Specialist bereavement services

Grief therapy

If you think that you (or someone else) may be experiencing a complex bereavement reaction, then individual grief therapy can be beneficial. Because of the unique nature of grief reactions, my therapeutic approach varies according to each person. In line with this, a crucial initial step with grief therapy is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the complexities that may be associated with your loss and how these have uniquely impacted your experience of grief. The next step is to develop a therapy approach that will enable us to reduce the complicating effects that certain factors may be having on your capacity to find a more manageable and sustainable way of living with your loss. In addition, the aim of therapy is to also increase your pathways towards finding some degree of meaning and purpose in your life again.

Support counselling

Some people may benefit from counselling that assists them to make the transition through a difficult grieving process, albeit not one that has become complicated by a range of other factors. This assistance would typically include working on understanding your grief, learning different methods to cope with emotional reactions and triggers, finding ways to stay connected to your loved one, seeking possible opportunities to grow and be transformed out of your struggle with the loss and exploring ways to improve your supports and/or to deal with other people’s reactions to your grief. Overall, the focus of this support counselling would be on finding ways to facilitate the natural processes that occur as part of a normal grieving experience.

Workplace bereavement support

Experiences of death within the workplace can lead to major grief reactions amongst staff members. The provision of information and guidance on how to both understand and cope with these experiences can assist with ensuring staff respond more adaptively to the loss. In turn, this can help with reducing the potential development of more complicated grief reactions that can be associated with prolonged distress and even reductions in staff productivity.

Student training and education

Educational courses and/or seminars can be provided to students with a focus on introducing them to current bereavement theory and practice in general, or alternatively, a more specific focus/topic can be negotiated according to the educational needs.

Corporate training services

Following the death of customers or clients, organisations can encounter difficulties with ensuring that processes and procedures are implemented in a way that is sensitive and respectful of the people who are left to deal with the deceased person’s affairs. In the absence of proper care in these areas, not only can the grief and despair of the grieving person be exacerbated, but they can also disengage from dealing with their loved one’s affairs. In some cases, they may even abandon any further involvement with the organisation. The provision of training and education to staff involved in handling these matters, in areas such as the development of communication protocols and procedures that appropriately respond to these situations, can be an important part of a caring and compassionate company vision. Furthermore, such training and education can help to reduce negative business outcomes that may result from inadequate responses to these situations. 

Training for professionals

Workshops can be provided to organisations, agencies and private practices (e.g., General Practitioners) for the purpose of providing training in current bereavement theory and practice. Some of the topics for workshops/training seminars can include: responding to acute grief reactions, understanding and identifying the differences between complicated and normal grief reactions, differentiating mental health conditions from complicated grief reactions (e.g., major depression from persistent complex bereavement disorder), implementing self-care when working with bereaved individuals and learning how to respond appropriately when dealing with specific types of deaths (e.g., the death of a child).

Ecological grief groups

The destruction and death of the natural environment can provoke profound grief reactions for some people. Just like interpersonal losses, the person can experience intense distress and also despair as they struggle to know how to cope with their reactions. Having the opportunity to meet with other people who are also dealing with this form of grief can help to make sense of one’s reactions and to find ways to cope. This is a new initiative for which I welcome people to express an interest in/need for. The aim of these groups would be to bring people together who share this type of grief, but also to use theory and knowledge in this area to better understand ‘ecological grief’ and to find ways to process these grief reactions through involvement in restorative, nature-orientated tasks (e.g., community gardens).

Bereavement support group facilitation

Sometimes communities form their own support groups to deal with certain types of death, such as when a group of people have passed away (e.g., following an accident), or when they share a common type of loss (e.g., parents who have experienced the death of a child). In such situations, having a group facilitator can provide some structure to the process (e.g., the provision of topics and information for discussion). The role of the facilitator would be flexible and determined by the group’s needs.