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Does Grief Counseling hurt people?

Posted

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I've always thought that this whole grief counseling business was ridiculous. Whenever there's a tragedy, grief counselors are rushed to the scene. It just seems like even ancient people knew how to handle grief through their cultural process and then move on with life.

Here's an article that suggests that grief counselors actually impede people and make them less self-reliant. But, that's probably what the psychological industry wants, is for people to rely on them, then they have more clients.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/is_20060319/ai_n16213185

What do you think? If this is posted in the wrong section, maybe the moderators can move it.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 28 years experience.

That's like saying doctors and nurses deliberately don't get people well because we want jobs, so I can't agree with you there. I think they mean well.

Otherwise I don't have an opinion on this topic. :)

MedicalLPN, LPN

Specializes in Onco, palliative care, PCU, HH, hospice.

Have to respectfully disagree with you, if I wouldn't have gotten therapy after I found my mother dead when I was 16 I'd be a lot worse off than I am now. Just my 2 cents.

This piece of info - that "grief counseling hurts more than helps" apparently was based on a small, unpublished grad student study that got quoted and requoted until it became a "known" fact. When folks went looking for the original source of this factoid, they found that hard evidence was lacking.

I think treatment of any sort can inadvertedly be negative and counterproductive to some percentage of the population. That doesn't necessarily mean that it should be tossed out completely or considered "dangerous."

our grief counsellors are awesome.

they recognize that everyone has different coping mechanisms, and that different segments of the population, have different needs.

for instance, many of our elderly do well after their loved one dies.

many even make pacts to see ea other soon. (no, not talking about suicide)

but it's the people who lose a loved one at a younger age, are the ones who really benefit from this counselling.

but it really is helpful, when the therapist is tops in their field.

as in any other profession, there are quacks out there.

leslie

danissa, LPN, LVN

Specializes in midwifery, NICU. Has 12 years experience.

Sometimes its easier for people grieving to let go to strangers, rather than others who may be grieving as well. its a fear of making the other persons hurt worse, maintaining a "stiff upper lip thing". So, respectfully, I Do think grief counsellors have their place, just to let a person offload their feelings to someone they wont hurt is beneficial.

teeituptom, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

I think grief counseling is beneficial for all concerned

I dont ever need it, but its good for everyone else.

Curious1alwys, BSN, RN

Has 9 years experience.

Wow, that is quite a different perspective!

Maybe they are thinking that counseling brings you to a state of "learned helplessness" or possibly makes you focus more on your problems? Jeez, I'd say that would be more true of couseling outside of grief because everyone knows the only way to get over grief is THROUGH it, which means you have to feel the pain. And grief counseling is great for this.

I, too, respectfully disagree. I think when it comes to grief, the more focused you are on your pain while it is still fresh, the quicker you will heal....with exceptions of course.

Thanks for the article. Interesting!;)

EricJRN, MSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 15 years experience.

I think that there will always be a place for psychotherapy, but when we mention counselors rushing to a scene, that may be something entirely different.

Critical incident stress management (CISM) is a model used for providing debriefing and education to prehospital providers, and sometimes hospital staff members, who are exposed to unusually stressful situations. There is recent evidence that CISM may do more harm than good. I'll see if I can find a few references.

CaLLaCoDe, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology, Oncology, Medsurge.

I believe in our culture too often we give little time to grieve. We what, give ourselves a month of grieving and move on speedily. This as the OP suggests is the best method. I disagree. Grief not delt with properly at the time of loss will pop up inappropriately later in life. Why, my wife had a family that subscribed to the philosophy of move on and don't deal with it. Well, that's hogwash, shame on anyone that thinks otherwise!

PS. My wife is steadily recovering from a loss (loss of her mother) hardily dealt with in childhood as an adult and that's only healthy.

PS PS Empathy is the greatest gift we can give our pts. Please examine your incentive to being in this field OP!

junebug62

Specializes in L&D, peds NN, and recently outpatient.. Has 23 years experience.

I so agree with TeleRNer. Years ago we hung a wreath on the door, stopped our clocks, covered mirrors and wore black for a solid year. There may have been something to that. Today I see people working the day their loved one died. I know, everyone grieves differently, but

our culture has changed so much that we may need the councelors.

Jo Dirt

Has 9 years experience.

It seems like we tend to feel there has to be a fix for everything.

Counseling is not for everyone but I believe it has its place.

Jo Dirt

Has 9 years experience.

I so agree with TeleRNer. Years ago we hung a wreath on the door, stopped our clocks, covered mirrors and wore black for a solid year. There may have been something to that. Today I see people working the day their loved one died. I know, everyone grieves differently, but

our culture has changed so much that we may need the councelors.

I was looking on Vanderbilt Med Center's website where they were bragging about benefits, one being their policy on grief pay, they said they give three days pay to an employee who loses a spouse, child, parent, sibling...how caring and thoughtful :uhoh3:...for some reason this just turned me off.

I don't think I would want to work for Vanderbilt.

I have not read the article, nor have I read the responses. This is my two cents, based on my own experiences. My brother died in 1989, and I was totally lost. I thought I was handling things well, but I had to not only work but take care of my parents, because everyone kept telling me "You have to take care of your parents, they're beside themselves with grief right now." Nobody thought about what I might be going through. After all, I couldn't possibly be grieving as bad as my parents, since he was only my brother but he was their son.

A couple of months later I got a call at home from a coworker. I found out later that she was elected to call me, since she had been my preceptor when I started as a new grad. She very gently told me about a counselor who specialized in grieving and suggested I call her. I said "I don't need counseling, I'm fine."

Answer: "No, you're not fine. You really need to talk to someone."

Thank God I listened to what she was trying to say. I contacted the person whose name she gave me, and I spent the next three months in therapy. I yelled, I cried, I hurt......and I healed.

God bless grief counselors.

I was looking on Vanderbilt Med Center's website where they were bragging about benefits, one being their policy on grief pay, they said they give three days pay to an employee who loses a spouse, child, parent, sibling...how caring and thoughtful :uhoh3:...for some reason this just turned me off.

I don't think I would want to work for Vanderbilt.

Now I've read the responses!!!

MM, three days is standard. I've never seen a facility offer more than that. You can take more time off, but three days is all they'll pay you for. I was gone for about 2 weeks. My boss was very understanding and let me have all the time I wanted, but I had to take PTO for the rest of the time.

gonzo1, ASN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, PSYCH, PP, CEN. Has 18 years experience.

I'm really glad the counselors are there for the people who may need them. There have been several times in my life I would like to have had someone to talk to. I wish my hospital had a debriefing team because there have been a couple of ER occurances when it would have been nice to have had someone to discuss this with. Instead you just clean up and go on to the next patient.

Additionally, it seems that our society does not allow proper grieving time anymore, we are told to get on with life and I think that is very hard on some people.

Jo Dirt

Has 9 years experience.

Now I've read the responses!!!

MM, three days is standard. I've never seen a facility offer more than that. You can take more time off, but three days is all they'll pay you for. I was gone for about 2 weeks. My boss was very understanding and let me have all the time I wanted, but I had to take PTO for the rest of the time.

Oh, ok. Well, that makes more sense. I can understand three days pay, but the way I initially read it to me it looked like they were saying you have three days to get over it and get back to work.

I agree with EricEnfermero: I have been a psych CNS (psychotherapist) for a long time, and, unfortunately, there are minimally trained people out there who have figured out that there is big $$$ to be made in CISM (critical incident stress management) and "grief counseling." I'm not saying that every therapist who tries to help people through a crisis has poor motives or is a bad person, but (again, unfortunately) there are now a lot of what I can only refer to as hucksters out there in those particular areas (also, nearly anyone, regardless of her/his (lack of) credentials, can call her/himself a "therapist" as long as s/he is careful to avoid a few protected titles -- buyer beware!!). And the documentation is not just "one unpublished study," as someone else commented -- there is a growing body of evidence (and discussion within the psychotherapy community) that some of this stuff does much more harm than good.

Here is a link to another article, well worth reading if you're interested in this topic, on the new "trauma industry" that I used in the psych nursing course I taught until recently --

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1568/is_4_37/ai_n15998616

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