The Role of Grief Counselor

Grief Counseling is particularly needed in a society in which avoidance and/or ignorance about death is all too common. Grief counselors are present to those in the mourning process, comforting them and teaching them to move on through grief counseling. Grief Counselors can be helpful in hospice settings for adults, also they can lead Healing Groups for adolescents and children whose developmental needs are complicated by the grieving process.

Meet Rev. MK LeFevour, Grief Counselor

Although I enjoyed my work as a chaplain, I felt even more called to become a Grief Counselor. To become a Grief Counselor, it is helpful to learn the spiritual methods and rituals of a wide range of traditions, including those of the trainees, and study the theories and practices of Grief Recovery. Persons in grief experience many, sometimes mklefevour picture.jpgunbearable, emotions that must be acknowledged and understood by those who are comfortable with intense levels of feeling/expression. When a patient in a hospital where I was a chaplain learned that her father had suddenly died, she began screaming and wailing, an emotion/process to be expected with the first news of death. The nurses and doctors, however, had no idea what to do until I came in and held her as she sobbed for 30 minutes, which was exactly what she needed.

The Chaplaincy Institute, with its interfaith approach, was a perfect fit for me. Its students are taught-- and experience-- a wide variety of spiritual approaches, including death and dying rituals in order to prepare them for any setting or situation they might encounter. After graduation I also took a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. The experience with the grieving woman also led me to sign up for a 12-week class in Grief Recovery Methods taught by the hospital for anyone in the community.

I was hired next by a Hospice to be their chaplain and bereavement coordinator, but after a year I really wanted to be a grief counselor. I studied and received my certification as a Grief Recovery Specialist through the Grief Recovery Institute. After rigorous, independent study of grief and theories of grief recovery, I launched my own private practice in which I counsel families and individuals and lead Grief Recovery Groups for children and for parents of grieving children.

When I was interviewing as a prospective ChI student. someone asked where my path of chaplaincy might be. I confidently said, “Hospice!” The interviewer suggested that I remain open to all possibilities. As it happened, it was through hospice that I found my passion and my life’s path of accompanying people on their journey through grief.

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