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Care Giving for Disaster Families

Grief Counseling

There was a fatal plane crash last night. Forty nine souls were lost. Many family, friends, and co-workers are grieving today.

How do we reach out and help them? There are no hard rules, but there are some guidelines.

Reach out to the grieving without expectations about what should happen or what they should be feeling. Be a companion. Be a friend.

The Companioning Model of Bereavement care giving developed by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a helpful model. Using this model of bereavement caregiving, the helper:

* Listens in a supportive manner to individuals' concerns.

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* Helps disaster survivors recognize that, in most cases, their emotional reactions are natural, normal, and to be expected.

* Assists survivors. Find ways to reduce additional stress aiding in day-to-day and recovery-related tasks.

* Helps individuals to understand and recognize the wide range of reactions to trauma, such as numbness, frustration, confusion, anger, anxiety, sadness, and feelings of helplessness.

* Assists individuals to draw on their own strengths and develop healthy coping mechanisms that permit them to gradually resume their pre-disaster level of functioning.

One of the most important aspects of grief counseling is simply validating the individual and their feelings. It is important to reassure the individual that what they are experiencing is normal.

For more information:
Grief Counseling Resource Guide