Forums Forums Resources Polls Poll and discussion: Have you tried grief counseling?

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    Pam B

    As you all know, we are not a grief support group, because no one here is qualified to provide counseling, and we don’t want to become a substitute for appropriate therapy.

    However, the subject of death and loss is a serious one, one that we all share. Every man, woman and child will experience some type of loss, whether it’s through divorce, death, or other tragedy. We weren’t taught in grade school how to deal with loss, and there’s no “user’s manual” that came with us at birth to tell us how to deal with it. In my opinion, there’s no reason to go through it alone.

    Without getting into personal detailed discussions about the process of grief and dealing with loss itself, I thought it might be productive to take a poll, to see how many people have sought counseling as a way to deal with loss, and how effective it was.

    I’ve personally dealt with many different types of losses in my life, and I have no problem sharing with you all, that I’ve sought out counseling at different times in my life to help me through it. It was a life saver, literally. Without the counseling that I’ve had, I might not be here today, and I know for sure that I would not be not be as satisfied with my life, as I am today.

    So please know that the poll is confidential, and that no one has access to the results how you vote, except me, and believe me, I have no desire (or time) to go look up the results.

    I think it would be very beneficial for some of our members, posters and lurkers alike, to see some positive feedback out the benefits of loss counseling.

    Feel free to share your thoughts about the subject.



    I think this is a great idea. I, too, would be happy to share my experiences with grief counseling…receiving it…I’ve also been blessed with helping families, through grief counseling. (I no longer have this practice).

    My first experience was shortly after my first husband was killed. I had just turned 21 and was 7 1/2 months pregnant. As you said, there is no manual for this type of a situation and “you have to go on, just get up and get on with your life” isn’t the right message to get (IMO). I heard it often, but came to understand it is what people say when they have no idea what to do or say.

    This Board is such a great place for everyone to just “talk.” If there is one thing that I advocate, and truly believe in…is the power in letting a grieving person talk about their loss. That, in itself is a form of healing. Most often, though, people around us are afraid to talk to you for fear of upsetting you.

    We may not be able to counsel or offer “professional” guidance…but I do think everyone on this Board is a loving, caring, empathetic listener.

    Bless each and every one of you!


    Margies Girl

    I have wanted to go thru grief counseling, but have a hard time going.


    I went through 6 weeks of greif counselling, to deal with trauma, (long story), and found it very helpful. I was able to deal with the situation head on, and move beyond being”stuck”.
    It was easier for me to deal with because of my major in psychology, so getting through was easier, than if I hadn’t had any background knowledge.


    I attended a grief counseling afternoon with my sister-in-law to help her with her husband’s death. She needed to know for herself that her feelings were ‘valid’. People would inadvertently tell her that ‘they knew what she was going through’. She was always surprised at that statement because no one knew her feelings at all.

    People mean well, but it soon became evident that with her anyway, she had no idea how to understand her own feelings other than to know that they were hers. She has read a lot of books that were recommended to her and she and I talk when she feels the need. It will be three years next month that her husband passed away and she still has times that are very difficult. She knows that it is o.k. to have these periods of rememberance and that she feels better about her own feelings. In my mind that is a big step.

    Grief counseling for me was more of a validation of everything that my grandmother taught me. I have mentioned her many times on this board and I say that if it were not for her insight I would have never been able to get through my own periods of grief. For me it was important to maintain my daily routine because I had a 5 year old and new baby to look after. It was very important for me to keep going. Two others depended on me for support – my family was not able to be physically with me. I was on one coast and they were on the other coast – lots of miles between us.

    I find that I refer to its teachings on occassion because daily life reminds us that some things are tentative and how important it is to do the best you can for the moment. It takes practice, lots of practice.

    I would recommend grief counseling for everyone just so that you can see that you have options. No one person needs to rob themselves of happiness.


    Grief is real, and as Pam stated-everyone in their life experiences some form of grief or another.
    What helps one person may not help the other, and the one that isn’t helped must continue searching for that avenue to help them deal with thier grief-no matter how the loss weighs.
    Grief can never be managed without facing it.
    If you don’t face it, it will consume you.

    I unwillingly saw a phsyciatrist shortly after Ethan’s first surgery-all he wanted to do was push xanax at me and say “Don’t file for divorce or do anything drastic until your son gets through his next surgery.” So I filed on the way home from that surgery.
    Lot of good he did me. It took 3 months to get off the xanax.
    I tried grief support groups. First, the one affiliated with religion. Um, big no in my department. My anger I was feeling towards God, a completely normal feeling of grief, was not allowing me to focus on my real feelings of loss.
    The second grief support group was lame. Everyone sitting around in circles, telling their story and dumping their feelings out for an hour. Seemed like these people were just lonely and searching for sympathetics. Noone ever really showed sympathy. These people were just greedy. I guess I joined at the wrong time. And maybe it worked for them, but not for me.
    I’ve read books, and took a phsychology class at school.
    But I was searching for something.

    I attended a seminar here in Dallas, much like the seminar called “Pathways” led by Dr. Phil McGraw (The guy on Oprah.) My life blossomed and grew so much in those short, painful weekends. It was like the group therapy system, but with exercises, programs and music to face everything you need to face to get through life. I faced all my fears at that seminar; including the fear of losing Ethan. I walked in those doors a lonely, lost, scared, unappreciative and unappreciated mother, and I walked out as Shanna, a strong, confident woman.

    It seems out of all I’ve done, the best thing for me has been to never stop feeling, stop hoping, stop talking, or stop remembering.

    Building friendships through my grief has been my most powerful source of healing for me, and I couldn’t have built those friendships if I had given up on my search for feeling halfway “normal” again.

    Thank you, Pam for posting this topic.


    The recent crossing in March (12th) of my Uncle hit me hard or at a vulnerable time. He crossed on his mother’s birthday (my grandmother crossed in ’75) and the day after my sister’s birthday (she crossed in ’99). His wife, a favorite aunt of mine, crossed just last fall….so I guess I was overwhelmed at the time.
    I just didnt’ know where to go for counseling. Traditional “religion” is not my choice, so I sought out a metaphysical counselor. (It was kind of a “reading” but focused on my uncle and my life and my feelings at the time. Thus it helped me.)
    At first I thought the session didn’t help me, but after a few days I realized it really did. I do have several strong support groups in my life, so I am lucky in that way….so I think the one session was the calming effect I needed at the time. I was given other references to counselors from other friends, but haven’t the need right now. But I do know that counseling of any type can be helpful if you are open to it.
    I think sometimes we just need to talk to someone we do not know about our troubles. The objectivity is so helpful.

    Thanks for the poll.

    Love, light, and peace,

    Pam B

    Pooh, (and everyone else who posted here) thanks for your candidness and willingness to open up about this. Pooh, you’re a great example of seeking out counseling that was right for you. Blessings and prayers for continued healing for all :musicnote :musicnote :musicnote


    Yes, I was in grief therapy for a year. It helps, but we really need to do a lot of grieving on our own in our own way. Everyone’s grief process is different and even with a person the grief process will vary with their relationship with the person who has crossed. It’s an ongoing process and one that we never get over. We are bereaved for the rest of our lives.

    On this note, I want to say thank you to Sandy for her article in the Compassionate Friends newsletter, “The Pit”. Sandy that is so right, especially the paragraph that includes “Above ground, outside of the pit, we are expected to be over it in a set amount of time. We must let our firends and family relax and we certainly shouldn’t make them uncomfortable by mentioning their name. Life goes on…and so must we.”

    I get so angry when I talk about my son and people, tho they may mean well, tell me to move on. What exactly is moving on? I have moved on, I’m not sitting at the hosp. anymore. I’m back at working and living day to day. But as I did when he was here, I will still talk about my son. It really pisses me off when his name is a taboo around people and I’ll mention it whenever I feel like it and they have to just learn to deal with it.

    Much Love,
    Anthony’s Mom


    We that grieve are not few and far between. Everyone of us will grieve at some point in our lives. But the difference is how others react to grieving.

    Some really need permission to do that. Most NEVER know what to say or how to react.

    Sometimes I believe it to be important that others know we are open to understanding that you might not feel comfortable talking about a loved one that has passed. Or perhaps they would become too emotional themselves and it makes doubly hard to open up because of embarrassment.

    So many things play into it that it is difficult to decide how to react sometimes. I have been a little more open than I was five years ago and I get a little more open each year. It seems that nearly every two years lately someone in our families passes on – young and not so young. I just hope that I am not getting used to it. That is one fear that I have.

    A group that focuses on how you approach grief and learning that it is o.k. to grieve is so important. I think the problem lies outside the groups – every day life and every day people choose not to acknowledge it. That is what makes it difficult. Most times just talking about it helps. It is like a pressure valuve. You get to let off steam and that is very good.

    Just my two cents…..



    I know I feel so bad for the people who are grieving and don’t know what we know. Just imagine how much worse it could be to lose someone and to think they are gone forever, turned into dust and nothing else.

    Knowing their physical bodies are gone but their spiritual body and love connection lives on makes a lot of difference on how you grieve. It doesn’t and shouldn’t stop us from our grief but it adds the ingredient of hope that we will see them again. Many of our members have already seen them and even more have heard them.

    Gail :love:

    PhilsGail wrote:
    I know I feel so bad for the people who are grieving and don’t know what we know. Just imagine how much worse it could be to lose someone and to think they are gone forever, turned into dust and nothing else.

    Knowing their physical bodies are gone but their spiritual body and love connection lives on makes a lot of difference on how you grieve. It doesn’t and shouldn’t stop us from our grief but it adds the ingredient of hope that we will see them again. Many of our members have already seen them and even more have heard them.

    Gail :love:

    Gail, I totally agree with you. :thumbsup: Knowing what I now know makes the physical absence much easier to accept. The love connections are there and within our reach when we are ready to receive them. I am so fortunate to have connected personally (or though a psychic medium) with several family members on the other side. This all gives me much comfort…yet I still grieve because I miss their physical presence, too. Although I realize their spirit is right hear next to me, at times, I miss their touch, their laughter, and their personality. That is why is it so cool :cool: when JE brings people through with their personality intact.

    JE talks about the “car” analogy (ie. Do you recall where your first car is?) :surprise: Well there are some cars that I wold like to see again!(due to good memories they bring back.) But much more I would like to see my loved ones whose physical presence I miss.

    I also realize the more I meditate and understand the “other side/spiritual realm” the better I feel about having my loved ones around spiritually and not physically.

    I hope this makes sense. [Side Note: My brother made a video of pictures for my mom’s 90th birthday party coming up this weekend….we just looked at it today….so I think that may be part of the reason I have “physical” presence on my mind.]

    Love, light, and peace,


    Here are some of my ideas, I’m looking for other suggestions.

    Having been very disillusioned with grief therapy. I feel most are fakes, with letters after their names, and they do not know they are charlatans, which is really very sad. Hospice especially promises 18 months of grief care. But, then they hand you a few phone numbers and turn away! That is terrible. [Call them on it] What lies! BTW, then i called the national org, who gave me the state org who gave me other Hospices, who did the same thing. They are cheating the gov. and that is Our money. Call them on it.

    My HMO charges $25 to see someone who listens and then gives me permission to see someone else, who does the same thing, after 4, I got wise. [I’m going to try elsewhere]

    But, I think there might be real ones out there. However, No one explains the difference between Therapy, counseling and support, except to say that they are different levels of professionals. [Phewy. What if I told you, the difference between matzo and carrot cake, was only the kind of flour….? ]

    The pain and desolation is very deep right now. I never fully recovered from my Dad’s death, because I began caregiving for my Mom, she died a few weeks ago. But at least I’m determined.

    I have decided to find the good stuff. I will recover. I don’t know how. YET.

    But, so far I am developing a how-to list.

    1. Secondary losses hurt. That’s all the other things that hurt, and you can do something about some of them.

    2. I can’t bring my parents back or make up for not spending enough time with them. But CAV helps. JE and this group are a big help. I’m meditating and praying. Humor! Thanks, Thank You! Thanks!

    But most of all Thank you, for your, no nonsense, matter of fact, but caring attitude! So rare!

    3. I must rebuild my life, kind of hard because right now i don’t know what i want, and nothing makes my heart go ‘Zing’ so I’ve found self help books —
    The Emotional Toolkit” by Darlene Mininni Ph.D. from UCLA

    4. Help others, I will find ways to help other daughters. I want especially to prevent other daughters from being lied to by medical professionals. I was brutally mistreated by Assisted living nurses [Belmont Village, expensive skin deep, of a national chain]

    And the HMO medical system, let me down when I needed them most. They treating Mom like she was already dead, for about a year. Daughters and other family care givers, need help. Not dinners only, and hand holding, but also, battle-axes to bitch for them.

    5. Tell other daughters to prepare, aging relatives will need more help than you think. Ask and keep asking, How are you going to do it?

    6. Prepare for my turn, I and most of my friends, need a better way of being “”really old””, most do not have kids. We need to, do-it-your-self. Plan now, once the struggling starts, it is harder. It is not the money, it is the planning.

    6. Friends and fun…. Both are hard, so I joined the “Red Hats Ladies,” So far it is only a link to a travel agency. BUT, with a real good train discount.

    7. greif support groups, on-line

    8. School and furfriends, make me keep going…

    Well, so far that’s it,


    (((Kay))) I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom. To lose both parents in such a short amount of time must be horrible. I’ll keep you in my prayers. :candle: :candle: :candle:

    You seem to be taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, and are setting out to tackle your grief and regain control of your life. That’s a very strong, courageous, and life affirming thing to do, I think. You sound like an awesome healthcare activist!:thumbsup: My only suggestion would be to make sure you have a balance between doing things to get yourself through this, and allowing yourself to just be sad, or angry, or whatever you’re feeling, without judgment. When you’ve been knocked off your feet, it’s okay to sit down for awhile and just cry until you can’t cry any more. Sometimes I think the biggest thing therapists can do for people is reassure them that they will stop crying someday. They can’t take away the pain, but they can be an anchor to hold onto in the middle of it.

    Your friends are lucky to have you. Enjoy those train rides and destinations, Red Hats Ladies! Par-ty!!

    Bright days ahead for you, Kay.



    :coffee: Finishing off my Sunday morning ( late morning ) coffee; browsing around…
    My Mom crossed in February of 2003, three days after her 62nd Birthday.
    She hadn’t been feeling well in quite a few months, and was a Lady who loved to have her hair and nails done often. also bore gold well…Since she ended up needing to be helped to do her bodily functions ( which many take for granted ), I knew she was having quite enough of all this, and so when she passed on that Wednesday morning, It was molecule size relief that overcame me, right before I lost my knees and almost fell to the floor when I heard. I was not even close to point of comfort that she was fine. I will never forget the hollowness of that ache the day my world changed, as I entered a cold room to help pick out her coffin.

    I did have friends reach out from work, sign a beautiful card with beautiful words, though many stumble through what JE calls the “idiot zone”- when people just don’t know what or how to express themselves, and they come up with “she is in a better place ” etc etc…Bless all who do try to locate words, but usually most stumble.

    I was ( and still am ) a single 35 year old woman…( not still 35 tho LOL )…since I had no “significant other” to lean on, and I found I held back a bit on friends, I utilized my self as my tool to heal; and long drawn out hugs upon my huge siamese cat Sebastian. Got his fur wet a few times. I also am a writer, ( working on manuscripts blahblahblah ) and so poured and poured out through my pen, with long afterthoughts of laughter and incredibly deep tears. And anger, and regret.

    Then slowly but surely awesome childhood memories re-introduced themselves to me, and my mind kindly shed off those last months of thoughts of Mom that remained..(still do at times )..and in those memories of us, she offers herself in the light I know her as. She was and is a great Mom..

    It never occured to me I was “doing this alone” until a friend at work asked me if I had sought grief therapy, or was I ‘going at this alone’ ” :surprise: It hit me I was… Funny how we become our own idiot zone…But, I think it was from being rather territorial about my feelings, my loss, my self now without my Mom. I don’t have any children, and so the overwhelmed-ness thought of me just being with me was huge. I don’t have a tight-knit extended family; I didn’t really see any of them much after I was 17 or so…And my Dad and I were never “close” in way of understnding eachother like Mom and Daughter ..or like we having an “insta relationship” was not my energy..I needed to learn how to with Dad..

    Alas, Mom speckles me with signs often. Some are so impressive, I just smile and feel warm. She did visit right away in a dream after she passed ( she looked great!), and I believe I dreamed her when she crossed, at the moment(s) she did. I will share that in another forum possibly..but it was and is overwhelming and an incredible gift…
    Sorry about the ramble post….but this was how I dealt with my grief…

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