Wednesday, December 28, 2011

10 Signs Death Is Near from

By Paula Spencer Scott, senior editor

No one can predict the moment of death. But physicians and nurses involved in end-of-life care know that certain symptoms are usually associated with the body's shutting down. These signs of approaching death are specific to the natural dying process (apart from the effects of particular illnesses the person may have).

Not all dying symptoms show up in every person, but most people experience some combination of the following in the final days or hours:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

9 Signs You're Headed for a Holiday Meltdown from

By Sarah Klein

Let’s face it. Some holiday-related stress is to be expected. Turkeys will be burned. Flights will be canceled. How you react to it determines how the holiday will be remembered. And the pressure hits some people harder than others.

So how can you become one of those people who chuckles at adversity—silly snowstorm!—instead of crying into your eggnog? Here are nine signs you could be headed for a holiday meltdown, and how to stop the implosion before it happens.

Survivors' Stories Featured in Lifeline Gallery from SAVE

Survivors of suicide loss might want to visit the Lifeline Gallery, where they can listen to everyday people's stories about coping after suicide -- as well as tell their own story of being bereaved by suicide.

Stories in the "Loss" section are for anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide.
Stories in the "Turning Points" section are for people who have survived a suicide attempt or have struggled with thoughts of suicide.
Stories in the "Helpers" section are for caregivers, advocates, or supporters working on behalf of suicide prevention.

When it was launched in 2008, the Lifeline Gallery was described in a Los Angeles Times health blog as a place where...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dealing with Holiday shopping stress and depression from MSNBC

NEW YORK — Chennel King, a nurse from Norwalk, Conn., went Christmas shopping the other day with a new holiday companion: a budget.

Despite a tough economic situation — her husband was laid off almost a year ago — King didn't want to disappoint her five children. So she still went to a mall in suburban New Jersey, but with a limit of $200 per child.

Plenty of Americans are having to hold back this year as the lure of flashy ads, tempting bargains and family expectations clashes with the realities of the economy. Experts in consumer behavior say that situation can strain the brain.

Friday, December 16, 2011

12 signs of depression in men. from

By Lisa Zamosky

More than 5 million men in the U.S. experience depression each year.

Clinical depression—in women or men—can cause sadness and a loss of interest in once pleasurable activities. But depression can sometimes manifest in different ways in different people.

"While the symptoms used to diagnose depression are the same regardless of gender, often the chief complaint can be different among men and women," says Ian A. Cook, MD, the Miller Family professor of psychiatry at the University of California–Los Angeles.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beat the Wintertime Blues from Nurse Together

If you are like me, you’re not a big fan of winter. However, for some people it is a far more serious concern and a real medical condition. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also referred to as the “wintertime blues” is a type of depression that mainly affects people during the late fall and winter seasons. It is most common in young adult women. According to E-Medicine Health, this condition affects as many as 6% of American Adults with another 10 to 20% experiencing mild symptoms. The exact causes are unknown but it is believed to be related to chemical changes in the brain caused by changes in or lack of sunlight. Experts also suggest that there may be a tendency for SAD to run in families.

Whether you or your patients are affected by SAD or not, spring is still a long way away. The end of January, all of February and even some of March can be a challenging time to stay upbeat, motivated and focused. I did my own unofficial survey, checking with friends, family and colleagues to get their ideas on beating the “winter time blues!” Here are a couple of suggestions – let me know your thoughts and favorites!

Women and depression: Factors that contribute to depression via Yahoo News

Depression is a major health problem in today's troubled world. Thousands of women each day struggle to get up, go to work, and take care of themselves and their children. Antidepressant drugs are prescribed by the thousands each day. What is contributing to the climbing rate of depression in this country?

There have been a number of research studies focused on trying to understand the factors responsible for the increased cases of serious depression. One group of researchers studied 92, 539 postmenopausal women from different income, cultural, and religious backgrounds. They published their findings in the Women's Health Initiative. Another research study conducted by Michel Lucas, Harvard School of Public Health, Nurse's Health Study, followed 49.821 women by questionnaires from 1993 until 2000. These women were depression-free when the research project began. These and other research studies point to several factors that increase the risk for women to develop depression.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Recognizing Signs of Depression in Our Patients from Nursing Together

In nursing school, we all likely studied mental health/psychiatric nursing, at least to some extent. We also likely did our clinical experiences in patient units specifically devoted to the care of those with mental health issues. We know, however, that we encounter the same kinds of issues no matter what type of patient population we serve. We take care of patients with these diagnoses on Medical-Surgical units, in long term care, in the Emergency Room, etc. In these settings, we may tend to focus more on the physical symptoms, but what about emotional symptoms, specifically depression?

Physical illness causes stress. Patients often feel a loss of control over their bodies, functions, and treatment. They may be experiencing a loss of income or worry about other financial issues. They may feel guilty for burdening their families with not only the financial cost of their illness, but the emotional issues that the family experiences. They grieve for their loss of independence in some cases and are fearful about the future. These factors are true not only in elderly patients, but in other age groups as well.

For the full article please press on the link.

11 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Depression Triggers from

By Tammy Worth

It's a myth that suicide is more common around the holidays (springtime is actually the peak). But holiday cheer isn't a given either.

High expectations, money woes, and other holiday hazards can spell trouble for anyone, but especially those prone to depression.

With a bit of foresight and planning, however, holidays can leave you feeling up, not down. Follow these tips for a successful holiday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why Antidepressants Don’t Work for Treating Depression

HERE’S SOME DEPRESSING RECENT medical news: Antidepressants don’t work. What’s even more depressing is that the pharmaceutical industry and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have deliberately deceived us into believing that they DO work. As a physician, this is frightening to me. Depression is among the most common problems seen in primary-care medicine and soon will be the second leading cause of disability in this country.

The study I’m talking about was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. It found that drug companies selectively publish studies on antidepressants. They have published nearly all the studies that show benefit — but almost none of the studies that show these drugs are ineffective. (1)

That warps our view of antidepressants, leading us to think that they do work. And it has fueled the tremendous growth in the use of psychiatric medications, which are now the second leading class of drugs sold, after cholesterol-lowering drugs.

The problem is even worse than it sounds, because the positive studies hardly showed benefit in the first place. For example, 40 percent of people taking a placebo (sugar pill) got better, while only 60 percent taking the actual drug had improvement in their symptoms. Looking at it another way, 80 percent of people get better with just a placebo.

Mind Control: How Your Body Can Automatically Improve Depression from Dr. Mark Hyman


By making different food and lifestyle choices, can you rid yourself of depression, boost your mood or even improve more serious conditions such as ADHD, autism and more?

In my experience, the answer is YES and I’ll show you precisely how in just a second.

But first, let me tell you about one of my patients, Sarah.

She’s a very vibrant, smart young woman of 18 who had just finished high school with honors and was admitted to a top university.

Even more exciting, her passion for theater and acting had recently landed her the lead role in a real movie.

The future ahead of her was bright and full of possibilities.

So why had Sarah’s distraught mother brought her to see me?

Well, over the previous few weeks, she had sunk into a debilitating depression.

It had gotten so bad that she wouldn’t go out, didn’t respond to friends’ calls, and couldn’t even get out of bed to watch television — which is pretty bad for a teenager!

Depression - Trends In Health Care Spending And Quality Of Care

An investigation in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals reveals that over one decade, costs for Medicaid-enrolled patients suffering from depression has significantly increased, although only slight improvements have been noted in quality of care.

The investigators explain:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Complicated Grief

The grief cycle always stings but it does include recovery via acceptance and adapation. Nonetheless, sometimes reactions to grief go well beyond the natural cycle and the skills of a grief counselor and require higher help. Abnormal or complicated grief can occur and in these cases requires this higher help. Abnormal characteristics include chronic depression, delayed grief, distorted grief, excessive grief, masked grief, or concomitant grief.

When analzying these reactions a few things need to be noted. First within a subjective element. The person who expeirences the grief reacts differently than another person may to the same thing. This is a result to the level of attachment to the thing or person valued. The greater the attachment, the greater reaction. The greater the reaction, the greater possibility for complicated reactions. Some reactions can be chronic depressive, some delayed and others masked.

From an objective standpoint, the grief event can be concomitant/multiple events or traumatic. The more severe the event the greater the reaction. This is the case of traumatic grief which is a result of a devistating event. These can include natural disasters, war, sudden loss, or mass death. Survivial guilt, death imprints and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome can all result from these.

In most cases, complicated grief reactions require medication and professional counseling. A grief counselor can work in concordance with an LPC. It is the primary duty of the grief counselor to pin point symptoms of complicated grief and direct their client to the appropritate help.

Friday, December 2, 2011

8 Splendid Truths of Happiness from Huffinton Post

Every Wednesday is "Tip Day," or "List Day."

In my study of happiness, I've labored to identify its fundamental principles. Because I get a tremendous kick out of the numbered lists that pop up throughout Buddhism (the Triple Refuge, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths, the eight auspicious symbols), I decided to dub these fundamental principles as my Eight Splendid Truths.

Each one of these truths sounds fairly obvious and straightforward, but each was the product of tremendous thought. Take the second splendid truth -- it's hard to exaggerate the clarity I gained when I finally managed to put it into words. Here they are:

For the full article please press the link.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

7 Steps for Dealing With Loss and Grief from Huffington Post

The experience of losing something we value is a part of life no one can escape from. Loss has many shapes and forms, it could be a relationship that comes to an end, a loved one dies, a break up comes, children leave or any other sort of transition that brings about a feeling of loss. When a feeling of loss happens, learning to cope is essential to be able to bounce back. When we lose something, we go through a period of grieving process which can generally start with denial and then go to feelings of anger, sadness and then acceptance. Awareness is important to make sure you're not stuck in any of these stages and that you can process each and move forward.

Here are some general steps you can follow when you're hit with a loss: Please press on the link for the full article.

Dying with Christian Dignity

Everyone’s ultimate cross and fate lies in death. For some death will come peacefully, others violently, while others will fight it to the end or meekly accept it. Whichever the case, all deserve dignity in their final moments. The Christian faith accepts death with dignity as a way of transformation from the temporal state to the eschatological state. In this transformation, life does not cease, but continues and is enhanced in the beatific vision for the just. Ultimately, even the temporal form of man, his body, will again taste life in the general resurrection.
Christianity faces death with dignity. It does not hope to trick death, fear death, or prematurely sacrifice oneself to it without greater cause. Christianity views death as the final cross and suffering where one can offer his or her pains to Christ in one last redemptive manner for one’s own sins and the sins of the world. The ironic ideal of death and suffering giving life and happiness is manifested when a Christian puts his faith and hope in Christ and accepts his or her cross. The ultimate paradigms of Christ and his saints show one how to accept these final moments; moments that differ from person to person in every way but ultimately lead to one destination which is God.
While Christ and his saints offer great insight into the acceptance of death, I would like to go beyond the mere spiritual preparation that involves prayer, sacraments, and other pious rituals. I would rather look at how a Christian within the modern world of science accepts death. Does the Christian seek an easy death that involves euthanasia, or does he seek to extend his life through every scientific means to the point of losing self identity? These are difficult questions but the church has given some insight for not only primary caregivers, but also for those competent enough to make the decisions regarding life and death in correlation with Christian dignity.
The terms ordinary and extraordinary measures are the foundation for such decisions in determining whether to prolong or cease life. Ordinary medical measures refer to any proven methodologies within the medical community that are needed in order for life to be maintained. Such examples would be any basic medications or proven surgeries that can cure the ailment. As Christians, we are called to accept the crosses that come with these procedures and choose life at all costs. Extraordinary measures, however, are measures that sustain life that are beyond the basic measures. Extraordinary measures could include experimental drugs, unproven surgeries and high risk procedures with no sure or certain outcome. Also included within this idea are any methods that sustain life artificially. Christians are given the option to choose or deny extraordinary measures. If they so choose, an extraordinary measure can be applied but the right to accept the natural consequences of death with human dignity is fully accepted within the Christian tradition. Such decisions on extraordinary measures are usually made by the patient if still lucid, but later fall to the family in order of legal authority.
Christians are to accept death with faith and hope and are encouraged to utilize modern medications and procedures but when these procedures and medications become overbearing and unfruitful, a Christian may with confidence meekly accept the final cross of his or her life and with love meet God in the afterlife.

By Mark Moran, MA

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Metaphysics and Death: The Brain a Metaphysical Organ

While far from a scientist but always a philosopher and theologian first, I would like to attempt to open dialogue and raise questions regarding the purpose of the brain and its relation to the body and the soul. I would also like to discuss issues of Near Death Experience as legitimate functions of the soul or merely physical reactions within the brain.
Secularists have attacked the nature of the soul, memory, and feelings as natural chemical reactions that can be interpreted as “abstract” but in reality exist within the material. Within the complex nature of the brain, emotions and memories arise but are merely an evolutionary adaptation from matter and nothing beyond the material. They further contend that the brain creates illusions of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) where the person actually believes his or her “soul” has left the confines of the body. The idea of depersonalization concerns the loss of emotion and the detached feelings people have upon the approach of death. This is why some explain why the person feels they are away from his or her body. The other element is hyperaltertness that deals with sharper hearing or vision and either dull or more vivid thoughts at the approach of death. Both these states help the person face dangerous situations. In times of crisis, if action is available, the natural defense mechanism is to act, however, according to secularists if no physical action is available the brain merely utilizes neural and spiritual imaging resources. In conclusion, the argument rests that the brain is merely a physical organ that via chemical processes can create altered states of consciousness and mimic spiritual existence beyond death.
Atheistic motivated psychology attempts to remove memory and abstract concepts as separate realities from the material world. It wants to divorce the idea that abstract ideals are beyond the physical and enforce a concept that through evolution, abstract concepts have sprung from the matter and clay of the brain. This is a huge jump without any empirical evidence. The reality is Socrates, Plato and Aristotle all view the ideas of the abstract as superior and separate to the material world. Concepts cannot be sensed via touch, sight, scent, taste or audio, but are ideas that transcend the temporal sphere. Concepts of justice cannot be dissected on an operating table, but only understood via manifestation. They do not exist within nature physically. Furthermore concepts of love, ideas, or shapes all exist outside the actual object. For instance, the idea of “squareness” exists within itself without material representation. Again, the concept that one plus one equals two exists without representation. Plato referred to these ideas as the universals. The universals exist as abstract concepts that cannot be understood via the senses but only via the intellect. He concluded independent spiritual abstract ideals that are beyond the touch of one’s senses can only be comprehended by the same spiritual “stuff” of the soul. Aristotle tied these two elements together when he took basic “matter” and” form” concepts and found the forms or universals within matter and individualized; the physical world reflected the spiritual forms. Hence emotion, spiritual sight, or any other abstract notion that escapes the lens of science is real and is manifested via the material world. These ideas do not originate from matter but are expressed via matter. This is a very different concept than what atheistic psychology proposes in its attempt to put science and theology at odds.

On the contrary, science is not at odds with theology for both claim the same source which is God. Biologically these chemicals are trace elements for the existence of emotion. They are not the origins of the emotion but the physical correlation of it. The idea that the body affects the mind and the mind affects the body is an undeniable principle that stems from the dualistic nature of man. Man is both body and spirit and in that combination and complicated fusion there lies interaction. Could one not deny the abstract concept of worry and its effect via ulcer? Or can one not deny the physical pain that can also cause emotional pain? An example would be the physical pain of surgery and also the psychological pain of the loss that correlates with that surgery? While hyperalertness and detachment may very well be biological evolutionary devices for the body to prepare for death or accept death, one cannot claim that they are solely biological. And if so, who is to claim that in some cases the mental state produced is biological and in other cases spiritual? Not everyone who experiences the close breath of the reaper claim NDE. With such conclusions, the ChristiaN or theist will not dismiss these chemical reactions within the brain or possible natural explanations for NDE visions, but instead will accept them and incorporate them relevantly to theology. In the end, scientific investigation and theology cannot be at odds, but in this case how do both find credence with each other?
The answer to this question is simple because the brain is the gateway to the soul. The brain is a metaphysical organ in many ways. It is capable of channeling the spiritual essence of man into physical or material coherence. In many ways it is an adapter that translates and shares the ideas of the soul into praxis with the body. This organ is metaphysical because it exists in both planes. No other organ can boast of such an ability. No other organ carries its responsibilities beyond the physical. While cliché phrases unite love with the heart, one cannot deny that the heart plays no spiritual or emotional role. The reality is the brain or the mind meets the soul half way and articulates its desires to the world. It is in this complex fusion of mind and body where the intellect and will of the soul shout to the world, “I am here”.
In this regard, the psychology of the mind is better understood within a prism of faith. Instead of proclaiming that certain chemical reactions in the brain create emotion, faith dictates that these abstract emotions are manifested via the brain through these chemical reactions. In pure sacramental form, the body manifests the soul, so why would it be any different at a more micro level? For science to proclaim that chemicals cause the emotion instead of vice versa is merely atheistic philosophy infused into science.
With this deeper understanding of the brain as a metaphysical organ we can answer a few challenges posed by secularists. First, as noted, we can dismiss the notion that chemical reactions in the brain are the cause for human emotion. Second, we can challenge ideas of brain death. Secularists contend that if a piece of the brain is removed or a part of it is damaged then the emotion and memories associated with that part is forever loss. With the image of the brain as a metaphysical organ and gatekeeper of the soul one can easily contend with equal reason and intelligence that the memory is merely inaccessible to the physical element of man. The reality is that it still exists within the intellect of the soul, awaiting healing or the final resurrection of the broken body with the soul. Finally, in regards to NDE, one can accept that not every vision is spiritual, but if the brain is seen as a metaphysical organ with such capabilities, then one cannot dismiss NDE on all counts within reasonable grounds. Who is to say what vision is a true manifestation of near death and a mere evolutionary coping device. One cannot empirically prove this. Unlike science, theology can speculate via hope and faith, science must empirically show evidence. There is no physical evidence to disprove that these numerous and diverse experiences stem from a spiritual reality.
With these ideals in place the Christian or theist can with good reason accept scientific findings regarding the functions of the brain without fear that science is posing a threat to their faith. The reality is both the spiritual and the physical are in harmony with one another. This is the case especially with the brain which acts as a perfect gateway that reflects the harmony of the soul and body. In many ways, one could speculate that this proposes a Trinitarian design that reflects the image of God and his inner-workings of Father, Son and Holy Spirit via body, soul and mind; three units working as one.

By Mark Moran , MA

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dark days? Bright ideas for coping with winter From MSNBC

Does winter get you down? Plenty of people suffer mood changes ranging from mild "winter doldrums" to full-blown seasonal affective disorder (aptly acronymed SAD), all due to the decrease in daylight that occurs in fall and winter and the hormonal changes that coincide with it.

"SAD is a serious condition, a subtype of major depressive disorder in which life can be severely compromised by fatigue, low mood, anxiety, reduced sex drive, and more," says psychologist and SAD specialist Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at New York's Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. "But SAD is really just the tip of the iceberg," he adds. Far more of us experience similar but less intense symptoms, becoming just short of clinically depressed. And that's just, well, sad.

Future Therapy can help today! from Science Daily

Patients with major depression do better by learning to create a more positive outlook about the future, rather than by focusing on negative thoughts about their past experiences, researchers at Cedars-Sinai say after developing a new treatment that helps patients do this.

While Major Depressive Disorder patients traditionally undergo cognitive-behavior therapy care that seeks to alter their irrational, negative thoughts about past experiences, patients who were treated with the newly-developed Future-Directed Therapy™ demonstrated significant improvement in depression and anxiety, as well as improvement in overall reported quality of life, the researchers found.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Women And Prescription Drugs: One In Four Takes Mental Health Meds from Huffington Post

When it comes to feeling depressed or anxious, or inattentive, women are more likely to take prescription medication than men, according to a new report from Medco Health Solutions, the pharmacy-benefit manager.

One of the more startling statistics in the report, which analyzed prescription claims data from 2.5 million insured Americans from 2001 to 2010, is that one in four women is dispensed medication for a mental health condition, compared to just 15 percent of men.

Antidepressant use especially is high among women, up 29 percent since 2001, the report showed, and anti-anxiety meds are used by women at almost twice the rate seen among men. In 2010, 11 percent of middle-aged women were on an anti-anxiety medication, while only 5.7 percent of men that age were. There's also a gender shift when it comes to the use of drugs for ADHD in adulthood: although the disorder is thought to afflict primarily young boys, slightly more women use ADHD medications as adults than men.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

5 ways to increase happiness from Huffington Post by Dr. Grohol

Happiness is one of those concepts we all seem to love to learn more about, but we are unwilling to take any big steps to increase it in our own lives. Some experts claim happiness can be found in a particular herb or a special diet, but there's little research to back up those claims.

What scientific research into happiness has shown us is that it can be increased in many different ways -- but you won't find the answer from a pill. Before you begin, you have to keep in mind that you control only about half of your happiness level. The other half is set by genetics, the situation and the environment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Treatment of Traumatic Grief

In the previous article we discussed what traumatic grief is and how it affects the survivor. We utilized Lifton’s five major themes that correspond with traumatic grief. In this segment, we will analyze the recovery procedures for people of traumatic grief. We will also include Christian principles that can heal the wounds of traumatic loss and grief.
The first step involves understanding the nature of the trauma. The trauma is so severe that it has brought one to the jaws of death. The realization that death is inevitable and was so close can negatively affect a survivor. Lifton’s first rule is to manage the symptoms of anxiety that correlate with the trauma. It is the goal of counselor to help the patient identify and face the pain associated with the trauma. Only then can the counselor help the patient feel less alone and push them towards a sign of hope. Strategies for symptom management help the patient realize they have control and hope. Some strategies include cognitive and behavioral therapies such as relaxation, or techniques for interpersonal skills. Medication is also an option to ease the emotional anxiety so the person can focus and heal. Support groups of people who share similar stories of trauma are also encouraged.
The second step involves reconstructing meaning. In this element, the person begins to find a place for the traumatic event in their life narrative. They face the trauma and then reconstruct their life story with the trauma of the past. This is the very definition of metaconstruction which integrates one’s past and future self conceptions into a new story.
The final element involves finding new spiritual wholeness. This is the final step of healing. In this step, the survivor must recover a new meaningful sense of purpose, return to society, and move towards a healthy self-acceptance of who one is. Some create survivor missions which give them a sense of destiny and ultimate value. Some find this value in God as its source, while others find non theistic means such a good of community or justice. In many ways this final step is a self acceptance and forgiveness of the past that eliminates the negative energy and produces good energy via praxis.
Obviously, God as the source produces the greatest recovery. However, some may remain bitter towards God for the evil that befell. These are signs that a full recovery is not there yet. The bitterness is negative and only until they are able to remove that darkness from their soul will they be healed. The saints and mystics focused their energy on Christ who suffered the most traumatic death. They focus on the trauma the Blessed Virgin faced seeing her son brutally murdered before her eyes. In that grief, they find love, support, and healing. They realize in this fallen world, they are not alone. No matter how traumatic the event, the end is resurrection in Christ. If survivors are able to go through the three steps of recovery, they will then be able to unify with Christ their sufferings and elevate it to a higher and supernatural level that the world cannot comprehend. This is the great mystery of Christian grief: through suffering comes redemption.
While traumatic grief and the pains of survivors are immense and require long periods of recovery, it is possible through good counseling, therapies, and God that one can again find meaning, wholeness, hope and love. This does not entail that the healing process eliminates the scar or the memory, but it does allow the person to accept those scars in a healthy manner and continue to carry their cross with dignity, hope, happiness and Christian charity.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Survivors of Traumatic Grief PART I

The deep emotional scars of survival from a traumatic event of terrorism, plague, natural disaster, or war can be devastating to the human soul. Such evil and mass death can cripple the person from properly healing and continuing one’s life story. While Christian grief looks at such events within the prism of God’s love and how his love can shine through the evils of men and the natural sufferings of the world, one cannot elevate this suffering to new heights until the human psyche is healed. Traumatic and complicated grief is the end result in these cases and the person is unable to recover. The natural grief recovery is stifled by the severity of the grief inflicted upon the person. In these cases, grief counseling is only the start. In many cases, professional licensed counselors are called upon to administer grief therapy and supply medication when needed.
A pioneer grief specialist in survivors of traumatic grief is Robert Lifton. Lifton defines a survivor as someone who has faced death and has remained alive. As a survivor who faces death, or mass death, Lifton listed five characteristics. These five characteristics are critical to understanding the nature and mindset of a survivor.
The first psychological theme is the death print. The death print is the images or memories of the death event. They can cause death anxiety and can be recalled with clarity many years later. Many survivors are haunted by the desire to replay the image of death over and over until they can find a more acceptable outcome.
The second theme is death guilt. Many survivors are tormented by survival guilt. This guilt manifests from the fact that others died and they did not. This is especially the case with parents who may lose a child. In other cases, death guilt can also manifest due to lack of proper performance in stressful situations. Some people will feel extreme guilt because they did not do this or that and due to inability failed to save someone.
The third theme is psychic numbing which can accompany chronic depression. Due to this phenomenon, someone’s crucial components of self are disassociated with the ego. This numbing in some cases is a self defense mechanism. Recovery from this involves intensive therapy to feel again.
The fourth theme according to Lifton is “suspicion of counterfeit nurturance”. This deals with the feelings that survivors have with interpersonal relationships. For the most part it manifests when survivors are reluctant to receive support because they refuse to admit to the damage the trauma has caused his or her soul.
The final theme is formulation. This is the struggle the survivor has to find meaning out of life after a traumatic ordeal . How does the traumatic event fit into the life story of the person? How does the person bridge the past to the future?
These five common themes of survivors are all elements a grief counselor will have to deal with as they rebuild the psyche of a person who has experienced a traumatic event of any type. In the end, the essential task of a survivor is to find meaning of the trauma and connect the loss to their life story. One must find a way to assert continuity of life while remaining true to the past traumatic event. After indentifying these themes in a person who has experienced traumatic grief, a counselor needs to work on each aspect and gradually rebuild the person and open the door to creating and reconstructing meaning in the person’s life. We will in future blogs review this process, but it is important to note, a Christian counselor of grief should also integrate the sufferings of Christ and point to Christ as a paradigm. Christ’s suffering ultimately is the most traumatic event in human history. One must unify his or her suffering under his cross to finally rise from the ashes as Christ did. Through hope in Christ, all wounds can be healed, even the most traumatic.

By Mark Moran, MA

Consider the Definition of 'Empowerment' from SAVE.

Submitted by Franklin Cook on Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:32
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Caregivers regularly use the term empowerment to describe an outcome they'd like to see realized by people whom they are assisting. Because usage of the term is widespread -- even as the word itself may mean different things to different people -- we are outlining, for the consideration and comment of our readers, key points from two articles on empowerment from two different perspectives.

One is from a scholarly article by Mann Hyung Hur from the Journal of Community Psychology and titled "Empowerment in Terms of Theoretical Perspectives: Exploring a Typology of the Process and Components across Disciplines."
The other is from a longtime mental-health consumer advocate, the late Judi Chamberlin, whose essay "A Working Definition of Empowerment" is available from the National Empowerment Center.

Things you never say to a cancer patient from Huffington Post

The first time someone uttered the words, "You still have hope" in response to my cancer, I almost slapped them. When an RN said these words -- meant to comfort me -- I raged. I was planning on a little more than hope.

But their mistake isn't unique. With cancer becoming more prevalent and people living longer and healthier, the sick are now venturing into society more, encountering acquaintances in social situations.

Miss Manners never addressed how to handle the news someone you barely know has a life-threatening disease with etiquette in five-minute small talk. There is no precedent on the social savior fare for this situation, and I have experienced some flubs. I put them in my list of Things to Never Ever Do or Say When Someone Tells You They Are Sick:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

10 Careers With High Rates of Depression

By Tammy Worth

Some jobs are more depression-prone than others.

Here are 10 fields (out of 21 major job categories) in which full-time workers are most likely to report an episode of major depression in a given year. But if you want to be a nurse (No. 4), it doesn’t mean you should pick another profession.

“There are certain aspects of any job that can contribute to or exacerbate depression,” says Deborah Legge, PhD, a licensed mental health counselor in Buffalo. "Folks with the high-stress jobs have a greater chance of managing it if they take care of themselves and get the help they need.”

Sexual harassment tied to depression, suicide

The accusations of sexual harassment leveled against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain by Sharon Bialek and others have drawn attention to a common, yet sometimes under-recognized, workplace hazard.

As many as 70 percent of women and 45 percent of men have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace, said Amy Blackstone, a sociologist at the University of Maine. The most common scenario involves a harasser creating a "hostile work environment" — in which a harassed person feels intimidated or uncomfortable, and can't perform his or her job well — but harassment can also involve the type of "quid pro quo" Bialek said she experienced.

Victims of sexual harassment can experience strained relationships in the workplace, but are also at risk for numerous health problems. Here are six health effects of sexual harassment:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Expert Offers Audio Primer on Complicated Grief

In an audio presentation for Psychiatric Times, Katherine Shear, an expert on complicated grief, delivers a talk on the topic that provides listeners with a concise and comprehensive primer. She gives -- in about 15 minutes -- a complete overview of the malady, noting that it affects as many as 10% of bereaved people. Shear begins by characterizing grief -- and even intense grief reactions -- as a normal response to the death of someone with whom the bereaved person has a close relationship, then differentiates complicated grief by clearly summarizing its causes, symptoms, assessment, and treatment.
One of many useful ingredients in Shear's presentation is her "five simple questions" to help a clinician assess whether a person who is having continuing, intense grief symptoms a year or more after the death might be suffering from complicated grief:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hospice Foundation of America's Lunch N Learn Series

Hospice Foundation of America is excited to offer a fresh approach to a new set of one-hour educational programs, our “Lunch 'n Learn” series. Each one will feature a panel of experienced professionals offering their own expertise on the topic as well as discussing it with one another and the moderator. If you logon for the live version of the program you will not only be able to see the panelists on screen, but also will have the opportunity to send in questions that they will answer and discuss during the program.

HFA’s 2011/2012 “Lunch 'n Learn” programs begin October 5, 2011. Each program will examine a different topic to meet the diverse need of hospices and communities around the country. Then each one will be available for up to a year after its initial live air date. The cost is $85 per program for hospice (or other) organizations or $35 per program for individuals. CEs are available at a cost of $10/person. Register online now to make sure you don’t miss out on these timely and helpful topics! (Or register by mail/fax with this form.)

Pioneers in Grief Study


J. William Worden

Worked with the grief of widows and how they moved on after the death of their husbands. His numerous awards and memberships are the following —Influential Leader Award in Grief and Loss, American Academy of Bereavement (2005) Association of Death Education & Counseling-ADEC (Founding Member) International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement-IWG (Founding Member) Influential Leader Award in Grief and Loss, American Academy of Bereavement (2005) Clinical Practice Award, Association of Death Education and Counseling (1993)

Elizabeth Kubler Ross
1926-2004- She was a psychiatrist and a pioneer in near death studies.She was the author of Death and Dying (1969) in which the Kubler-Ross model was first introduced.

Edward John Mostyn "John" Bowlby
1907–1990. He was a British psychologist most notable for his interest in child development and his ideas on attachment theory.

Erich Lindemann
Most notable for his studies on traumatic grief especially in regards to the Cocoanut Grove night club fire in the 1940s.

Sigmund Freud
1856-1939. He viewed grief as a pathological issue that if not resolved resulted in dysfunction. One must purge him or herself from the attachment and form new relationships. This idea has been replaced with newer ideals of attachment theory and meaning making where the loss is reformatted into the life story and revered and respected but never totally removed from the self.

Monday, November 7, 2011

End of Life Decisions

End of Life Decisions. Online Video.
Highly recommended


Models of Grief


Worden’s Four Tasks-dealt with widows and their moving on in life
1. Task 1. Acceptance
2. Task 2. Working through it
3. Task 3. Adjustment
4. Task 4. Emotionally relocate the deceased and move on

Kubler Ross Model
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance

Rando’s Six Rs
Recognize, React, Recollect, Relinquish, Readjust, Reinvest

John Bowlby and the Process of Mourning
Preoccupation, Disorganization, Reoganization

Lindeman’s Three Steps
Acceptance, Adjusting, Forming New Relationships

Activity: The Antidote to Depression From Huffington Post

Most individuals who suffer from depression believe, "Once I feel better, I'll start calling friends again/making dinner plans/playing golf/planning a vacation/etc., but right now, I just don't have the will." Most of these people are not aware of the research, conducted in numerous Cognitive Behavior Therapy studies, that has consistently demonstrated that those who suffer with depression have to put the cart before the horse. That is, in order to feel better, depressed people need to start getting actively re-involved with life right away even though they may not want to or believe they can.

People with clinical depression might understand this concept on an intellectual level, but they frequently experience interfering thoughts such as, "I'm too tired/It won't make me feel any better/My friends will be busy/I won't enjoy the dinner/It's too much effort/Nothing will make me feel better." Cognitive Behavior Therapy helps clients grasp the idea that their thoughts may be 100 percent true, 0 percent true, or some place in the middle. In my own practice, I tell depressed patients that I don't have a crystal ball so I can't predict the validity of their predictions -- but I also gently ask them whether they, themselves, have a crystal ball.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can omega-3 fatty acids help prevent depression? From CNN

Mental Health Expert Dr. Charles Raison Psychiatrist,
Emory University Medical School
Expert answer

As is so often the case in this blog, the answer to your question is a resounding "maybe." Lots of studies have been done looking at omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of both unipolar (what I sometimes call "regular old") depression and for depression in bipolar disorder. The findings are mixed.

As unclear as the data are for using omega-3 fatty acids to treat depression, we know even less about whether omega-3s might actually prevent depression.

Most of the work that has been done in this area has focused on preventing post-partum depression. Taken as a whole the results are not very promising.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Types of grief

Real- Existing grief that affects the person.
Imagined – Potential grief that could possible happen
Anticipated – Future grief that is near or soon to come; anticipation of the death of a terminally ill relative
Disenfranchised- Grief that is not acknowledged by society or given enough attention; death of a pet or miscarriage
Complicated - Grief that is not resolved according to natural paradigms and become pathological
E. ABSENT-Masked or repressed
F. CONCOMITANT—Multiple grief due to multiple situations
Traumatic- A grief due to severe trauma; symptoms include separation anxiety and cause impairment within the social sphere.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

List of online grief support sites from

There are a number interactive online support communities for people bereaved by suicide that merit attention as potentially helpful resources. The examples, below, of several communities that are relatively well established and frequently used will hopefully serve as a starting place for survivors of suicide loss who are interested in exploring whether online assistance is right for them:

For the full article please go here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Story of a man's loss and the small things he did to cope.

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Tom Zuba has experienced unthinkable amounts of grief.

The Rockford native first dealt with the death of his 18-month-old daughter, Erin, in 1990 from hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Nine years later, Zuba's wife, Trici, died from the effects of a hereditary blood disorder at age 43. In 2005, his 13-year-old son, Rory, died of brain cancer.

"I have been in the deepest, darkest, most confusing, most overwhelming hole that we call grief," he told nurses Sept. 15 at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center's Nursing Ethics Fall Conference, titled Consciously Nurturing the Heart of Healing. "Not once. Not twice. But three times. I would not wish this amount of pain on anyone." Full story at the link above.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New website for Child Grief

A Child in Grief is a new site offered by the New York Life Foundation. It has information, resources, and links to help those in need counsel a grieving child. Please stop by and visit it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Terminal Illness and Family Dynamics

Modern medicine is rapidly transforming the nature of death. Increasingly, sudden or quick death as the norm is being replaced with a lengthy process that only begins with a terminal diagnosis that marks the beginning of a long, winding and grueling crisis. This process is what we call the new grief. Unlike sudden death this new grief is a crisis that includes the patient as well as his or her family and loved ones. And much like Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol," during the long night that is terminal illness families may find themselves confronted by many unpleasant ghosts before dawn arrives. However, just as Dickens's story has a happy ending, so can the process of family grief.

For Full article, click here:

By: Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D..Clinical psychologist and author.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Book on Grief !

LaGrand offers sage advice that helps us to grow even in grief.”
Ken Doka, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, The Hospice Foundation of America


HEALING GRIEF, FINDING PEACE: 101 Ways to Cope with the Death of a Loved One

Lou LaGrand, Ph.D. is a grief counselor and one of the founders of Hospice & Palliative Care of the St. Lawrence Valley, Inc.. He gives workshops on grief and loss throughout the US and his special research interest is the Extraordinary Experiences of the bereaved.

Inside each coping-packed chapter find these features . . .

Reduce the pain of mourning.
Find peace of mind by building a strong inner life.
Eliminate unnecessary suffering.

INTRODUCTION: How to Ease the Hurt and Heartache
Millions of people have eliminated unnecessary suffering when mourning the death of a loved one by looking within, altering perceptions and the quality of one’s inner life. A key to accomplishing this task is to avoid the trap of spending too much time in the past so that you become mired in it and cannot reach the major goal of grieving: acceptance of the reality of your great loss.

Ch. 1. Five Gifts That Will Get You through Any Loss
Everyone can access these five gifts.
Ch. 2. The Critical Overlooked Factor in Coping with Death
Ch. 3. What You Need to Know About Grief and Healing
Ch. 4. Inner-Active Healing Strategies
Ch. 5. Powerful Long-Term Healing Strategies
Ch. 6. Little-Used But Highly Effective Healing Strategies

The tone is straight forward and to the point and yet remains compassionate. The content is without a doubt riveting and includes more practical suggestions than any book on the market.

Sourcebooks Inc.
Link to full information: access here

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grief Recovery

Past psychological misconceptions on grief portrayed grief as an irregular element of human experience that needed to be avoided at all costs. In some cases, it was even classified as a pathology that needed cleansed from the system. Freud insisted that energy devoted to what was lost, must be reinvested into new things or new relationships. This materialistic concept of the “now” and “here”, swept away the spiritual needs of the soul and attachment to the lost object or person. While complicated grief can become a pathology, it is dangerous within grief counseling, especially within Theistic theology, to quickly dismiss the grief process from regular mourning. Grief, even from a non religious standpoint, is now beginning to be seen as an important element of human existence and an emotion that should not be surgically removed from the consciousness at first diagnosis. While from a theological standpoint, one can say grief is unnatural to man from an eschatological view, one cannot dismiss grief an integral part of the fallen state of historical man.

While the secular view would dismiss the fallen state, it would agree that historical man’s feelings of grief are integral to his overall existence and should not be spurned but properly utilized within the healing process. Most importantly, contemporary grief analysis would concur that attachment to the lost should never be swept into the abyss of the subconscious, but should be reshaped and reformulated to fit the new meaning of the person’s life.

In analyzing the new ways grief is properly seen within the light of psychology, two things are apparent. First, grief is a natural element in the life of historical man and cannot be dismissed but worked through, and second, the losses of grief are always part of the particular person’s psyche and cannot be eliminated, but must be accommodated in a healthy fashion into the person’s life story. Accommodation in this way becomes an important element in contemporary grief theory. In the past it sits in the background and replacement became the key. Freud insisted one must remove all psychic energy from the deceased or lost and emphasize one’s new energy into new enterprises. Grief was seen as a sickness or unnatural state. This misconception prevents true healing. It creates a “robot” response to death or loss which is unnatural and realistically impossible. Only a true sociopath could remove himself from the loss of a loved one, granted selfish interest was not affected. With such separation from human emotion, infusing energy elsewhere and replacing the lost with something new, drew a sharp dichotomy of the person “past” and the person “present”. It broke the story line and failed to connect the two persons of past and present for the healthy person of the future. Accommodation in this respect takes the energy and reinvests it into the lost person in a healthy fashion. It does not hope to change the past, but insert it into the story line of the existing person. It hopes to find value and new meaning within the loss. This involves creating a new chapter or a change of the plot, but it does not underestimate the importance of the previous chapters of the person’s story. The story remains uncut from its past and continues to build new chapters. If one adds a theological perspective, it also understands, that future chapters will again, reintroduce this character back into their life story. In fact, within a theological perspective, the lost character never leaves the story, but is involved at a different spiritual level, ready to be introduced physically in an eschatological era.

This is the power of accommodation of loss and the importance of meaning making in one’s historical narrative. The lesson: the present and future need the past to exist and one should not try to escape it or surgically remove it, but allow it to become part of what one is today.

Attachment is the other key. Attachment theory is the basis of all human interaction. From the cradle to the grave, people experience attachments at some level. The highest bonds are usually between parents and their children, but throughout life, attachment varies in extreme and intensity.

The primary principle revolves around this intensity. The strength of the bond depends on dependency and intimacy. The reaction to loss is hence based upon the strength of these things. Hence when dealing with the grieving, a counselor should be aware of the bond that has been broken. Is one dealing with an attachment involving a simple three month break up or a divorce of a ten year marriage? Is one dealing with the death of a distant aunt or the death of a mother or father? These subjective elements will play large roles in grief recovery due to the attachment applied to that person. In the same regards, a woman who was somewhat interdependent may recover quicker than a woman who was completely dependent upon her husband.

From a theological standpoint, theists can take these attachments to another level with God. While in the temporal reality, one must accept, even the greatest joys of this world will one day be taken away, one can with assurance of faith believe God’s love can never fade. Many studies have shown that those who experience loss find meaning and reconstruction quicker by their faith in God. God represents the most stable and perfect attachment; an attachment that can never disappoint or cease to exist. However, one of the most reassuring aspects of attachment with God is that all the good attachments that have been lost, will again be shared in the eschatological state. Even a materialist, who denies the existence of God, cannot deny the emotional benefits of hope from a purely psychological state. For this reason, attachment that goes beyond the mere human attachments presents a very powerful tool for coping during grief.

From these perspectives, attachments should not be seen as possible pathologies, but are important social links to human existence. Everyone forms bonds and attachments to people. These attachments should not be seen as horrible ghosts when they are severed but should be revered and respected and reformatted into one’s future narrative. It is true as the poet once said, “It is better to have loved and lost, than never loved at all”.

By: Mark D. Moran, MA, GC-C
Certified Grief Counselor

Friday, September 23, 2011

Childhood Deaths Continue to Decline, But Are We Doing All We Can?

Each year, I eagerly await the publication of one number: the number of childhood deaths around the world. That number, which has gone down from 20 million in 1960, to about 12 million in 1990, to less than 8 million last year, makes a powerful statement about the progress the world has made in confronting inequities.

For full article: access

By Melinda Gates

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Broken relationships and Attachment Theory

A lot of literature about grief is overwhelmingly death orientated. This is a good thing in that death is a universal experience but it is not an everyday thing. True, the loss of a loved permeates one’s daily life long after the event, but the actual event is singular and for the more fortunate, not nearly as regular. The reality is most people go to counseling for relationship loss.

Grief counselors deal with many people who are devastated by divorce, a cheating spouse, a broken engagement, or the sudden change of not having that person to call, hold, or spend time with. These aspects are very common to the human experience. With proper guidance, the wounds become scars and help one grow emotionally and sometimes spiritually. The loneliness and the un-needed anxiety people experience in finding a mate can be stressful enough for some, but when one truly believes they found the one, only to be shocked that everything was an illusion can be a horrifying change. Changes in life style from the tiniest schedule can shake the foundation of that person’s life. Even the smallest scent or image can bring a tidal wave of emotional imagery. Unfortunately there are no short cuts in this adaptation period. As so many grief specialists emphasize, one must do their “grief work”. They must experience the change the emotional pain that accompanies it. Of course, as death, there is the acceptance stage, the emotional stage of anger and mourning, and the final adaptation to the new situation.

A good grief counselor will guide the broken person through these phases and encourage emotional release in the healing process. Only after these initial steps, can the person utilize new meaning concepts to a new reality and properly place the lost relationship in its proper perspective of his or her life story. The question arises why does this adaptation take so long for some people? It all varies based upon the level of attachment. Attachment theory is a theory that was used in great depth with widows or widowers in their loss of a spouse. The same can be applied to broken relationships that do not involve death, but separation. The attachment will determine the length of the adaptation to the person.

So, if someone was in a relationship for many years and suddenly the relationship ceased, one should expect a greater withdrawal and more intense and lengthy adaptation period. The opposite can be said for a short two month affair where there is little attachment and hence less adaptation. As a grief counselor, it is important not to only deal with death but also every day pains of the heart. Proper understanding of attachment can help one assess the situation and lay a ground work for eventually adaptation and assimilation of the past into the person’s present. One can never give a time frame for recovery, but with a special guidance, a grief counselor can help a person understand the phases and steps and help them take the necessary steps for a happy future with someone else.

By: Mark Moran, MA, GC-C Certified Grief Counselor Email:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Mother's Grief: Burying Her Child

Burying a child: A mother's unending grief

By Sanjay Gupta, M.D., Chief Medical Correspondent
August 11, 2011 10:37 a.m. EDT

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Ways to Think About Grief

By Ruth Davis Konigsberg
Time Magazine US

The five stages of grief are so deeply embedded in our culture that they've become virtually inescapable. Every time we experience loss — whether personal or national — we hear them recited: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. They're invoked to explain our emotional reaction to everything from the death of a loved one to the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill to LeBron James' abandoning the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.

The stages have become axiomatic, divorced from the time and place of their origin. If you were to read Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's On Death and Dying — the book that in 1969 gave the five stages their debut — for the first time today, you might be surprised to discover that Kübler-Ross, then a staff psychiatrist at Billings Hospital in Chicago, was actually writing about the experience of facing one's own death, not the death of someone else. It was other practitioners, having found the stages so irresistibly prescriptive, who began applying them to grief, a repurposing that Kübler-Ross encouraged. After all, there was no specific data set to contradict, no research protocols to follow: Kübler-Ross had based her theory on onetime interviews she had conducted with terminally ill patients, but she never asked them specific questions about the stages, because by her own account, she only conceived of them while up late at night after she had already been commissioned to write On Death and Dying.

For complete online article: click here

Read more:,9171,2042372,00.html#ixzz1USCqzJ8B

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spiritual Life Coaching: Respecting Other People's Opinions

Spiritual Life Coaching can help you to transcend the ego and learn how to honor and respect other people's opinions, no matter how much they may oppose yours. When you understand the importance of honoring other people's opinions, you dissolve the basis for all conflict, violence, and war on this planet.

At this point you may be asking, "What if one side is right and the other is wrong? Doesn't the mere fact that one side is right justify its passion?" Try not to think of disputes as one side being right and the other being wrong. To the Next Human, both sides are right based on their individual viewpoints. Everyone clings to their own truth in accordance with their own unique perspective.

Just because you have a different view of the world than your neighbor, it doesn't necessary follow that they are wrong. And that's why people get into arguments, and fight, and create conflicts, and cause wars, because the ego says, "You're wrong and I'm right, and therefore you are my enemy." And of course, this is madness from the higher perspective of the Self Realized.

A three-year-old boy doesn't know what he's doing when he knocks over your wine glass, breaking it and staining the carpet. He simply doesn't know better. A baby girl doesn't know better when she screams and cries so loudly that you think your eardrums will pop. And a puppy dog doesn't know any better when it chews up your brand new pair of shoes and urinates on your carpet. They just don't know any better. And so it is the same with people.

So whatever they do, no matter how heinous it may seem, must be understood as; that's simply where they are. If people knew better, they would be behaving better. It's that simple. It's called the hierarchy of consciousness. The bee has a higher level of consciousness than a flower. A cat has a higher level of consciousness than a mouse. And an whale has a higher level of consciousness than a turtle. And so it is with people. Everyone has their own individualistic opinion based on where they are on the ladder of consciousness.

No One is separate from the divine, no matter how hard they try to be. Now, that being said, that doesn't mean that we should just sit on the sidelines and become apathetic to all of the violence that pervades today. To the contrary, we can end it all overnight. But we can't get there until we begin to look at the violence from the higher perspective of Spirit. Spiritual Life Coaching can help us to practice non-judgment, non-reaction, non-resistance, and non-violence in our daily life. Then we will no longer be perpetuating the violence that already is. We will be weakening it.

When you blame yourself for anything, you are judging yourself. If you do something unconsciously, then afterward awaken to it and blame yourself for "being unconscious," you are still judging yourself and therefore remain unconscious. When you are unconscious, you "know not what you do" and therefore are never to blame for whatever it is you do while you're unconscious. Transcending blame is a prerequisite to your spiritual freedom. The "I am bad" thought that arises because of a "horrible" thing that you did in the past is always judgment and therefore still a sign of unconsciousness.

Spiritual Life Coaching can help you to reach this level of awareness now. It can help you to understand that you don't need to hold yourself accountable for the sins or mistakes of your past. Because you were not conscious of what you were doing, there is no need to hold a grudge against yourself. Know that you were not acting as your true Self and you will never judge your Self or anyone else again. This level of consciousness is the key to peace for you as well as everyone on the planet.

by Jason Lincoln Jeffers

Spiritual Life Coach, Jason Lincoln Jeffers is the founder of The Art of Transformation, a company devoted to teaching Self Realization to the world. His Spiritual Life Coaching program uniquely combines ancient spiritual wisdom with self transcendence, holistic wellness, predictive astrology, shadow & pain-body work, heart-based intention, the power of presence, and the law of attraction.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Memorial Wooden Urns Come In Many Unique Styles

by Merle Nixon

Though wooden urns used to be simple, yet elegant, boxes, times have changed. Today, it is possible to choose from many unique styles. As more individuals choose cremation, their resting place options have indeed increased.

Choosing the type of wood that is a favorite is often the beginning part of the decision making process. These memorials are constructed from all kinds of favorite woods. Rosewood, redwood, maple, walnut, oak and cherry are all available. The choices for wood finishes also ranges from the very light to the very dark. With some intricate wood grains, a natural finish is also popular.

Detailed corners and edges are top features in these beautiful wood boxes. They are actually much like high quality furniture, and as such they receive attention to detail and construction that is the same. These tiny pieces of beautiful woodwork must be made very well as they will be on display for many years to come.

Styles are so varied that it may be very difficult to choose just the right one. Knowing about hobbies, pursuits, religious preference, and career can make the decision easier. These beautiful memorials can be purchased to reflect just about any lifestyle.

Angels are a popular subject for these artistic creations. Frequently posed on the top of a memorial, with arms and wings outstretched to guard over the loved one, these tender cherubs and guardians make sentimental additions to the wooden boxes. Name plates and candles holders in a variety of materials are often included.

Laser engraving into the wood is a popular and attractive way to enhance the design of these memorials. The complex patterns add to the look of luxury. This laser artwork is highly prized for the intricate beauty it adds.

For the passionate hobbyist, railroad trains, birds and flowers, butterflies and horses are just some of the decorative additions possible. A cowboy might choose a fancy saddle or boots. A nature enthusiast may pick frogs, bears, or leaves.

For sports fans, there plenty of sports equipment replicas that might be added to the memorial box. Some attractive versions come with picture frames. These can hold a favorite beloved photo. Often that picture taken in uniform speaks volumes about the person remembered.

Handsome wooden boxes in black lacquer feature armed forces medallions on the front. Service in any branch of the military can be shown. Or service as a fireman, policeman, paramedic, or doctor may be remembered with appropriate symbols.

Wooden urns make lovely memorial remembrances for those who have passed away. Any life path can be honored with a high quality choice carefully selected from among the many available. A fitting tribute to a loved one can be made in this way.

Wooden Urns

Monday, April 18, 2011

Does God Choose When the Spirit Leaves the Body or Do We?

An interesting article which leaves the reader pondering some important questions!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Myths and Facts about Grief

Myths and Facts About Grief
MYTH: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.

Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.

MYTH: It’s important to be “be strong” in the face of loss.

Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “protect” your family or friends by putting on a brave front. Showing your true feelings can help them and you.

MYTH: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.

Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.

MYTH: Grief should last about a year.

Fact: There is no right or wrong time frame for grieving. How long it takes can differ from person to person.

Source: Center for Grief and Healing
Access full article

Monday, March 28, 2011

Doctors, nurses focus on caring for patients despite their losses

An excellent story on the Grief that health care providers may confront in times of crisis.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bereavement Education Conference


Free Education Series Announced for Hospice Bereavement Personnel
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (March 16, 2011) – The Brandenburg Maas life Transition Center today announced the official launch of its Advances in Bereavement (AIB) education initiative, a free nationwide program developed to provide access to contemporary topics for hospice bereavement personnel.
"Our research shows that many hospice bereavement staff simply don't have access to the latest information available from the field," said Donna Brandenburg, BMLTC's Founder and Executive Director. "Cuts in Medicare funding have left many bereavement programs under-staffed and education support under-funded,” Brandenburg added.

The AIB initiative is offered at no charge to all hospice bereavement personnel in the United States who are registered with AIB. The programs faculty include some of the most notable and respected experts in thanantology and bereavement to deliver the program content. Experts participating in the series and the subjects that they will address include Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., C.T., Prolonged Grief Disorder; Kenneth Doka, Ph.D. Greiving Beyond Gender; Robert Neimer, Ph.D., The Meaning of Making Meaning; and Sherry Russell, MA, BCBT, BCETS, Traumatic Stress in Hospice Bereaved. Other subjects are being planned for inclusion in the ongoing series.
Registration with AIB includes all issues of the AIB Magazine available online, the professional speaker series, follow-up chat sessions with the experts, peer networking opportunities and a host of other resources available through the AIB website . AIB offers all of its content and presentions through virtual media - an added benefit to participants. Registration is available to the first 1,000, and is limited to those working in hospice settings in the US.

A growing body of knowledge in the field of thanantology is yielding a more comprehensive understanding of grief, projecting many differing theories, techniques and approaches in support of the bereaved. Advances in Bereavement brings this varied thinking to the forefront of bereavement care for the hospice professional, and expands access to information and to the pioneers and contemporaries who provide it.
For more information about Advances in Bereavement, or to register for participation, go to

Advances in Bereavement is a philanthropic program of the Brandenburg Maas Life Transition Center, established in 2009 as a priviately funded and mission-driven organization to support projects, initiatives, and research that address personal transition periods and life altering pathways in the areas of health, loss, careers, and relationships.
Contact AIB
(616) 826-9165

Friday, March 4, 2011

Welcome to the Blog of the American Academy of Grief Counseling. All of our certified members, students and all health care professionals are invited to join our "blog" community. Please feel free to begin conversations related to the subjects of grief and bereavement, death and dying, etc. We also welcome notices of events, seminars, new books, and any and all information relevent to Grief Counseling. This blog is monitored by a moderator. Thank you for joining!

Dominick L. Flarey, Ph.D, RN-BC, FACHE
Executive Director