Ever since four loved ones died, my friends have supported me. Their comments have been helpful. “You look better,” a friend said. “Your sense of humour is back,” another commented. I have benefited from my friends’ feedback and caring.
But I have also received advice from people I barely know and strangers. One common piece of advice, “Stay busy,” is not the healthiest approach to grief reconciliation. These people have my well-being at heart but do not know me and are not counsellors. I decided to research grief support on my own.
Many certified grief counsellors base their treatment on the stages of grief defined. Others use different approaches. “There are constantly changing theories regarding grief and loss,” notes “Grief Counselling and Therapy,” an article on the Death Reference website. The article cites a book, Ph.D., “Grief Counselling and Therapy.” A grief clinician and researcher say there is a difference between counselling and therapy.
According to Worden, counselling is appropriate for those with normal, uncomplicated grief. In contrast, therapy is appropriate for those with complicated or prolonged grief, behavioural problems, or exaggerated responses.
Writes about grief support in a “Grief Digest” article, “How to Know if You Need Professional Help.” Good, grief can turn bad, points out, and once it “strays off course, the work of mourning can go on and on without the grieving person ever reaching reconciliation.”
Counselling Singapore is available from hospices, medical doctors, referral centres, and hospitals. Before you sign up, however, you need to do your homework. Ask about the person’s credentials, specialized training, experience, and counselling approach, Wolfelt advises. The cost of ongoing counselling can add up quickly, so I would also ask about fees.
Most members are counsellors and death educators, though it includes grief writers like me. While it does not verify its members’ credentials, background, or qualifications, it offers courses for those who wish to become Certified Than otologists, a professional specializing in grief education, dying, death, and bereavement.
The Academy of Grief Counselling comprises doctors, nurses, counsellors, social workers, funeral directors, clergy and other professionals. Its two-tiered program begins with a lecture and study in the field and continues with Fellowship status. “Once Certified, members must commit to the Code of Ethics for Certified Grief Counsellors and adhere to their profession’s Standards of Practice.”
Instead of counselling, you may choose the simple route and join a support group. For more information about these groups, contact your local hospital, Department of Social Services, and association of churches. Though support groups are free, you should still ask about the group leader’s qualifications and participation rules. Whether it is a support group, therapy, or counselling, help is available. You are the only one who can decide which is best for you.