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Grief Counselors and How They Deal with Suicide Issues

The effects of suicide on surviving members is great.  Beyond acute care, looming psychological issues can hover above the friends and family of the victim.

As Christian counselors and grief counselors, one is looking for abnormal signs of grief that goes against the normal grief reactions. These abnormal trajectories of grief can lead to later 

A shoulder to cry on

A shoulder to cry on

complications that include depression, loss of faith, survivor guilt or another potential suicide.

Family members need to acknowledge they were powerless to stop the suicide.  They need to look to God for healing and not blame themselves.  Guilt can easily seap into the conscious mind of the family member and this can lead to a variety of issues.  Some guilt can also be directed to ambivalent feelings that may have existed between the victim and the family member before the suicide.  These issues need to openly discussed and let out or they can fester inside.  Another issue is loss of meaning. After suicide, the devistation and lack of rationale and can lead a family member down a dark path.  The family member may question faith or wonder how this can possibly fit into his life narrative.  As a counselor, you want to guide the person to these answers.  This may lead to spiritual questions or meanings of life itself.  In the end, the suicide while a scar in one’s life story must be integrated into it.  Another emotion to be aware of is fear.  Some dependent family members may become quite fearful and worried about the future or who will care for them. These situations need to be resolved as well with the church and other family members.

Post suicide checkup for the family should include observation for all these issues.  Family group sessions should also be included where the family can talk among themselves and a counselor can observe interaction and danger signs for some family members who are not recovering.

The primary goal is to give the family a sense of wholeness, both physically and spiritually.  Despite the crosses and sadness that befall us in life, through God, faith and sometimes a helping hand, one can move on in this valley of tears with optimism and hope towards the final end which is with God.

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