Grief counseling can be difficult for the individual grieving, but it can also be hard and draining for the counselor. It is important that counselors take the time to care for themselves.
Attending debriefing sessions, acknowledging when you need rest, setting expectations with clients, and addressing your spiritual needs can help you take care of yourself and make you a better counselor. Additionally, receiving grief support training can be a good refresher and strengthen your skills as a grief counselor.
Attend debriefing sessions
Most professional counselors, including grief counselors, have debriefing sessions. These meetings typically occur once a month and provide counselors the opportunity to share their experiences with their colleagues.
Why are these meetings helpful?
- Having an available space for sharing with other counselors is an excellent way to release the burden that comes with assisting those who are grieving.
- Many people have trouble talking about their work at home, or they may not want to burden their friends and family with the grief that they handle. These groups provide an outlet while keeping work and home life separate.
Acknowledge when you need rest
Grief care is draining. It takes a lot of energy to provide encouragement to someone who is grieving. The weight of grief is heavy and will often ware down both the person grieving and the counselor.
Acknowledge when you are worn out and take the time that you need to recover. If you can, take some time off and rest. Allowing yourself to rejuvenate is not only good for your personal health and well-being but can also help you be a better counselor.
The job of a grief counselor is to encourage and uplift those who are grieving. It is not the job of a grief counselor to take away someone else’s pain.
By setting this expectation with your clients, you will not be held to a standard you cannot meet, both by yourself and by the person grieving. Your goal as a counselor is not to be their “savior.” You cannot take on their burden, no matter how hard you try. They will still have to feel the pain of grief when you leave the session.
Drink from the spiritual well for refreshment
In John 4, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well about an ever flowing spring. He tells her that if she drinks from this spring, that she will never thirst again.
We know that Jesus was not talking about actual water, but the Holy Spirit. Just like the woman at the well, we need to turn to Jesus and the Holy spirit for strength. This is very important for grief counselors. If you don’t find rest in Jesus, you will tire quickly.
Grief support training
In addition to these things, we also recommend training to strengthen your skills as a grief counselor. At Grief Care Fellowship, we offer a grief support training course called “Journey In Grief Care.” This course will give you the confidence and skills to work with those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Contact us, today, if you have more questions about grief care or our grief support training program.