The changes that come with the arrival of fall (cooler weather, kids returning to school) can make this a difficult time for those who are grieving the death of someone close to them. For many Canadians, there was an empty spot at the Thanksgiving table over this past weekend. I frequently speak with families about "grief bursts" - sudden bursts of grief that can catch us off guard, months and also years after someone has died. Fall tends to be a time when grief bursts abound, and even more so if you had someone close to you die during this season. If you have been surprised by the intensity of your grief this fall, please know that you are not alone.
In this newsletter I have included some of my favourite grief and mental health resources, including a new grief and bereavement volunteer handbook which is available free of charge. I have also highlighted my upcoming events (including tomorrow's webinar) and new information about my counselling practice. Feel free to contact me directly if you have questions about any of the content.
Also, I wanted to let you all know that I and my family are thrilled to be welcoming a new baby into our lives in the coming weeks. I anticipate that I will have my hands full for the next while and for this reason will likely not send another newsletter until the New Year. I look forward to being back in touch with you then.
Certificate Program in Children's Grief and Bereavement (Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, Toronto)
The dates for this year's 5-module certificate programare below. Module 1 has already been held but it's not too late to join in for any of the other modules as they can be taken individually. For more information or to register for any or all of the modules please visit here.
Module 2: Thursday October 15, 2015, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm: When Death Darkens the Door: Supporting Bereaved Children and Youth (with Andrea Warnick and Julia Porter)
Module 3: Tuesday November 17, 2015, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm: Supporting Grieving Children and Families Using Mindfulness and Compassion (with Andrea Warnick, Andrew Blake,and Marianne Gocker)
Module 4: Tuesday January 19, 2016, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm: When Grief Gets More Complicated (with Andrea Warnick and Colleen Mousseau)
Module 5: Tuesday February 23, 2016, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm: Dancing in the Darkness: Creative Approaches to Working with Grieving Children and Youth (with Andrea Warnick and Lysa Toye)
Volunteer Handbook Available
I'm proud to share A Handbook for Volunteers: Supporting Children Grieving the Dying and Death of a Loved One. This phenomenal resource was produced by the Children and Youth Grief Network, a collaboration of six Peel regional grief organizations and Andrea Warnick Consulting, and compiled by Dana Bingley.
The handbook includes the following 5 sections:
Supporting Grieving Children and Families
Planning your Approach
Activities for Grieving Children
Supplementary Materials for Supporters
Resources for Children and Caregivers
Please note: This handbook is intended for volunteers or practitioners who have received formalized training in the field of children’s grief and bereavement support. It is a supplementary resource and in no way replaces formalized training.
When we witness those we care about experiencing intense emotional pain, the instinct of many people is to try to "fix" the pain. Yet when the emotional pain is due to the dying or death of someone close to the person who is grieving, the best approach we can take involves resisting the instinct to "fix" or "distract" from the feelings and instead bear witness to the feelings. This can be particularly challenging when it is a child who is grieving. Try to remember that children benefit from expressing their feelings and by having caregivers who teach them (and model for them) that grief is a natural and healthy human response when experiencing the dying or death of someone in their life.
Counselling Services - New Counselling Office Location
My counselling office is now located in Toronto on Danforth Ave. Just a two minute walk from Chester subway station.
My main practice day for in-person sessions is Wednesday.
I also offer counselling sessions for adults by phone or Skype worldwide.
I have a formal supervision agreement with a Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Norma D'Agostino. As a result, my counselling services are covered by most private insurance benefit plans.
For additional information about my counselling services please visit mywebsite.
Joining the Clinical Team at Canadian Virtual Hospice
I'm excited to announce that as a part of my consulting work I have recently joined the clinical team at Canadian Virtual Hospice (CVH). Canadian Virtual Hospice is a wonderful resource for families and professionals as it offers extensive information and support on palliative and end-of-life care, loss, and grief. As a member of their clinical team I will be providing advice, and developing and reviewing content related to supporting grieving children, their families and communities. I will also be available to families to respond to the "Ask a Professional" questions on topics related to supporting grieving children and youth.
I currently have a series of articles available on the CVH website, which I have included below. Please check out Canadian Virtual Hospice and share the website with those who may benefit from it.
Parenting through the Stormby Ann Douglas - Douglas, a Canadian parenting writer and speaker, offers guidance and advice for parents living with children who have mental health challenges. Drawing on her own experience parenting her own children, with interviews with experts in children's mental health and with youth and parents who live with mental illness, Douglas offers coping strategies, advice on advocating for a child, supporting siblings and working for whole-family health. For more information on Ann Douglas and her resources please visit her website.
Literary Resource - Children
The Heart and the Bottleby Oliver Jeffers - Award-winning author and illustrator Jeffers explores themes of love and loss in this beautiful and heartwarming story about a young girl who experiences the loss of her father, and her struggles and strategies to care for her grieving heart.