Sadly, just about everyone experiences the pain of the loss of a loved one during their lives. It is one of the few experiences that nearly all humans share. Despite the fact it is something we can all relate to, it can be very difficult to know what to say to someone who is grieving, but for a lot of people, talking their feelings over can really help with the process of starting to move on from the most painful part of the bereavement. Professional bereavement counselors help people in all kinds of circumstances of loss to cope with what has happened and can be important in helping people who have experienced painful losses to heal and begin to look forward to the future again.
Becoming a Bereavement Counselor
Bereavement counselors are highly trained and specialize in bereavement, so are able to meet each person’s circumstances with understanding and experience. If you are considering this as a career path, for example, as a route to go own after completing an online social work masters, it is important to know whether this is the right specialism for you.
Do You Have A Non-Judgmental Outlook On Death?
As a bereavement counselor, you will meet countless different people who are grieving, and every one of them will have a different story. Not all of these will be easy to hear. Some may be tragic and others may involve things that some people have strong views about. Some people you talk to will have had loved ones die of drug overdoses, for example, and there will also be people who have been affected by the suicide of someone close to them. Some people will have different religious views to your own, and therefore different ideas about what happens when we die. It is not only important that you can be compassionate towards every patient but also that you are able to talk to them without judging their beliefs or circumstances, so you can truly connect with them and help them.
Are You Emotionally Resilient?
When you are a bereavement counselor, it can be difficult not to take the emotions of your work home with you. You are likely to be a highly empathetic person to want to do this kind of work, and this can mean that if you don’t have a lot of emotional resilience, it can become difficult to separate yourself from the pain of your patients when the session is over. This will not be good for your own mental health and wellbeing. You can learn a lot about how to retain a professional distance while still helping people if you study counseling or social work, for example, by doing online MSW programs.
Becoming a bereavement counselor will give you a chance to make a very real difference to a lot of people, but you have to be able to present a professional and non-judgmental approach, as well as being a patient and compassionate person.
Updated: June 23, 2017