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Grief & Trauma Support

December 20, 2020 Note To Readers


2020 has been a year that has brought the topic of health and grief to the forefront around the globe.  We have been forced to examine choices and decisions most of us never thought about.  Now as we head into the end of the year and towards 2021, the Covid-19 Pandemic continues and many questions remain.


Sadly, many have faced unbearable loss and sadness.  As I write this, most hospitals across the USA are facing a true crisis.  In short supply, are desperately needed ICU beds to treat patients with critical needs ranging from heart attack, stroke, Covid-19 and other serious illnesses.  This scenario is playing out in many countries across the globe.


At Clarity Holistic Health, our goal is to reach and assist as many individuals and families as possible in 2021.  We offer a sliding-scale fee for those in need of grief and trauma support sessions.  Please contact our office to learn more.  Help is available.  Please remember that reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness.


Gilda (Jill) Cook RN, Holistic Health Nurse

Clinical Trauma Specialist

Certified Grief/Bereavement Specialist

 - MISS Foundation

Certified in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)

 - International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF)



What is grief?


Grief is a natural response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone who has died.  Grief and and feelings of profound loss can also emerge following a variety of other situations as well:


- pet illness

- death of a pet

- health changes (mobility changes, cognitive changes, etc)

- job status change

- unemployment

- relationship changes (separation, divorce)


The pain of loss is real and it can be overwhelming.  Grief is complex and there is no exact time table for dealing with the variety of emotions that emerge after loss, despite common myths that one might hear.


What are the symptoms of grief and loss?

While there are similarities, most people deal with grief and loss in a deeply personal way.  Some people appear to jump back into their usual routine without much outward display of loss, while others find it difficult, especially in the early weeks and months.


Some common reactions people experience during the grieving process include:


- Feeling profound sadness

- Disbelief

- Tearfulness

- Numbness or shock

- Loneliness

- Isolating and Avoidance

- Guilt

- Fear

- Anxiety

- Increased drug and/or alcohol use

- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed


How does grief counseling help?


Grief counseling offers you a chance to examine and process emotions surrounding the event in your own way and in your own time.   It can help you better understand common myths surrounding grief and how to handle changes in your life.


What is traumatic grief?


Current literature recognizes traumatic grief as:  the death of a baby or child, violent death, suicide, homicide, untimely deaths.


At Clarity Holistic Health, we utilize the ATTEND MODEL OF GRIEF developed by Arizona State University professor, author and researcher, Dr. Joanne Cacciatore.  ATTEND stands for:


Attunement

Trust

Therapeutic Touch

Egalitarianism

Nuance

Death Education


It is a mindful and evidence-based, culturally sensitive paradigm for compassionate care to the traumatically bereaved which does not pathologize grief.  This model has been shown to reduce depressive, anxious, and trauma symptomatology in both clients and clinicians.



Common Reactions to Trauma & When to Seek Support


- Flashbacks of the trauma/disturbing memories and/or dreams

- Isolation

- Feelings of disconnection or numbness

- Anger, guilt, shame and/or blame

- Changes in self-worth

- Inability to carry out daily activities

- Difficulty trusting

- Overwhelming fear

- Difficulty sleeping


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Critical Incident Stress Management - CISM

Are you a healthcare worker, teacher, or someone who has been directly impacted by the Pandemic through your work?  Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is one type of mental health first aid that can help.  Contact our office to speak with our Nurse Educator to learn more about private sessions to assist with stress management and grief/trauma issues.  


Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is an intervention protocol developed specifically for dealing with traumatic events. It is a formal, highly structured and professionally recognized process for helping those involved in a critical incident to share their experiences, vent emotions, learn about stress reactions and symptoms.  It is not psychotherapy. It is a confidential, voluntary and educative process, sometimes called 'psychological first aid'.


First developed for use with military combat veterans and then civilian first responders (police, fire, ambulance, emergency workers and disaster rescuers), it has now been adapted and used virtually everywhere there is a need to address traumatic impact in peoples lives. 


There are several types of CISM interventions that can be used, based on the individual situation. Variations of these interventions can be used for groups, individuals, families and in the workplace. 


Debriefing is a proactive intervention involving a group meeting or discussion about a particularly distressing critical incident. Based on core principles of crisis intervention, CISD (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing) is designed to mitigate the impact of a critical incident and to assist the persons in recovery from the stress associated with the event. CISD is facilitated by a specially trained team which includes professional and peer support personnel.  Ideally it is conducted between 24 and 72 hours after the incident, but may be held later under exceptional circumstances.


Defusing is an intervention that is a shorter, less formal version of a debriefing. It generally lasts from 30 to 60 minutes, but may go longer and is best conducted within one to four hours after a critical incident. It is not usually conducted more than 12 hours after the incident. Like a debriefing, it is a confidential and is a voluntary opportunity to learn about stress, share reactions to an incident and vent emotions. The main purpose is to stabilize people affected by the incident so that they can return to their normal routines without unusual stress. Where appropriate, a formal debriefing may also be required.


Grief and Loss Session is a structured group or individual session following a death and assists people in understanding their own grief reactions as well as creating a healthy atmosphere of openness and dialogue around the circumstances of the death.


Crisis Management Briefing is a large, homogeneous group intervention used before, during and after crisis to present facts, facilitate a brief, controlled discussion, Q & A and info on stress survival skills and/or other available support services. May be repeated as situation changes.


Critical Incident Adjustment Support provides multi-faceted humanitarian assistance to individual, families or groups for coping with the aftermath of an incident and overcoming the ongoing impact of a death or injury.


Pre-Crisis Education provides a foundation for CISM services. It includes incident awareness, crisis response strategies and develops stress management coping skills that can prevent major problems should an incident occur. It takes the form of an employee handbook, e-book and/or workshops and training seminars.


*CISM International 2019


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