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Should ‘Grief and Loss’ Be Considered a Specialization?

 

For many, grief is a scary word –– and this personal and cultural fear of grief is reflected in the mental health field.  If you sort through listings of therapists, coaches, and psychologists, you will see “grief & loss” mentioned as a specialty, as though one must be professionally trained to handle the gravity of grief. 

The truth is, however, we all experience loss day by day and even moment by moment.  Why do parents keep their children’s lost teeth? Why is it so hard to leave one job and begin another? Why is marriage such an emotional experience, or the first day of school, or the birth of a child, or a 30th birthday?  It’s because these are all moments of loss, both big and small, and we experience them nearly every day.  Learning how to navigate beginnings and endings is an important life skill that we all need.  Avoiding the pain of little losses everyday makes it exponentially harder to navigate the bigger losses in life. When we are able to experience something like the loss of our 20’s in connection and community, we become better prepared to handle more complicated loss, and what is ultimately the greatest loss - death. 

As human beings, we are already experts in grief and loss. Yet, it’s “how” we experience this loss that makes all the difference.  We need the tools and relationships to make the process less lonely and less overwhelming.  So, should there be a separate specialty in the mental health field on grief and loss? Or should mental health therapists simply be equipped to guide clients in seeing and accepting their own expertise?  

This webinar was recorded on July 13th, 2021.

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