What to Look For in A Grief Counselor

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, May 14, 2018


The passing of a loved one can be a devastating ordeal. The grief and pain of loss can, at times, seem unbearable. Many people, after the death of someone close, need some extra guidance in navigating their grief and heartache. Grief counselors assist those who have experienced loss work through the pain and hurt. 

Do I Need Help?

There is no shame in looking for help when it comes to your grief. Everyone experiences grief in a different way. There is no threshold or quota for grief before you should seek out a counselor. It is up to you to decide if you want help. There are a number of reasons why one might seek out a grief counselor. Sorting out your experiences; speaking without feeling judged; relationship problems; numbness, anxiety, or distress because of the loss are common reasons why people look towards a counselor for assistance. 

What are You Looking For?

After you decide that you want to look for a grief counselor or therapist, there are a few things that you should consider. Do you want to meet them regularly? Are you looking for long- or short-term counseling? Do you want to do your counseling alone or in a group setting?These questions can help you narrow down the type of therapist you might be looking for, and what you think will help you the most.
Some people have preferences of who they feel more comfortable opening up to. Sometimes it can help to look for a therapist in a certain age range. You may prefer to talk to a woman over a man; or vice versa. Choosing or shopping around for a counselor that you are more comfortable with can give you more of an opportunity to open up and receive the care that you need. 
If you need or want your insurance to cover your sessions, look for offices or groups that can accept your insurance. This may narrow down the types of therapists and programs that are available to you.

What are the Therapist’s Qualifications?

The letters after the name of your counselor can often be confusing or complicated to some people. Each suffix on a therapist’s name can help you identify the level of training and their qualifications. MD specifies a doctorate from a medical school. They are the only therapist type that can prescribe medicine; but they will often work with other counselors to assist with their patients or prescribe medications to them. PhD, PsyD, and EdD are also doctorates, but their qualifications are achieved via colleges and field work, rather than a medical school. These four will have Dr. before their names.
MA, MS, LGPC, and LCPC refer to therapists with masters-level training in psychology. The “L” in the suffix refers to a license, which normally requires state training, certification, and review. MSW, LGSW, LCSW, LMSW, LISW, LSW, et cetera refers to social workers. There is a large number of letters that refer to social work, but they are indicated with an “SW.” Pastoral counseling is provided by a religious official in a church community. These are commonly noted by the suffix CCPT, CpastC, NCPC, NCCA. They will often take a more spiritual and theological approach to grief counseling.

Consider Your Budget

Your insurance may not cover certain counselors or therapists. You may want to explore what therapists you are covered for, or look elsewhere. Some professionals or not-for-profits may provide cheaper or alternative counseling. Your job may offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for therapy sessions. Speak with your employer or HR department to see if your work has an EAP program; and what it’s restrictions are. You may also need to determine timing, and when you would actually be able to visit a therapist.
The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here
For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.
 

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