenly unavailable for many who needed the counseling and care. The bereaved, those with mental illness, or substance abuse found themselves without the outside world and coping mechanisms. Furthermore, those experiencing loss were left without the normal social norms to cope with grief. Funerals were no longer public and many were left without the social support they needed to grieve a loss. Others grieved the loss of normalcy in life.
The amount of loss during the pandemic from human life to simply losing a job cannot be underestimated. Individuals grieved major losses but also minor losses. Many felt ashamed to grieve the loss of simpler things when others lost jobs or even family members. Those who did lose loved ones were left without outlets to express their loss. Many became disenfranchised with their losses. Others became anxious in the uncertainty, lack of leadership, and unorganized response by government to the pandemic. These anxieties also left many concerned and grieving.
In these uncertain times, things became available through other forms of connection. Teleconferences with counselors became a new norm. Telegrief services to help others manage their grief became extremely important and still are extremely important. These services allow individuals to find validation in their grief when other social norms are not available.
With so much widespread grief, it was critical to be able to help isolated individuals and family units ways to express their losses, whether large or small, and telegrief and telecounseling became excellent ways to give isolated individuals the help they needed to express grief and find the help they needed.
This also opened new venues for grief counselors who may before had been tied to only one geographical location or area. Grief Counselors can help individuals across the nation through skype or other online media services. They can provide the professional grief counseling care needed to help individuals express their grief. Those suffering from mental disorders or substance abuse issues are also able to find the much needed help they need from licensed professional counselors.
So while the pandemic created new problems for the grieving it also created new solutions and allowed technology to present answers to existing issues.
It is still important as the pandemic continues for those experiencing loss to seek help. There are still thousands losing family members to COVID19. They face situations where funeral arrangements become far more difficult to procure in public due to local restrictions. Others are grieving loss of income and job or a standard of life they once enjoyed. The simple loss of a dinner in public or the ability to go to the store without a mask is a hardship for many. It is important not to degrade the small things during this collective loss. It is important to acknowledge all losses and not to feel guilty over it.
Grief Counselors and licensed counselors can both help grievers through telegrief services find the help and guidance they need to confront these losses and move forward in the future recovery. It is critical that noone is left behind in grief when the economy and public spheres become completely open again. The only way for full recovery is to have mentally healthy individuals who can cope with the grief and the loss caused by the pandemic.
When helping those affected by COVID19, it is important for grief counselors to identify the loss and not marginalize it. If it is not a smaller loss but a major loss, it is important for grief counselors to realize that collectively, the entire family may be dealing with the same loss and dealing with it in different ways.
Grief Counselors in school settings need to identify that many children are grieving the loss of a normal life. Many are experiencing family losses, change in qualify life at home due to parent’s job loss, as well as other ways of life. It is important to try to validate children’s losses and allow them to express. It is also important for families at home who face the losses to receive the education and information needed to cope. This also has to be presented in a safe way that reduces the risk of transmission of the virus. Many remote presentations may be needed in sharing information.
Whether children or adults, it is scary time. Grief and loss and uncertainty tie the nation together in one anxious know. It is critical to help stabilize uncertain situations with solid plans that identify the issues, look for temporary solutions and promise eventual returns to normalcy.
The pandemic has forced behavioral healthcare providers as well as healthcare in general to look outside the box. Utilizing technology and applying good grief theory to the problems presented by the pandemic, grief counselors can help the grieving find the coping strategies, guidance and hope they need.
If you would like to learn more about grief counseling training or would like to become a certified grief counselor, then please review The American Academy of Grief’s, Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.
Children have a hard time understanding death depending on how young they are. Some children do not see death as permanent. It takes time for them to fully comprehend that once something or someone dies they do not come back. Pets because of shorter life spans teach children the circle of life faster than a family death.
Children learn about death from a simple goldfish to the more painful loss of a dog or a cat. They are able to learn the nature of death and how to grieve. Pets teach children so many things and death is among one of the most important life lessons a pet can give a child.
The article, “Kids and Pets: A Winning Combination” by Diane Morrow-Kondos looks at kids and pets and what can be gained by having one. She states,
“This is a nice way to say children experience death through the loss of pets. Having a pet teaches children about the cycle of life from birth through death. Yes, it is heartbreaking to see your beloved pets die, but we learn that all creatures, including humans, eventually pass.”
From responsibility to learning empathy, the importance of animals in the lives of children is critical. Death is no less an important lesson in life. It breaks the heart because loss and love are so interwoven. Loving an animal and grieving an animal is essential to understanding life itself. Please also review our Pet Loss Grief Counseling Training program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.
Depression is a common emotional disorder. Depression is more than mere loss reaction but a pathological reaction. In some instances, depression is not even related to loss but is a chemical imbalance. This makes depression very difficult to treat. Certified Grief Counselors must also be healthcare or behavioral care providers in order to treat depression.
The article below discusses various treatments regarding depression. The article, “The Most Effective Treatments for Depression” by Arash Emamzadeh states,
“A meta-analytic review of 15 evidence-supported therapies for depression, using 385 therapy/control comparisons, was published in the March issue of Psychotherapy Research. The results showed that all therapies were effective”
The article lists in depth these various therapies. 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.
Depression can have many origins. It is deeper than mere loss but a prolonged and unhealthy response to loss, or no loss at all. Depression can be triggered by an event or loss but it can also merely exist within someone due to chemical and biological factors, or psychological factors.
One may find themselves in deep depression and should seek help. Medical professionals, clinical counselors with specialties in grief counseling can also help. Others who are only certified in grief counseling can direct depressed individuals to proper professional care.
The article, “Four Types of Depression” looks at the various types of why people can be depressed. Dr John Cottone takes a closer look in his article and explains these types of depression. He states,
“Virtually everyone has some experience with depression; however, the term “depression” has so many different meanings that confusion and invalidation often result when laypersons talk about their experiences. To address this problem, I have created a simple schema, based on my work with patients and my own personal experiences, to help people understand each other better when talking about depression. ”
Hence depression is a multi layered phenomenon that sometimes has a cause and other times has no direct correlation with an event but only self. To read the entire article, please click here
Due to the pandemic of Covid-19, society for the first time in 100 years has seen the necessity for a self imposed and state quarantine. Noone alive, or at least old enough to recall, remembers the 1918 influenza commonly referred to as the Spanish flu. The Wuhan Virus, Coronavirus, or which ever you prefer to call it has brought present day society to something it has never experienced. This experience will create anxiety and issues for the most healthy, but it can create far worst reactions in those who suffer from mental illness. substance abuse and depression.
Those who need social constructs to help them through daily life have been stripped of important support systems. The depressed, the mentally unstable and the addict need to speak to peer groups or counselors. They need prescriptions and medication to help maintain a normal balance in life. This disruption poses a double threat; not only to the already tragic and scary situation of the deadly virus, but also in the dealing with their own deadly emotional demons.
Those facing issues need to take advantage of modern technology to communicate with others. Various zoom meetings can still be arranged for support groups, as well as counseling appointments, but the isolation and inability to see others in person in times of doubt can play a big role for the depressed or those addicted to substances. It can create a very strong temptation to drink or fall back into a deep depression.
Contact is key but also exercise and optimism. A nice healthy jog or walk, and optimistic reads and programs are essential. Friends need to check on each other, help each other with food, medicine, or a simple call. While the truck load of new issues unloaded on people because of lockdown can cause immense financial and emotional toll, society needs to be alone together to achieve victory over the virus. Together can be achieved through facetime, calls, texts and social media.
Seeing many talk show hosts present from home shows the universal situation we all share as a society. Knowing one is not alone and that deliveries, stimulus checks, and good vibes still exist is critical to mental health. While easier said than done, we must realize this too shall pass. Restaurants, malls, and social gatherings will return. Life will return to normal. The pandemic of 1918 t 1920 infected a third of the population and killed over 50 million. This pandemic has yet to see even see 5 million. This will pass like the last plague passed 100 years ago. Society needs to continue what needs done and remain hopeful and optimistic. It is a time to overcome great hardship and grief and show history that our day also stood up its unique challenges.
In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo asks Gandalf why must he be born in such horrible times, but Gandalf assures Frodo that one cannot choose what time one is born into but instead can only handle how the time is given. We as a society have now our own time and our own struggles and what will define us is how we handle it. Whether depressed, addicted, or merely caught in the situation, we must rise to the occasion, help others and maintain an optimistic attitude as we do what needs to be done.
Please also review our Grief Counseling Program, as well as our Substance Abuse Counseling programs to become trained in helping others face grief and addiction.