April is Counseling Awareness Month —a time to celebrate my Gilchrist Grief Counseling colleagues and all those who help support others during significant struggles in their lives.
During my nearly 12 years as a Gilchrist grief counselor, I have been privileged to be part of a compassionate team dedicated to helping bereaved clients through their grief. Our team is made up of six grief counselors, two program assistants and numerous volunteers who reach out to those who are grieving. Some feel they are not heard by others or that they are burdening loved ones. As a counselor, I listen and offer support while honoring those we are remembering. It can be a very humbling experience.
I’m sure I speak for most of my colleagues when I say that meeting one-on-one with bereaved clients is my favorite part of the day. It is such a powerful experience to see growth come from grief, and to see people go from merely surviving to thriving.
The Power of Connection
Gilchrist’s grief support is available to anyone in the community who has experienced a loss. Over the years, our counseling team has created many grief support groups and events for the public. These offerings help grow a community of bereaved and decrease their intense feelings of isolation. I don’t know how many times one of my clients has returned to me after a support group with renewed energy and excitement after connecting with someone in the group “who gets it.”
I once had a client who told me, with a big grin on his face, “People don’t believe me when I tell them I have never laughed as much as I did in my grief support group!” I think this speaks to the power of connection that we as human beings long for. And when we are grieving, these connections are even more meaningful.
Finding Your Way Through Grief
If you have experienced a loss, please remember that everyone grieves differently, and everyone copes differently. It is important to take time to reflect upon which tools will be most helpful to you as you deal with stress and work through your grief. Because of this, our offerings of events and groups vary but all offer different “tools” to help promote healthy grieving and encourage survivors to create new lives of fullness and meaning.
Gilchrist Grief Events
Gilchrist’s calendar of events lists all of our upcoming offerings. Each month we hold a workshop that uses expressive arts, such as creative journaling, creating a keepsake, book group, and exploring grief with colored sand. We also host a day-long retreat called Grief’s Journey, which is a mindful day of rest and reflection for those at any point in the grieving process.
As the weather warms up, we will hold a Haiku hike in both Baltimore and Howard Counties, where bereaved can reflect on their grief in an outdoor environment. Speaking of outdoor events, one of our highlights of the year happens in early June. It is called Steps of Hope and is a tribute walk with a butterfly release. No matter where you are in your grief’s journey, this family-friendly event is both celebratory and powerful – you don’t want to miss it!
If you are interested in registering for an event, workshop, support group, or individual counseling, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We would be happy to answer any questions relating to our offerings or schedule a time for you to meet with one of our counselors.
To learn more about Gilchrist Grief Counseling, visit www.gilchristcares.org/grief-counseling.