Grief counseling is a special niche of psychotherapy that is aimed at helping people cope with the loss from someones death. A death can evoke many feelings from sadness to anger and guilt and others. Usually no two people experience this grief in exactly the same way, but there are some patterns that are similar as people learn to cope with the difference in their lives without a certain person. For some people healing begins for them while working in a support group. The group may consist of people dealing with the same sort of loss, like a parent, child or spouse. A group may be more general in nature, as well, providing suggestions for coping strategies and allowing people to share their thoughts and experiences in a safe place. Individual counseling is available in addition to the support groups or by itself. Choosing a type that seems to be a good fit is important to making the process effective.
When searching for a grief counselor perhaps look for someone who has had extensive grief counseling training or holds a grief counseling certification so that the person is a professional that employs techniques that have proved helpful for those who are grieving. The American Academy of Grief Counseling lists certification programs and resources for counselors. These courses can be useful to those beginning their training as a grief counselor. This site also has online professional development and continuing education for those already in practice. A counselor must submit how they have been qualified to be a counselor before they can access the professional development courses. The association sets high standards for the members and a counselor must have completed at least a one hundred hour certification program before being allowed to have a membership.
Many grief counseling certification programs are offered online for professionals like nurses and doctors and others that seek the certification. Some grief counseling involves a religious or spiritual component. These services may be offered in local churches or places like Catholic Charities. Of course priests, ministers and other church facilitators offer counseling, but many churches also offer counseling by people who are not clergy, but share the values of that particular church or synagogue. Churches may provide grief counseling training for those parishioners that are interested in supporting others who are struggling with grief. These programs are not accredited for any national licensing, usually, but they provide the basis for that churchs belief system around grieving and assisting those who are working through the grief process. It may meet for several months and can have a clinical component where the trainee works with someone who has worked as a counselor after completing that course themselves. In this way, the person can truly see the methods used in a session and can decide whether it still an interest. A person who begins training in a church setting might be interested in pursuing a program that prepares them for licensing. Counseling programs may even count portions of the churchs training when accepting a student to their program.
Grief counseling is helpful to many people as they deal with the death of someone in their lives. Counseling can be done individually and some is done in a support group. From a religious approach and also from a secular one, there are many types to access. In this way, the person who is grieving can locate just the right support to work through the grieving process. Everyone grieves a bit differently, so having many different counseling options means that there should be one type that can support just about everyone.