Grief Counseling Certification Article on Companioning and Sojourning

Grief Counseling looks to help a person through grief.  Grief can sidetrack life due to the adjustment period it takes to react to loss.  It is not something to be seen as pathological or unnatural but part of life. How well one can adjust and cope is critical.  Most times, individuals adjust from grief, but recovery itself is something that never comes.  One does not recover from grief but learns to live with it.  While some enter into pathological states due to loss with Prolonged Grief, or worst, Major Depressive Disorder, most are able to navigate the troubled waters of loss and adjust.  This adjustment though comes with its own pain and emotional cycles.

Grief Counselors who are also licensed counselors can help not only those experiencing grief and loss in normal grief reactions but also pathological, while those who are not licensed are permitted to help those deal with basic human loss.  In all cases, grief counselors are there to listen and help.  Grief Counselors need to be good sojourners and companions in grief.  This is a very pastoral view towards grief counseling and is beneficial in helping someone deal with a loss.  It does not look to follow a mere clinical plan but instead to walk with the bereaved.

Sojourning one through grief is a pastoral service of family or ministry. It is about walking with the bereaved and listening and being there. It is not about fixing but witnessing the present and the loss itself.

 

A sojourner is one who walks with someone in grief.   Friends, family, religious or ministers and rabbis can partake down this path with anyone.  Professional counselors can also take upon this very important role.  A key ingredient in any sojourner is empathy.  One needs to have the ability to feel the pain of others and to allow one to share one’s pain with oneself.  Sojourning or companioning one through grief is not so much about assessing and analyzing one’s grief but more so listening and being present.  This type of healing does not look for time tables but instead looks to help individuals by being present in the moment.

A sojourner or companion has a variety of qualities in how they help others.  They are empathetic and full of love and patience.  In this patience and love they help others express their grief by listening.  They do not attempt to share grief stories but they listen to the emotions of the person.  They grant permission to be angry or cry in this safe place.

Sojourners do not look to have the answers but look instead to help one find one’s own answers.  They do not use terms such as  “I understand” or “You need to do this” but instead listen and react to the emotional state of the person.  The person leads the discussion, not the counselor in these cases.

Companioning or sojourning involves being present for the pain but maybe not having the ability to take the pain away.  It focuses more so on the spirit than intellect and walking beside one not leading one.  In many cases companioning looks respects the disorder of grief and does not seek to immediately find order.

Those who look to help others through grief utilize a companion model or a traditional treatment model.  Instead of focus on returning a person to pre-loss status, sojourning respects the now and transformative process of grief.  There is a new normal due to the loss and no return to the pre loss is possible. Sojourning does not look to eliminate grief symptoms but instead values the expression of grief as an important process of the grieving cycle.  In doing so, healthy continued bonds with the deceased is encouraged and not seen as pathological.  Quality of care is not determined by how well grief is managed but how well it was expressed and how well the bereaved was able to express and communicate.

When helping one through the grief process as a sojourner and comforter, one should help the person be honest about his or her feelings.  It is important not to be shocked at what is said but more so to give a person the permission needed to express even angry feelings.  The counselor should not look to fix the situation but merely listen and be present.

Being present is one of the key elements in sojourning for it entails listening and accepting the present situation of loss.  Counselors can follow a few tips as well.  While emotionally listening, avoid touching. Hugs can sometimes help but as counselors, not pastors or family, it is important to keep distance because those in grief can misunderstand intentions.  When asking people to discuss their loss,  sometimes it is difficult to start and they may need guided.   Sometimes mirroring what they are saying can be beneficial.  This allows individuals to hear what they are saying and to reflect on it.  Ultimately let them know that their emotions are natural and expected and they have a right to grieve no matter what others may say or do.

Grief Counselors can help guide individuals through the process of loss. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification

 

Empathy, patience, listening, time and gentle guidance are critical to helping people express and go through grief.  It cannot be seen as something mechanical or sterile with steps or procedures.  Instead one needs to see the messiness of grief and the power of listening through sojourning.

If you would like to learn more about AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program than please review 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 as  Grief Counselor.

Related Texts

The Unwanted Gift of Grief by Tim P. VanDuivendyk

Companioning the Grieving Child by Alan D. Wolfelt

Grief Counseling Certification Article on Prolonged Grief Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

When loss occurs, acute grief is the result.  The process of mourning the loss takes time but eventually leads to a state of integrated grief, where the loss still stings but one is adjusted to the loss in a healthy way.  When this adaptation does not happen, complicated grief can occur and higher levels of professional help may be needed.  Grief Counselors who are not licensed counselors can help with the acute grief phase, but if one finds themselves falling into complicated grief, then they should seek licensed counseling.  Some licensed counselors may also be Grief Certified, which is even better.

Prolonged Grief Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder are different but closely related. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification

 

Prolonged grief disorder persists and sometimes can be confused with major depressive disorder.  It takes a very astute clinician to watch the details and understand the how one can easily fall into the other.

The article, “Bereavement and Depression” by Abigale Clark looks closer at grief, loss and depression.  She states,

“Clinicians must carefully distinguish between grief, PGD, and MDD. A disorder that can occur when the natural grieving process is derailed, PGD is a painful and debilitating condition that can last for years in the absence of PGD-focused treatment. For PGD, the treatment of choice is either providing evidence-based PGD therapy or making a referral to a grief specialist. The aim is to provide support for healthy lifestyle and activities while also treating potential co-occuring conditions. If a bereavement specialist is not available, grief-informed clinical management can be enormously helpful.”

To read 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 as a grief counselor.

 

Grief Counseling Certification Article on Bi Polar Disorder

There are a variety of depressions that set in.  Not all are a result of a direct loss.  Major Depressive order is an example of an on going cloud of sadness with no direct correlation to any loss.  It can be chronic or acute.    Another type of depression is Bi-Polar disorder which has highs or manic states and lows or depressive states.  Some states are not as severe such as hypomania, which help distinguish between Bi Polar 1 or Bi Polar 2.

Bi-Polar disorder however is sometimes harder to pin point than other types of  depression especially in teens due to natural ups and downs.  It also leaves teens and those in their early 20s very confused why they are fine sometimes and not fine other times.  It is very important to diagnose this disorder to help individuals find balance again in life.

The article, “Bipolar disorder” from Mayo Clinic gives an detail description of Bi Polar Disorder and helps educate individuals who feel they may have it and need help.  It definitely a good place to start looking for information.  The article states,

“Despite the mood extremes, people with bipolar disorder often don’t recognize how much their emotional instability disrupts their lives and the lives of their loved ones and don’t get the treatment they need. And if you’re like some people with bipolar disorder, you may enjoy the feelings of euphoria and cycles of being more productive. However, this euphoria is always followed by an emotional crash that can leave you depressed, worn out — and perhaps in financial, legal or relationship trouble.”

To read the entire article, please click here

It is hence important to find treatment for this difficult condition.  So many relationships are ruined because of Bi Polar.  A partner becomes confused by the flip flop personality and can find themselves one day on another’s good side then later their bad side.   Having to deal with manic energy and desire to do things for a week only to be confused with depressive lack of energy the next can leave a partner confused and ready to even leave a relationship.  The individual may also be confused and not fully understand.

In turn, they may look to spending binges, or even drugs and alcohol to help cope with depression or ride the mania.  The individual may find themselves locked with a variety of financial issues, eating disorders or drug addictions due to the multiple swings in mood.

Bi Polar Disorder can be a cruel roller coaster ride for many. The manic and depressive states can cause destruction to emotional well being as well as relationships

 

 

Like any type of depression with no true cause due to loss, some may wonder how or why someone is Bi Polar.  Most is genetic.  If a direct relative had it, then there is a good chance it was passed on to the child.  Many though when reviewing family histories choose to hide mental disorders.  So if grandma or grandpa had it, is sometimes harder to recall.  Only those who lived with them will truly know if they were manic or depressed.  With such a stigma, family histories sometimes cannot find the source.

If you think you may be Bi Polar, Mayo Clinic lists a few conditions during both Manic and Depressive episodes

Bi Polar 1 is diagnosed with at least one manic and depressive episode.  Unlike Bi Polar 2, the mania is more severe and can lead to even psychosis.  Within the mania period, one experiences more energy to the point of exaggeration.  More wild thoughts and impulses may present themselves and lead for some into dangerous and risky activities via sex or drugs.  One can also experience a state of invincibility and euphoria not tied to reality.

Unfortunately, while some may enjoy this phase and feel empowered, it is followed by a crash of depression.  Like all depression, it can last 2 weeks or longer but also possesses the same characteristics of boredom, fatigue, disinterest, or insomnia.

If one is experiencing these issues of back and forth manic and depressive episodes it may be time to talk to a trained licensed professional.  Grief Counselors who are licensed can help diagnose and find treatment through a doctor, but if only certified, if someone illustrates these characteristics, it is time to refer a client to someone that is licensed.  Most grief counselors are certified but can only deal with basic grief to loss, but once grief becomes more insidious and pathological, it is important that those who are not licensed counselors help their clients receive the help they need through a licensed professional.  Again, many certified Grief Counselors are also licensed Counselors and can supply the help needed on the spot but bear in mind, most cases of Bi Polar do require some type of pharmaceutical response.   Physicians and Psychiatrists can provide the needed prescriptions to help individuals.  Herbal remedies can also play a role in helping stabilize but should not never be utilized without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Only a licensed health care professional can diagnose and help treat Bi Polar Disorder. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification Program

 

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.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Grief Counselor.

Grief Counselors can play an important role in identifying pathological grief, and if licensed can provide even more assistance to those suffering from mental disorders such as Bi Polar Disorder.

Again you feel you are suffering from Bi Polar Disorder, do not wait for disaster in life, or continue to roll with the waves, but find the help you need to stabilize your life and the family around you.

 

 

Grief Counseling Certification Article on Coping with Grief

When it comes to coping with grief there is not a one size fits all order.  Many individuals cope differently due to the variety of different losses as well as differences within a person’s spiritual, mental, physical, social and emotional makeup.  Still, eventually one can find something that works best for them.  Different coping strategies exist and eventually something should work best.

What ways do you cope with grief? Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification Program

 

The article, “Dealing With Grief: 7 Coping Strategies, According to Experts” by Madeleine Burry lists 7 different ways one cope with a loss or at least help one through the grieving process. She states,

“You may not think about them this way, but you already use coping strategies in your day-to-day life—such as that extra-hard workout to relieve stress after a tough work deadline, or the phone call you make to a friend when your child is acting up and driving you crazy.”

To review the entire article, please click here

Whatever coping methods work best for you, it is important to realize that grief is not a process that ends but is an ongoing process of living itself.  Learning to live with grief is part of life and coping does not make it go away but only makes it easier to insert into one’s life.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification 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 grief counseling.

Grief Counseling Certification Article on Dealing with Grief Monsters

Loss is something we live with all our lives.  We do not escape it.  Even when we adjust and think we are OK,  feelings and emotions can return.  Since grief is tied to love, then this makes total sense that one would never completely recover from loss and grief.  Grief remains in our life as a reminder of our love.

What is a grief monster in your life? Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification

 

The term grief monsters has been used frequently to describe these jabs and stings of grief that come to one.  The thoughts to reflect on the loss, or the stringing reminder of a loss due to a scent, scene or place, can all inflict old memories and emotions tied to them.  Holidays, empty seats and songs can also remind us.  How we deal and cope with these grief monsters is important.  We cannot run from them or see them as something naturally evil, but something that will be with us our whole lives

The article, “Five Tips for Living With a Grief Monster” from “What’s Your Grief” by Eleanor Haley takes a closer look at living with grief monsters.  She states,

“Grief monsters come from the loss, but don’t mistake them for the loss itself. They didn’t cause the hole left in your life, and they don’t relish in your pain. They’re simply what happens when the chaotic jumble of thoughts, emotions, and memories about the past, present, and future come together. ”

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.

Grief Counseling Certification Article on the Place of Anger in Grief

Anger plays a pivotal role in the grief process.  Kubler Ross places it as the second step in the grief process after denial.  Of course, steps and phases are not science, many experience anger first as well, or even later, but anger definitely plays a role in the process.  For some, this emotion is more present in a loss depending on one’s own particular emotional makeup or the facts surrounding the particular loss.  Someone who may lose a person to a drinking and driving accident may experience more anger than one who loses someone to natural causes.  Others who are naturally more angry with life may lash out regardless.  Hence the amount and degree of anger in the grief process varies.

Anger nonetheless if felt is an important emotional release.  If one feels angry over a loss, it is important to express that anger in a conducive and healthy way.  If one lets anger remain dormant and does not express it, then the grief process itself can stalled.  Grief Counselors should encourage all emotional expression to be exhibited in a safe and constructive way.

Anger is a natural part of grief. Grief Counselors should allow the bereaved to express it. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program, as well as its Anger Management Program

 

Here are some things to consider regarding the circumstances of anger during the grief cycle.  First, anger over injustice is very common.  If the loss was due to drunk driving, a malpractice case, a crime, a foreign attack, or a preventable accident, then anger usually expresses itself early.  Later the anger is turned into social reform or the seeking of justice.  In the recent deaths of  George Floyd, we see constructive anger over the death of Floyd put to societal change and police reform.  Second, anger over personal difficult relationships occur.  A death can result in anger if the person deceased was not always the best person.  An abusive spouse, or a conflicting individual can leave someone with guilt and anger.  Some cases of anger are completely due to the person being felt left behind or alone.  A struggling widow may have resentment to a husband who did not take his health seriously.  Or in some cases, individuals may have resentment in how the person died.  Family members who have to deal with the fallout of a suicide victim, may feel resentment and anger as well.

In all these cases, it is important that anger is expressed properly and allowed to surface.   Anger itself is can damaging to someone who allows it to ferment within the soul.  It can lead to future issues and poor health.  Hence it is important for counselors to help it come out in individuals.  After the anger is released, individuals can then discover why they are angry and dismiss potential guilt issues or surrounding beliefs about the death of the individual.

Grief Counselors should also be aware that those in intense grief and experiencing anger lash out at others.  They displace their grief.  Displaced grief and anger is very common.  Those angry may lash out at a variety of things or persons.  In most instances, the person closest receive the emotional rage, but in other moments, counselors and friends may also experience the anger.  In some cases, God is a scapegoat for anger.  Those in intense grief can blame God for a loss and even begin to question their own faith and world views.

It is not uncommon for existential crisis and questioning of world views to occur for those suffering intense grief.  Meaning of life is questioned and anger at authority is common.  Those of faith usually rebound but the initial anger is part of their process of comprehending and experiencing the grief.  Grief Counselors in these cases do not enter into a logical or philosophical debate about their faith but instead patiently listen and allow the bereaved to express their anger at their faith, God, or world view.  After the person is able to better comprehend the true essence of his or her anger is one able to regain rationality.   Yet, still, this process is critical for many in the grief process.

Grief Counselors should never take personal attacks to heart. Instead they need to understand in their training the nature of displacement and how an individual sometimes utilizes anger in their pain.   Friends and family should also be patient with those who lash out in intense grief and not take emotional words personally.   Patients and love are key for the bereaved.   After emotion is permitted to display itself, then true healing and understanding can begin to occur, but the time has to be on the bereaved terms.

Grief requires expression. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals

 

Anger hence is an important part of the grieving process.  It may be unpleasant but it has purpose towards healing.  It brings one ultimately to rationality and allows counselors to see the pain that may be preventing healing.  In many cases, anger is also healthy for social reform.

The American Academy of Grief Counseling offers a certification in Grief Counseling.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.  If interested, please review the Grief Counseling Certification program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  Also, please review AIHCP’s Anger Management Consulting Program.  The program is based on similar grounds and is also open to qualified professionals.

 

Other resources

AIHCP’s video on Anger Management, please click here”

Grief and Sympathy article, “Anger Stage of Grief-It is Normal-How to Move on”, please click here

 

 

Grief Counseling Certification Article on Coping Strategies for Grief

How one copes is key to loss adaptation.  Resiliency depends on coping strategies and the ability to incorporate them.  This is far from easy and one must still walk the path of grief but proper coping can help one stay on the path and avoid potential complications within the grieving process.

How well do you cope with grief? Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your professional goals

 

The article, “Dealing With Grief: 7 Coping Strategies, According to Experts” from Madeleine Burry of Healthline looks at 7 strategies that one can employ during grief and loss.  She states,

“You may not think about them this way, but you already use coping strategies in your day-to-day life—such as that extra-hard workout to relieve stress after a tough work deadline, or the phone call you make to a friend when your child is acting up and driving you crazy. So when you’re grieving, experts advise that you lean on coping strategies too; they’ll help you weather the storm of emotional distress and physical symptoms associated with grief.”

To read the entire article, please click here

How well one copes will greatly benefit one throughout life in any setting.  Grief is no exception

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 as a grief counselor.

Grief Counseling Certification Article on Coping Strategies

Dealing and coping with grief can be difficult.  Too many, loss is new and too others it remains as complex and painful as the first time.  Certified Grief Counselors can help individuals cope with basic grief and learn how to navigate the tricky waters.  There are no shortcuts but accepting loss and learning to adjust through the loss.  Grief and loss are forever because the loss is tied to love but that does not mean one cannot learn to better cope with their emotions and find happiness in other aspects of life.

Learning how to cope with grief can be difficult for some. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification

 

The article, “Dealing With Grief: 7 Coping Strategies, According to Experts” by Madeleine Burry looks at some coping strategies with grief.  She states,

“While coping mechanisms are helpful, they’re not one size fits all. “Coping strategies work best when personalized,” Manly adds. “For example, some people do very well sharing in grief groups, whereas others prefer sharing one-on-one with a close friend or therapist,” she notes. Some people want to talk about a loved one who passed away, while others get upset by this and would prefer not to.”

To read 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 as a Grief Counselor.

Grief Counseling Certification Article on the Loss of a Parent

Losing a parent is an impactful life event.  It forever changes life and is a before/after moment.  Things are never the same and one has to rediscover their life and purpose.  Many struggle being parentless and find themselves loss.  Others face secondary losses due to the help and aid they received from their parents.   No matter what age, the loss of a parent is a stinging event in life that is probably only surpassed in pain by losing a child.

No loss is the same.  Some parent relationships are poor.  The loss is not as impactful from an emotional standpoint.  Other losses are very intense due to a healthy relationship.  While other losses differ depending on the age of the child when the parent was lost.   No one box fits all when it comes to parental loss.  Below are a few things to consider.

The loss of a parent can be an existential impact on one’s life.

 

If the relationship is estranged then complications can arise.  Guilt, resentment and other forms of emotions can emerge after the parent’s death.  One may feel guilty they need repair the relationship while others may resent the parent for not being there for them.  Regardless, losing a parent will impact one’s own very definition of existence.

In regards to age, there are a variety of different responses.  All share in common traits of missing the parent for particular events.  Even those who never knew their parents, lament the fact that their parents may not be at a particular event, especially when friends have their parents present.

Infants are very young children never know their parents.  They may have faded memories but they only know their parents from pictures, videos and stories.  The symbolic loss is always present and in some cases complicated living arrangements arise with the child being in foster care, raised by other family members or being raised in a blended family.  Adjustment is easier since the child never knew life before but as the child ages, the symbolic lost and the urge to have met them at least once is forever present.

As for older children and teens, the lost has a far greater impact because it changes their life.  New living arrangements, missed present events as well as future events are a constant reminder of the loss.  Mother’s Day or Father’s Day remind them of the loss as well.  In addition, teens and children may have guilt and resentment issues as well as possibly magical thinking issues where they think they are to blame for the parent’s death.

Young adults face their own issues as well.  Young adults deal with the reality that they are without their parent or parents for the first time.  They were nurtured by their parents through their formative years but now they may feel orphaned or abandoned.  Financial difficulties can arise as well as support they once possessed.   Events such as a future wedding, or the birth of a first child can serve as reminders of their absence.

Older adults also suffer.  Even though the lost is natural event they still feel a sharp of pain of losing a mother or father.  Comments that belittle the loss such as at least you had your parents your whole life can be dismissive to the actual pain they are feeling over the loss.  Furthermore, many be feel relieved after a long terminal illness.  Caregiver burnout may make them feel guilty about the release from the stress of daily care.

Losing a parent at any age has its own shocks. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification

 

Regardless, the loss of a parent is a impactful event.  Different situations regarding age and the health of the relationship can create different secondary losses and reactions but when someone loses a parent, a piece of them dies with that parent.  It forever changes them and their outlook on life.  Holidays are never the same and the pain never truly goes away.

Grief Counselors can help individuals with the loss of a parent by guiding them through the grieving process.   While each case is different, it is important to understand that parents are not always with us and we must learn to remember and celebrate their life.  However, in the meantime, it is important for those blessed enough to have their parents to appreciate them everyday and respect them.  To shower them with love and gratitude and realize that not any day is a given.

It is also critical for individuals to discuss death with parents.  Death discussions are considered by taboo by many and the discussions of later care or funeral wishes are never conveyed.  Many meaningful discussions that never would have taken place occur when such topics are broached.  It is important to discuss these issues because once a parent is gone, no one will know their secret wishes or desires for a funeral.  It is important to make time valuable and not take anything for granted.

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

 

Related:

AIHCP’s video on Parental Loss:  Please click here 

“What’s Your Grief” Article on Coping After the Loss of a Parent: Please click here

“Healthline” Article on Dealing with the Losing a Parent:  Please click here

 

Grief Counseling Certification Article on Men and Mental Health

Men who tend more towards their logical side of the brain unfortunately dismiss the emotional side of the brain.  Social stereotypes do not help either as men are portrayed as stoic and powerful.  Tears were once seen as weakness and this ideal that a man hides his emotions or keeps them within himself spread.  These issues still persist today and many men avoid caring for their mental health.

Men need to express themselves and take their mental health more seriously. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification

 

The article, “Too many men ignore their depression, phobias, other mental health issues” by Joseph Harper looks at why many men ignore their emotions and why they should not.  He states, 

“Too many men think they are supposed to be strong or macho all the time — even when in pain. For many, it would be unimaginable, intolerable for anyone to know they were battling anxiety, depression, or were bogged down by their emotions. Many of my male patients also seem to believe that because they are not physically ill they are not truly sick.”

To read the entire article, please click here

It is important for men to take their mental health as serious as their physical health.  They need to acknowledge anxiety, anger or grief.  They need to seek help when needed.

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