Grief Counselors are called to respond to grief. They are trained to listen to others and respond to the grieving process. Grief Counselors can help guide individuals through this maze of a process and help them find adjustment to the loss. Society also responds to grief in different ways.
The article, “Responding to the Grief of Others” by Grant Brenner looks closer at how grief is understood within society and how to respond. He states,
“Loss becomes more and more common as we get older. The same coping responses that serve us well at one time—disengaging from emotion, focusing on moving forward—may later lead to struggle as those adaptations characteristically pose barriers to self-awareness and connection with others. Healthy grieving requires not only drawing upon personal resources but also receiving appropriate support from those around us. This includes cultural responses to death and dying.”
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification 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.
Many individuals suffer from mild depression. They are able to function but something does not seem right in their life. The mild depression is enough to wear on them. Many need a little help to overcome this type of depression so they can fully restore themselves to life with new vigor.
The article, “Treatment for Mild Depression” by Sonya Matejko looks at the symptoms of mild depression and how to find the help one needs. She states,
“Even mild depression is different from just feeling a bit tired, sad, or irritable. After all, you’re human! Fluctuations in mood are common, and it’s natural to have days where you feel worse than usual. But what about when those emotions don’t go away after a couple of days, or even a couple of weeks? Maybe you can’t even point to exactly what’s wrong, only that you don’t feel like yourself. While everyone’s experiences and symptoms can and usually do differ, you could be going through a mild depression.”
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.
Grief is unique and reactions to grief and loss differ from person to person. Knowing family and friends is important in understanding how they grieve and react to loss. If we understand grieving patterns of family then we can better accompany them through grief and know when the time is to say or not say something. Due to the subjective reactions to loss, many multiple reactions can occur and no one can ever be completely sure of how someone will react. Still, there are certain ways the human species reacts to loss to give some blue print or guidance.
We are all familiar with the stages of grief, the reactions and phases one go through. We also know to limit grief to mere stages that go in order is wrong, but instead, grief while having various emotional reactions can have a unpredictable set of reactions in any order. Individuals experience grief in waves, oscillations, and in steps forward and steps back. The common emotions of numbness, sadness, anger, guilt and denial are the primary ones we see in the grieving but how these emotions are expressed differ from person to person.
Some individuals are extroverts, while others are introverts. An introvert will seek solace and quiet to dwell on the grief, to find the inner healing needed. Unfortunately, sometimes extreme introverts can seek to escape other human companionship and fall into isolation. Extroverts on the other hand cope and deal with grief through finding healing and energy from without themselves and seek counsel and discussion with others. This can be healthy but if without any inner balance can be fruitless in finally healing oneself. Balance is key. Avoidance of extremities in either introvert or extrovert behavior is important for ultimate healing.
Grieving styles still can differ in the way the individual thinks, acts, or feels. Some individuals are more cognitive, others more emotional and others more pragmatic. Sometimes how one reacts to grief is totally stereotypical and gender assigned. For example, saying only women will reactive emotionally is a blanket statement that is not true. Many men may be emotional as well, while other women may be very pragmatic in their grief reaction. It is important in grief counseling not to type cast a griever but to sojourn with the bereaved and see how their unique reaction grief surfaces and how they cope.
Cognitive grievers think through grief. This can be good and bad. Again balance is key. Cognitive individuals can cope better via reframing negative situations into positive ones, as well as look for cognitive answers through media and books to find solutions. They may also be more clear in their thinking during a loss. These benefits can be counter balanced though with individuals who express pain through pessimism or obsessive compulsive behaviors. Some may also become argumentative in their expression of grief or even suppress emotion.
Emotional grievers utilize emotion as the primary coping mechanism. In healthy fashion, they release sadness or anger and feel better. Releasing emotion is key in coping but also releasing negative stress from harming the body. However, on the flip side of the coin, emotional grievers can also become too depressed or sad and cease to be able to function. They may also unable to cognitively understand the process of grief itself.
Pragmatic grievers or those who feel the need and call to act also have benefits and disadvantages. Those who are more pragmatic look to actions that can resolve situations. They can also utilize hobbies and work to help them go through the grief itself. They can also more easily utilize exercise to release negative emotions. However, hobbies and busy work help one but also emotionally harm by ignoring the loss and trying to hide from it. Many of them avoid talking about their grief and can become angry at those who wish to discuss the loss.
What one can see from these types of grief styles is that one there is good and bad that can come from each style but a better solution is a more balanced reaction to loss that allows one to think, feel and act as necessary. Again, we cannot impose certain standards on others, but if coping over a loss is becoming pathological, then one may seek to question one’s particular grief style.
Ultimately it is key for families going through grief to understand each other’s grieving styles and to be there for each other the best way they know how. In doing so, individuals can better heal at their own way and own pace without emotional damage.
If you would like to learn more about AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program then please review it 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.
Sources and Other Reading
The Unwanted Gift of Grief: A Ministry Approach by Tim P. VanDuivendyk
Depression is a difficult thing to deal and cope with. Many individuals do not know how to help others through depression and usually end saying the wrong thing. It is important to understand what depression is and how to help others through it.
The article, “The One Phrase You Should Avoid Saying To Someone Living With Depression” by Kendall Keith reviews how one should discuss depression with the depressed. The article states
“No matter how well-intentioned, people can offend those experiencing a depressive episode with insensitive or thoughtless advice. “Oftentimes, because of our own anxieties and distress, we go into ‘fix it’ mode when we know someone else is in distress, and we try to remove or eliminate what we see as the ‘problem,’” Abrams explains. “Because this becomes our focus and not our loved one’s needs right in that moment, we can really miss connecting emotionally with them and being present, which is often remarkably soothing.”
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Training and see if the program matches your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification
There are different types of depression that can affect someone. Some are directly correlated to an event while others are internal issues with the brain and various chemicals and hormones within the body. Others are environmentally related and others affect individuals in different waves and cycles.
The article “7 Common Types of Depression You Might Be Dealing With” by Mara Santilli looks at the different types of depression and how they affect individuals. The article states,
“The fact is, there are so many different types of depression — and you might even experience more than one at the same time or at separate points in your life. While it’s helpful to understand the spectrum of depression before you can work through it, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to come up with a diagnosis on your own.”
It is important to note that in many cases depression does not have a reason. Major Depressive and Persistent Disorders, as well as Bi-Polar and Seasonal Depression have no true loss associated with them. They merely exist within the individual. Other depressions may have a root cause but regardless if intense grief persists it is important to find professional assistance in dealing with the mood.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling 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 Grief Counseling Certification.
It is important to note that only certified grief counselors that ARE ALSO LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS can treat depression. If not licensed or permitted by the state to help with mental pathology, then grief counselors without license should always refer their clients with depression to licensed professionals.
Grief does not consider careers or work schedules. It comes regardless of project deadlines or important meetings. Individuals who depend on their job need time to not only mourn the loss of their loved one but they also need to know their employer is there for them, supplying not only job security during tragedy but also emotional understanding and support.
The article, “It’s Time to Rethink Corporate Bereavement Policies” by Mita Mallick looks closer at corporate policies for bereavement. She states,
“While many organizations are rushing to rethink parental leave policies, wellness benefits, and extending our world of remote working past this pandemic, bereavement policies probably haven’t been at the top of many lists. Maybe this is because many of us are uncomfortable embracing death, grief, and loss in the workplace. But this is the right time to consider bereavement leave. How can organizations better help grieving employees? ”
Bereavement over the lost of a loved one is a difficult time and it is important that employers and corporations make that time easier. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Training Program and see if it meets your needs and goals.
Grief and loss equal change. The adaptation to change is the hardest thing to deal with when overcoming grief. Time is inherent with change. Hence many people can grieve over the issue of time itself. Time changes and alters things, places, people and status. One can mourn the past and fear the future or mourn their own inherent change and demise. Others realize that time pushes them further and further away from the passing of a loved one. Each new day adds to the initial separation and fear of forgetting.
Hence time can be the ultimate source of grief. The loss is time itself and the change and differences that occur over time. Individuals who are OCD or grieving or fearful of change will have a difficult time adjusting to any change. While grief over change occurs, we must remember that change is not always bad but sometimes is for the best. Good things can occur and if we live in constant fear of change, or grieve over how it used to be, then we may very well be missing the beauty of the present.
One needs to identify the beauty of the day, remember the past and cherish it, but not allow it to dominate present happiness. Loss and change can still be valid sources of grief and those losses must be dealt with but fortunately as time passes, so does the ability to adjust to loss. While we may miss the past or someone from long ago, we can still learn and grow and appreciate the present.
The article, “Mourning the Passage of Time” by Eleanor Haley of “Whats Your Grief” looks at six aspects of time and grief. She states,
“Changes can cause a person to experience losses related to death, distance, estrangement, anticipatory grief, and grief over the transformation of a person who is still present”
Time truly can cause many griefs. Getting older, changing, losing people and places no longer being around, but these losses are part of life. Change is part of life and like grief, we must learn to adjust to change. We are linear creatures and time is a constant. Those who fear time and change, miss the meaning of life. Being able to understand and appreciate the present, cherish the past and face the future are better equipped to deal with the inherent pain of change that comes with it.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program. Qualified professionals can apply for a four year certification and become certified. Please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.
Chris Haws is a certified Grief Counselor through the American Academy of Grief Counseling. Below is an article from Telegrief.com. In it, Chris discusses the true nature of grief and the reality that it does not simply go away but is something we have to work with and live with for the rest of our lives. He offers some helpful ideas on dealing with the reality of Grief.
By Chris Haws
Not many of us reach middle age without having encountered at least one gentle reminder of our mortality. A beloved uncle, an old school friend, or even a favorite celebrity …… news of their passing makes us sad, and may even make us pause for a moment. But the world doesn’t stop turning and the birds don’t stop singing.
Up close, however, bereavement can be a very different story. The death of a spouse, a sibling, a parent or a child can be so devastating that it feels as if your world has come to a grinding halt and that your entire existence has been turned inside out. Your mind is in a fog, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat, your heart aches and you feel as if you’ve been kicked by a mule. You’re experiencing acute grief and it hurts. That’s not too surprising, since all of those unwelcome sensations are the natural consequence of your mind and your body trying to cope with the shock of your loss. Indeed, neuroscientists and endocrinologists have identified dozens of different brain regions, neural pathways and hormonal reactions to account for all of these unpleasant physical feelings. But the good news is that not only are they entirely natural and predictable, (so you aren’t going mad), but they also won’t last forever.
But we’re not just talking about physical feelings here, are we? Bereavement is not the same as a scraped knee or a bruised thumb, both of which can mend themselves in a relatively short period of time. Acute grief is a profound malady of body and mind (and, some would add, soul) that needs gentle, compassionate, sustained treatment and care …… and it can take a while.
It’s important to remember that there is no pre-ordained schedule or time limit for grief, any more than there is a “checklist” of stages to be ticked off. It’s unfortunate that the popular press will sometimes regurgitate the so-called “Five Stages of Grief”, as if they were commonly agreed medical fact. They are not, and it’s worth noting that when Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first identified the five emotions of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance in her work at the University of Chicago Medical School in 1969, she was referring specifically to the emotions of terminally ill patients who had been told that they had only a few months to live – and not to the emotions of people who were grieving the loss of someone else. Subsequent research has failed to identify any pre-ordained stages or timetables in the grieving process and it is now commonly accepted that everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. But while counselors no longer talk about stages of grief, we have identified a number of different categories of grief, and that list is long, and growing. Dr Kübler-Ross’s subjects were suffering from what is now known as Anticipatory Grief. Other categories include Complicated Grief, Disenfranchised Grief, Chronic Grief, Cumulative Grief, and almost a dozen more. They each have their own particular characteristics, but the task facing a grief counselor is generally the same for each.
Firstly, people have to be reassured that while their physical symptoms are distressing and painful, they are also typical and temporary. Bereavement is as profound an emotional shock to the system as a major injury and it will take time to heal. In many ways grieving can be likened to PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and the treatment protocols can be similar too. People also need to be reassured that it’s not only “OK” to express their grief – by occasionally bursting into tears, for example – but that talking through their raw feelings with others can be an important part of the healing process. Of course, not everyone is very good at dealing with someone who is grieving, and even the most well-meaning friend can sometimes say unhelpful, or even hurtful, things. And that’s when grief counselors can really make a difference. We’re trained not only to guide people through the acute phase of their grief, but to also help them integrate that grief into what will become their new reality.
And that acceptance of the concept of a new reality lies at the heart of integrated grief. By definition, a bereavement is always irreversible no matter how much we might wish it could be otherwise. So as grief counselors, we spend a lot of time encouraging people to avoid traveling down the “coulda / shoulda” pathways, or retreading “what if’s” and “if only’s”. Wishing for a different history is entirely understandable, we all do it in our everyday lives, but in the context of grief it is ultimately not very helpful or productive. A major part of our job as counselors, therefore, is to gently steer the focus of our clients’ energy away from their loss and the more painful aspects of their immediate past, such as their loved one’s unexpected accident or illness, towards a future that can celebrate the happy times that they and their departed enjoyed together .
A future that can – and will – be full of laughter, joy and meaning again.
Chris Haws is a British born Psychologist and Counselor based in Northwest DC who specializes in bereavement and grief, substance abuse and recovery, and personal development and mindfulness. For over three decades, his writing has appeared in print, radio and TV around the world. He is the founder of “Telegrief” and can be contacted at telegrief.com
It can be very difficult to return work after a loss. It is hard to refocus and find oneself. Grief and loss can alter one’s reality and make it difficult to return to routine with the new change in life. One must learn to adjust and alter their life to fit the loss but this can take time.
The article, “5 Tips for Returning to Work When Grieving” by Stella Ryne looks at ways one can better adjust to life at work after a loss.
“Going back to work should be seen as something positive. However, it should be done slowly and gradually. Talk to your boss about it, ask him if it would be okay to start working half a day the first couple of days until you settle back into the routine.”
Hidden depression can sometimes be so well disguised that one does not even notice that one’s life has become sad and grey. Hidden depression is also chronic in nature. It has not true reason. One has a difficult time diagnosing why one does not feel well or right.
Hidden depression can make individuals less social and push them more into a introvert like stance. Professional life may flourish but personal life suffers. Others may also experience a constant nagging of perfectionism where one is not good enough in anything one does. Also others exhibit difficulty expressing complex emotions and find fulfillment in only completion of tasks.
The article, “When Your Depression Is Perfectly Hidden (Even from Yourself)” by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S, looks at many more symptoms and explains the reality of hidden depression. She states,
“Natalie’s depression doesn’t resemble what we typically think of depression: a heavy, chilling darkness that siphons a person’s energy and prevents them from getting out of bed. And yet it’s just as serious, exhausting, and devastating.”