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Coaching? Clinical Counseling? How to know the right path!

Updated: May 30, 2022

As a MSSW graduate from UT Arlington in Texas, I have been a social work professional for twenty-six years, with a passionate focus on both physical & mental health disabilities. I am also a 2021 graduate from IOPGC, an ICF accredited training program that certifies grief life coaches. However, in terms of GRIEF, never did I remotely think that the DSM-5 Psychiatric Manual, with use of research and statistical methods, would literally hijack a common human emotion such as GRIEF. Regardless of ethical and professional resistance, the professional mental health community continues to justify their actions thereof, to include psychiatry, psychology, and yes, even my profession of social work. I mean hijack to the point of imposing a DSM-5 mental health code into a person's life that negatively labels a natural response to death and loss that has been common to the human journey since the beginning of time. After all, we grieve because we love.

What I recently learned, while in conversation with a U.S. mid-west mental health professional, is that she is "very slow to diagnose grief as a disorder of any kind, for it permanently follows their health records; after all they already have enough to deal with, so why place something else on them that only complicates their lives. They are grieving, and in most cases, because they loved and for no other reason." Her statement stunned and shocked me, yet it also validated her ethics and compassion for her clients. God bless her! An emotion called GRIEF, is now referred to as Prolonged Grief Disorder and/or Complicated Grief. Can these challenges exist? Yes, but more often than not, it's the natural human response that deserves affirmation unless the following two pre-existing circumstances impede a natural response to the personal loss: (a) trauma-related sudden death; and/or (b) co-morbid mental health diagnoses that impose barriers to processing the loss and remaining grounded in daily living.

Counseling and therapy hold a rightful place within the mental health community, yet from Mourning Joy's perspective, and certainly mine, Certified Grief Life Coaching is the optimal pathway forward when a family member, friend, or colleague departs this life and leaves loved ones here to mourn their loss until eternity reunites them once again. Grief Life Coaches use a forward movement intervention model as compared to traditional therapeutic counseling which often goes backwards and remains in a clinical emotional landscape that rarely moves an individual forward to a place of progress and restored hope, and if it does occur the client must be compliant and willing to put forth the hard work necessary to achieve the optimal outcome of healing and restored hope. Let me declare that GRIEF is normal. GRIEF is not regulated by a clock. GRIEF brings pain, yet normal pain as I indicated above, and all because we loved! GRIEF deserves a "Pillar of Hope" multifaceted coaching method that provides dynamic strategies that are supported by a Certified Grief Life Coach; strategies that ultimately help a grieving heart achieve healing and HOPE! How is this achieved in the heart of someone hurting from deep within? To answer this question, we must first embrace and acknowledge the inward pain of grief's voice and discover the healing path of mourning in action.

Thus, my passion to intervene with a more compassionate and still professional approach after living a life etched with grief since age seven, and a pandemic for several years that has shrouded our world. Mourning Joy's mission is to offer solutions that avoid an unnecessary stereotypical label that suggests abnormality rather than normality and acceptance, if at all possible. To avoid an unnecessary hijacking that may induce further pain and self-condemnation, I encourage you to visit Mourning Joy's website and become familiar with grief-related information; read the Testimonial page, and also the Events page to register for upcoming conferences, webinars, and informative interviews. Conferences are facilitated by Sonja Camden via online Zoom and are FREE.

In closing, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to walk your journey with you and to coach you both with wisdom and enthusiasm across the goal line of peace and restored hope, unless your life circumstances suggest the need for a clinical counseling approach that will promote a greater likelihood of healing your inward pain. Your pain might be more than the loss of a loved one but also unresolved pain that has occurred through your life journey.


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