What Does a Grief Counselor Do on a Daily Basis?

If you would like to obtain a career that will allow you to help people and make a positive difference in their lives, a position as a grief counselor may be the perfect choice for you. But just what do these professionals do on a daily basis? Although their tasks may vary from case to case, their most common tasks are described below.

Listen Actively and Empathetically

The primary goal of grief counselors is to help clients cope with grief effectively. One way that they can accomplish this is by quietly listening to them while they talk about their grief. However, just listening is not enough: They need to utilize what is known as active and empathetic listening.

What this means is actually quite simple. For one thing, they need to remain somewhat quiet during initial interviews asking only brief questions from time to time. They should also maintain eye contact and provide one or two-word affirmations occasionally to show that they understand and care about their clients’ concerns.

Educate Clients on Grief

Another thing that grief counselors often do on a daily basis is educate their clients on the subjects of grief and the grieving process. This typically entails describing the various components of grief, the most common stages of grief that clients may experience, and how each component and stage can affect family members and friends.

Since individual circumstances can be quite different, counselors often adjust educational discussions on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, educational discussions can involve individual clients or groups and can be conducted in such settings as the counselor’s office, the client’s home, a healthcare facility, a chapel, or a school.

Suggest Helpful Coping Techniques

After listening to their clients and assessing their situations, one of the next things that grief counselors do is suggest various helpful coping techniques. This typically involves working closely with clients to design a plan that will help them overcome any obstacles on their path to healing.

Just as individual circumstances can be very different, coping techniques can vary widely as well. What may work for one client or group, may not work for another. Nevertheless, some techniques that counselors may suggest to clients include altering their diets, maintaining a journal, creating a memorial to the deceased, taking up a new hobby, and joining a support group. Another option suggested by Forbes is to identify a support system.

Refer Clients to Advanced Therapy

There may be times when a grief counselor finds that particular clients could benefit from more advanced forms of therapy. This often occurs when normal coping mechanisms seem to be shut down or compromised in some way. Persons in these situations are described as experiencing what is known as complicated grief. In these cases, counselors refer clients to psychologists or psychiatrists for further analysis and treatment.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs

Helping people overcome grief can be exceptionally rewarding. From teaching people about grief and the grieving process to helping people cope with their grief, becoming a grief counselor is the perfect career for persons who enjoy helping others.