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Grief and Loss Counseling Available

The Healthy Spot Clinic, in cooperation with Volunteers of America, has summer counseling resources available for students struggling with grief and loss.  

Call Julia at 907-279-9640

 

Counseling Resource List**

AK Native Hospital Primary Care/Behavioral Health….729-2500 anmc.org

Allen Blair……279-9270 Ablairtherapy.com

Anchorage Community Mental Health Services…561-0954 acmhs.com

Bridges Counseling……771-0536 bridgescounseling.org

Cornerstone Counseling……522-7080 counseling.cornerstoneclinic.org

Counseling Solutions……644-8044 counselingsolutionsak.com

Denali Cove Counseling Center……222-2436

Fuller Diagnostics, LLC……561-0552 fulleralaska.com

Generations, A family Place Inc……222-4954 Levyal.com

Inner Wisdom Counseling……227-5631 innerwisdomak.com

Life Journey, LLC……222-1819 Lifejourneyllc.com

Steve Montooth……276-2978

North Star Behavioral Health……258-7575 northstarbehavioral.com

Providence Medical Group Behavioral Health….212-6900 alaska.providence.org

Psychology Resources, APC……272-4407 mypsychologyresources.com

Chris Reynolds…..279-9274 Reynoldstherapy.com

Rich Steinzeig……278-1188 Richardsteinzeiglcsw.com

School Based Health Services/Behavioral Health Referral (BMS & VOA) See School Counselor 24 Hour Crisis Line……563-3200

** This list is provided to you as a resource. The school does not require you use this list or any of the services provided by the individuals/entities on this list. It is for you to decide what services, if any, to use and from whom you wish to obtain them.

 

Resources for grieving families

We know parenting a child who is grieving is hard work, especially if you are also grieving. We hope this resource packet may be a guide for you as you discover the best ways to support yourself and your family.

 

Grief Counseling

Grief counseling is not therapy (properly known as psychotherapy), because therapy involves analyzing, diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. Grief is not a disorder. In fact, grief is the normal healthy human response to loss.

You may also request a family meeting with a grief counselor. Meetings with the whole family include the children and help to demonstrate open and safe talk about the loss. Grief counselors will also have a number of age-specific resources to give to kids and teens, to encourage them to process their feelings.

 

Reading

There are a number of good resources both for kids and for the parents of grieving kids. Many are included in the recommended reading list in this packet. Below is a very brief article on helping children after a loss.

 

 

AK Native Kids Grief Camp

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium hosts an annual grief support camp for kids ages 6 – 12, called Camp Coho. Contact ANTHC for details, 729-4491.

 

Helping Children Through Grief

The death of a family member, friend or community member can be a traumatic experience for a child or teen. In particular “a child suffering the loss of a parent or sibling is likely to be in great need of personal attention,” says author and grief expert Helen Fitzgerald. It is important to talk (and listen) to children who are grieving, but we may not know what to say or do. Here Helen Fitzgerald shares what to expect from a grieving child and what you can do to help a child after a death.

How to Help a Grieving Child

• As soon as possible after the death, set time aside to talk to your child.

• Give your child the facts in a simple manner – be careful not to go into too much detail. Your child will ask more questions as they come up in his/her mind.

• If you can’t answer your child’s questions, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know how to answer that, but perhaps we can find someone to help us.”

• Use the correct language - say the word “dead” etc. Do not use phrases such as: “He’s sleeping,” or “God took her,” or “He went away,” etc.

• Ask your child questions to better understand what he or she may be thinking or feeling. “What are you feeling?” “What have you heard from your friends?” “What do you think happened?” etc.

• Explain your feelings to your child, especially if you are crying. Give children permission to cry. We are their role models and it’s appropriate for children to see our sadness and for us to share our feelings with them.

• Use the given name of the deceased when speaking of him or her.

• Understand the age and level of comprehension of your child. Speak to that level.

• Talk about feelings, such as: sad, angry, feeling responsible, scared, tearful, depressed, worried, etc.

• Read an age-appropriate book on childhood grief so you have a better understanding of what your child may be experiencing.

• Read an age-appropriate book on death to your child. Take time to discuss what you have read and relate it to what is happening to you.

• Talk about the viewing and funeral. Explain what happens at these events and find out if your child wants to attend.

• Think about ways your child can say “goodbye” to the person who has died.

• Talk to your child about God, if appropriate, and what happens to people after they die.

• Invite your child to come back to you if he or she has more questions or has heard rumors – tell your child you will help get the correct information.

• Talk about memories, good ones and ones not so good.

• Watch out for “bad dreams.” Are they occurring often? Talk about the dreams.

• Watch for behavioral changes in your child both at home or at school.

• Friends, family, schoolmates, etc, frequently find solace and comfort in doing something in the name of the person who died – a memorial.

You might see some of the following behavior:

– Tearfulness – Irritability – Clinging to you – Whining – Somatic complaints – Temporary dip in grades – More pronounced fears, e.g, of dying or of you dying, of the dark, etc. – Regression in behavior – Aggressive behavior

These are normal emotions. Offer your child loving, touching support. If, however, you ever feel the reactions are more extreme or lasting longer than you think they should be, never hesitate to consult a professional. Helen Fitzgerald is a Certified Thanatologist, author and lecturer. Her books include The Grieving Child: A Parents’ Guide, The Mourning Handbook and The Grieving Teen. She has appeared on the CBS Morning Show and the NBC Today Show and was previously the director of training for the American Hospice Foundation. © 2004 American Hospice Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

 

Online Resources

The Dougy Center: The national center for grieving children and families. www.dougy.org. This website has a large amount of reliable information on grief and children of all ages. The Dougy Center is an international leader in supporting children and families after a loss.

 

The Moyer Foundation: providing conform, hope and healing to children and families affected by grief and addiction. Visit: www.moyerfoundation.org. This resource is full of reliable online information and articles regarding children’s grief and how to support and parent a grief child or teenager.

Open to Hope: Finding Hope After Loss. www.opentohope.com contains a myriad of reliable resources and articles on grief on a variety of topics. They cover multiple platforms such as articles, TV, radio and books that grievers can access for support.

 

ADEC: The Association for Death Education and Counseling is the research arm of the grief profession. It also has a database of members and certified grief counselors. Some of their members may not provide direct care, but they may still be able to refer you to grief counselors in their region or area. www.adec.org

 

Center for Complicated Grief: Complicated grief is a term that means something is getting in the way of coping with the death of a loved one. When grief is complicated the pain can be unrelenting and life seems empty of any possibility for happiness. www.complicatedgrief.columbia.edu is the leader in research and treatment in this field.

 

 

Recommended reading in bereavement

*indicates strongest recommendation

 

For Children

Tear Soup, Chuck DeKlyen and Pat Schwiebert*

Sad Isn’t Bad, Michaelene Mundy

I’ll always Love you (death of pet, intro to death)

Fall of Freddie the Leaf (mortality)

Water Bugs and Dragonflies (grief)*

The Invisible String (love connects, enduring relationship)

Bridge to Terabithia

Eleanor, Arthur and Claire

Someone I loved Died

Daddy’s Chair (Jewish)

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs*

A Taste of Blackberries (friend loss)

The Memory String (parent loss)

Abuelita’s Paradise*

Annie and the Old One

Everett Anderson’s Goodbye

Too Far Away to Touch (family loss)

Healing your Grieving Heart for Teens, by Alan Wolfelt

 

Young Adults (ages 18~35)

Finding what Feeds Us: Rituals and Recipes for Living Well After Loss, produced by The Dinner Party

We Get It: Voices of Grieving College Students and Young Adults, Servaty-Seib & Fajgenbaum* www.activelymovingforward.org* www.toodamnyoung.com