When you are in mourning for the loss of your child, a support system provides strength and stability as you move along through the grieving process. One avenue of support is a grief counselor. Here is some advice for helping you to find the right person to meet the needs of you and your family.
Know Your Needs
Some people have a hard time asking for help under normal circumstances. When you lose a child, that inclination becomes even harder to fight. You may need your family around you and others who care, but feel too ashamed or scared to ask them. Maybe it’s been a few weeks and some well-meaning friend thinks that you should “move on” with your life. Life is still hard to deal with so you are self-conscious about seeking help from friends or family although you may desperately want and need it.
In another scenario, you may be having a hard time letting go of certain feelings. Maybe you are having nightmares or reliving the event of your child’s death but changing the circumstances to what you wish might have happened. You can’t sleep or eat or concentrate at work. The anger takes over all the time. Your surviving children are slighted because you are afraid to love them again.
While these feelings are mostly normal in the grieving process, they may worry you. As a grieving parent, you need support to make it through for yourself and your family. Friends may mean well, but the answer to your needs may lie with a professional counselor instead.
Finding an Appropriate Grief Counselor
Ask for referrals – If you know someone else who has dealt with the loss of a child, ask for their advice on choosing a counselor to meet with, either as a family or individually.
Check credentials – Ask to meet with the counselor before setting up an appointment. Inquire about their experience with grieving parents as well as where they received their training to do so. Grief counselors may be credentialed but do not have to be medical doctors, i.e. psychiatrists. If you wish to have a doctor, use that as your primary search parameter.
Check the Better Business Bureau – They register complaints about local businesses and medical practices. Make sure there are no black marks against the counselors on your shortlist.
Ask them about their process – How do they deal with bereaved parents? Is there a method or do you just talk? How will they help carry you through the grieving process?
Faith-based counselors – If you are a person of faith, then a grief counselor who deals with the issue from a position of faith may be more suited to your needs.
When looking for a counselor, you want to use someone who is fully committed to healing your grief.