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Grief Counselor

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Summary

Provide counseling to people who are experiencing loss.

What does a Grief Counselor do?

Experiencing grief can be isolating. A husband who loses his wife to cancer may be unable to clean out her closet, although his kids think it’s time. A woman who loses her job may feel intense rage that makes her friends uncomfortable. A grief counselor works with these people, helping them express their emotions and move forward with their lives.

First and foremost, your patients need to talk about their feelings. Some patients respond to direct questions and talk at length, while others need to spend a few sessions crying before they can speak. Your patients ask you how grief typically works, and as a grief counselor, you reassure them that their feelings are both normal and natural. Keeping tissues and glasses of water nearby is often helpful.

People who are grieving can sometimes help one another heal, so you set up group sessions and encourage members to talk. Your main task during these sessions is to step in to assist when someone is angry or behaving inappropriately, but otherwise you stay in the background as a supportive presence.

Hospitals and nursing homes also ask you to help the families of people who are dying. You visit the family in the hospital and outline how the death might change their lives. Then you stand back and listen with empathy as the family members talk through their memories and their fears about the future. Hugs may be appropriate here.

Working with grieving people might seem depressing, but your patients often get better with your help. As you watch them heal and move forward, you feel a true sense of accomplishment and exhilaration.

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