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Bereavement Counselor

Description

Everything dies. It's a fact of life we learn at a very young age. But this knowledge doesn't make experiencing the death of a beloved friend, colleague, family member or pet any more bearable. Often when people die, the feelings of grief, anger and dismay of those they have left behind become overwhelming. Individuals or whole families can fall apart as a result of a death, and it requires an outside party to come along and see them through this difficult time.

Bereavement counselors are trained to help people cope with death. They may meet with terminally ill people and their families, helping them adjust to the inevitable changes in their futures. They meet with people immediately following a death, as well as meet with clients who are finding themselves unable to have close relationships or are terrified of certain situations because there was a death in their past which was never properly dealt with. Whatever the situation, bereavement counselors analyze client history, assess their current situation, and develop strategies for their client to cope and grieve in a healthy, beneficial way. Hopefully, this will mend rifts in family relationships, and prevent new traumas and difficulties from developing in the future.

Bereavement counselors can work with clients individually, or can host group support sessions. They use photographs and stories to bring back positive memories of the lost loved one. They may work with a client only a few times, or be in constant contact for a number of years. Contact can take place in person, over the Internet, over the phone or in letters. The bereavement counselor can become like a friend who is no longer needed when the grieving period is over and acceptance and peace are realized.

Employed by the government and in private practice, bereavement counselors work with other social workers and counselors to discuss clients and client histories. They need to be emotionally stable, and not afraid or nervous when it comes to talking about death. Bereavement counseling can be taxing and frustrating, but also fulfilling at the same time.
 
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Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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