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What is the Context of Grief Counseling?
None | March 9, 2008 | Vanity

Posted on 03/09/2008 9:08:21 AM PDT by yetidog

Is grief counseling a somewhat new phenomenon?


TOPICS: Current Events; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: griefcounseling; psychology
I was reading an article in the paper this morning that addressed an an inordinate number of student deaths at our local high school this school year. The article highlighted the role of grief counseling, a measure that seems commonplace in the US in situations where the tragedy of life cut short has occurred either by accident, the battlefield, terrorist attack etc.. While I applaud the efforts of those who endeavor to assist others in such situations, I do wonder about the context of such counsel, particularly, its religious dimensions and features. I would presume in public school settings, the incidence of grief counseling would be secular in nature given judicial emphasis on the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Moreover, is grief counseling a somewhat new phenomenon? How effective is it? Is it compulsory? Are clergy involved? I come from a generation where grief was dealt with in the absence of institutional support, save that of friends, the church and faith.
1 posted on 03/09/2008 9:08:21 AM PDT by yetidog
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To: yetidog

Grief counseling is the premeditated targeting and taking advantage of people in vulnerable states, so as to better drum their heads full of social worker type nonsense. Think vultures comforting their meals.


2 posted on 03/09/2008 9:11:36 AM PDT by Content Provider
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To: yetidog

ping


3 posted on 03/09/2008 9:12:00 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: yetidog

The nanny state has to be everything to everyone. Grief counseling is not new. But in the no blame society we are in conflict with, I think counseling is only another justification that people can’t cope without government approval.
Plus it employs a hell of a lot of government sector employees like social workers.


4 posted on 03/09/2008 9:13:02 AM PDT by o_zarkman44 (No Bull in 08!)
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To: yetidog

Grief Counselor:
Another member of the government school priesthood.


5 posted on 03/09/2008 9:13:54 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: yetidog

There’s always been grief counseling- but it was given by friends, family and clergy- and no one called it anything. It sounds like another pre-packaged attempt at dealing with life’s sorrows and inconsistencies and unfairness.

The first time I heard it called grief counseling was after Columbine.


6 posted on 03/09/2008 9:23:18 AM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: yetidog
Grief counseling is a do-gooder's dream come true: an opportunity to demonstrate how compassionate they are with distraught strangers who have been rendered temporarily emotionally defenseless by a tragic event and therefore much more likely to express appreciation for receipt of cringeworthy platitudes such as 'the best tribute to your friend is to live your life to the fullest' etc.

While the rest of us work and pay the bills every day an unknown but large population of these counselors seem to be kept in a holding pen waiting until the next tragedy when they are set loose on an unsuspecting student body who would probably heal faster and grow closer to each other without the 'professionals' sailing in for their rather distasteful form of help.

Like 'severe weather is on the way' and 'police are asking for the public's help' the phrase 'grief counselors will be at the school this week' is now part of the Media Cliche' Manual (TM) and can be heard with regularity on your local TV car dealer commercial - er, news.

All I can say is thank God this particular brand of compassion-for-rent wasn't around during my youth. We lost our share of friends and relatives as we grew up but - and this part may amaze and stun the grief industry - we were each other's support network, not some self-aggrandizing stranger.

7 posted on 03/09/2008 9:23:46 AM PDT by relictele (Liberal: one who walks away from a TSA queue still convinced government can solve problems.)
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To: Content Provider
Grief counseling is the premeditated targeting and taking advantage of people in vulnerable states, so as to better drum their heads full of social worker type nonsense. Think vultures comforting their meals.

BTTT

8 posted on 03/09/2008 9:29:23 AM PDT by org.whodat (What's the difference between a Democrat and a republican????)
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To: yetidog
I would never let any "grief counsellors" get there hooks on a kid of mine....never.

Grief counselling is just another way of reinforcing the view held by too many of today's kids that every tragedy, death or disaster is all about THEM and that's why they're getting all this special attention as the hordes of "counsellers" descend upon a school.

It also reinforces to the kids that when something bad happens they need government busybodies or social worker touchy-feelies to make them all feel better.

I'm glad I grew up in a time when if a relative died, the family mourned but the young kids were left alone.

In my opinion, "grief counselling" doesn't relieve emotional problems, it just highlights and exagerrates them.

Next we'll have grief therapy for kids when their pets die.

I've noticed throughout my life, especially in my political career where I had to attend countless wakes and funerals that adults and children without any solid religious background and education are the ones who handle death and disaster most poorly.

If something unfortunate happens, some quiet time of prayers, apropos bible passages and some warm expressions of love and security within the family circle will do more if a child is really upset than all the "grief" careerists in the world.

Leni

9 posted on 03/09/2008 9:36:21 AM PDT by MinuteGal (I Love My Country More Than I Hate McCain.)
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To: yetidog

Not new, but the secular society and spiritual rootlessness in which it thrives is.


10 posted on 03/09/2008 9:38:09 AM PDT by RightOnTheLeftCoast ([Fred Thompson/Clarence Thomas 2008!])
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To: yetidog
I can't speak too much to grief counseling, but critical incident stress debriefing, for emergency services workers, started about the same time. In CISD, the counseling is informal, and done by peers. It's simply an attempt to formalize what has gone on informally at the fire stations, etc., for years.

The form of counseling varies quite a bit, depending upon the person doing the counseling. Christians still call upon their faith when counseling. When CISD started in the emergency services, it was facilitated by trained counselors, and was pretty much a failure. Emergency services went to the military model, in which only people who had been in combat did the counseling. It, in turn, depended, IMHO, on the AA model, in which a person who had struggled with alcohol was considered the best resource for a person who was having trouble with alcohol.

Usually, there are a variety of resources for grief counseling, depending upon the needs of the individuals. In a properly done grief counseling program, for example, there would be available a Catholic priest, a Protestant, a secular counselor, a Rabbi, and whoever else was needed to meet the needs of the individual experiencing the loss.

I think grief counseling has become more common in the US over the last thirty or forty years because as a society, we have increasingly become insulated from death. I was born in 1954. My father's father died in 1947, when my father was still a teenager. My father, the only son still at home, went to town and picked up his body in their horse-drawn wagon. He bought the casket, brought the body home, and it was kept in the house until the funeral. Dealing with death used to be part of life. Today, most people never see a dead body outside of a casket.

Grief counseling is also a way to help identify people who are having exceptional difficulties dealing with a situation. Survivor's guilt is very common, and some people attempt suicide because of it. Grief counseling attempts to identify people who are having extreme problems dealing with the tragedy, and encourage them to seek additional help. The form of the additional help depends upon the beliefs of the individual. The Protestant will still seek help from their church, the Catholic from their priest, the Jew from their Rabbi, and quite a few of various faith from psychologists.

One thing that is difficult in working with people shortly after the event is that they tend to still be in shock. Frequently the problems don't really begin to show up until weeks or even months later.

Hope this helped.

11 posted on 03/09/2008 9:38:15 AM PDT by Richard Kimball (Sure, they'd love to kill me, as long as they can do it without admitting I exist)
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To: Richard Kimball

Excellent post, Richard!


12 posted on 03/09/2008 9:43:04 AM PDT by A. Morgan (VOTE FOR A LIBERAL N' WE'LL BE UP TO OUR NECKS IN ILLEGALS and OUTA' GAS!)
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To: relictele
While the rest of us work and pay the bills every day an unknown but large population of these counselors seem to be kept in a holding pen waiting until the next tragedy when they are set loose on an unsuspecting student body who would probably heal faster and grow closer to each other without the 'professionals' sailing in for their rather distasteful form of help.

That has always been my take on it.

13 posted on 03/09/2008 9:45:07 AM PDT by Inyo-Mono (If you don't want people to get your goat, don't tell them where it's tied.)
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To: Richard Kimball

Very informative and helpful in terms of the questions that I have.


14 posted on 03/09/2008 9:50:17 AM PDT by yetidog
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To: relictele
we were each other's support network, not some self-aggrandizing stranger.

AMEN!

15 posted on 03/09/2008 9:56:41 AM PDT by litehaus (A memory tooooo long)
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To: Richard Kimball
I think grief counseling has become more common in the US over the last thirty or forty years because as a society, we have increasingly become insulated from death.

I agree; death used to be treated as part of life and now we avoid dealing with it. We used to care for our elderly in the home, they died in the home surrounded by family. Now we tuck the elderly away in nursing homes- out of sight out of mind- we don't see the entire process first hand so we don't think of it as a normal process.

I do agree with another poster that any time a person dies suddenly- or is young it is tougher on everyone. That is when we used to turn to our religion for guidance and many of us still do. There is no substitute for religion, family, and friends in a tragedy, but some people think there is- especially the government.

I think grief counseling is great- if it is done by peers or those close to us, but to have an outside "professional" come in, I can't see how that can help.

16 posted on 03/09/2008 10:21:13 AM PDT by Tammy8 (Please Support and pray for our Troops, as they serve us every day.)
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To: SE Mom
There’s always been grief counseling- but it was given by friends, family and clergy- and no one called it anything.

I agree completely but I'd like to draw a distinction between what was previously informal, personal grief counseling and the impersonal, formalized variety that goes on today.

At least as late as the mid-1960's, when a good friend of mine was killed in high school, there wasn't any flock of professional 'grief counselors' that descended on our school. Each of us talked individually to our families, our ministers/priests/rabbis, or one of our teachers to work our own way through our loss. While there's probably no 'perfect' way to deal with any particular situation, it seemed to work well at the time.

17 posted on 03/09/2008 10:26:33 AM PDT by Bob
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To: Content Provider
Beginning Experience a peer counseling weekend has been here since 1973,

It is not new. Check out the location closest to you!

For more detailed information concerning the loss of a loved one through death, divorce or separation you can FReepmail me.

18 posted on 03/09/2008 10:53:13 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: yetidog

Honest Injun I wrote my post before I read this but an interesting link anyway:

http://abelkeogh.com/writing/griefindustry.php

Even Pravda on the Hudson said so:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D00E2DD133AF930A15757C0A96F958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print


19 posted on 03/09/2008 11:31:08 AM PDT by relictele (Liberal: one who walks away from a TSA queue still convinced government can solve problems.)
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To: Richard Kimball

When I volunteered for a EMS service, there were times that after a bad call, they asked anyone if they needed CISD. One time was a SIDS baby that my crew worked on one Sunday morning. When we got back, they asked us if we were OK or did we need to talk with someone. When we all said we were ok, they looked at us like we were cold hearted.
We did a little CISD thing later. on my buddies boat. where we talked about it while having some beer and mellowing out.
On Saturday night, after a rough shift, we would have “ Choir Practice” named after the Joe Wambaugh book.


20 posted on 03/09/2008 12:25:22 PM PDT by Yorlik803 ( Please dont drag your filth into my swamp..................)
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To: Yorlik803
I still remember my first CISD.

***Warning!!!***Do not read further if you're easily grossed out.

I was on the dive team and we got a call on a twin engine airplane that had gone down with seven people on board. It hit the ground at 600 mph and scattered across a large retention pond. None of the plane parts are bigger than a stove, and we ended up diving for three days, getting a couple of hundred body parts out of the water. I call dispatch about halfway through the first day and tell them we have to have something to put the body parts in because body bags are made for bodies, and these aren't bodies. Anyway, they send us CLEAR TRASH BAGS. Now, you can imagine what a six pound piece of person that's been strained through an instrument panel and left underwater for a few hours looks like. So, we cover the bags with tarps, and have eleven or twelve of them lined up.

Fire department decides to do a CISD. They bring in a "trained counselor." It's this sixties person who's going to help us get in touch with our "feeeeelings." We're all being pretty good boys, keeping a straight face and everything, when we hear a siren go by outside the station window. I looked out, saw an ambulance, and told the guys, "It's just the meat wagon." They all nodded, and the counselor put his head down and started shaking it.

So, after the counseling, they tell us to avoid violent stuff as much as we can until we've "readjusted." Yeah, right. The next thing on the agenda that day was continuing education. We had to watch a slide show called "Scene of the Crime." It had been put together by one of our investigators, and included close up photos of every violent murder in the city for the last three years. There was a three year old that had been beaten to death, a woman stabbed to death in the tub, a gay guy that beat his partner to death with a brass dildo, shoved it up his ___ and wrapped his head up in newspaper, then set it on fire.

I love the fire service. It's like a black tuxedo with brown hushpuppies; silly as all get out, but they're trying so hard you've got to be impressed.

21 posted on 03/09/2008 6:49:10 PM PDT by Richard Kimball (Sure, they'd love to kill me, as long as they can do it without admitting I exist)
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To: Richard Kimball

LOL......I was also on a SAR team that did a lot of body recoveries. It was grim work, but it was rewarding.
We were like the Mad Monks of the EMS..
I miss those days dearly. It was good work, and we made a differance. The funny thing about Volunteer EMS and Fire depts are that they are the most Conservative bunch of men and women you could meet. I guess the Libs only volunteer to save the whales.


22 posted on 03/09/2008 7:06:05 PM PDT by Yorlik803 ( Please dont drag your filth into my swamp..................)
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