Fort Collins, CO… The Center for Loss & Life Transition has created a new subdivision to focus on training clinicians in “companioning” people in grief as it relates to the natural complications that often result from the death of someone.
These training efforts are in response to Dr. Wolfelt’s concern surrounding the new diagnosis of Prolonged Grief Disorder. His belief is that pathologizing grief and mourning only compounds our unhealthy cultural stigmas surrounding death and grief, and that this new diagnosis is a projection of our social taboos against despair.
It is the position of Dr. Wolfelt that the emotions of grief invite the mourner to go deeper, to slow down, and actively engage in what Carl Jung appropriately termed “soul work” – the downward movement of the psyche. This instinctive downward movement is difficult to honor when the new diagnosis projects “go faster, hurry up, and leave your grief behind.”
The new PGD diagnosis criteria (intense yearning, preoccupation with thoughts/memories, identify confusion, disbelief, avoidance of reminders, intense emotional pain, difficult engaging with others/life, emotional numbness, feelings that life is meaningless, and intense loneliness) often last beyond the PGD-allowed six months for children and one year for adults.
Many of those in grief supported at the Center for Loss & Life Transition are experiencing “psychic numbing” or “acute aftershock” for the first year and beyond after a death. Now, they run the risk of being diagnosed with a “mental disorder” based on an inappropriate linear timeframe. This new diagnosis is ill-conceived and not anchored in our knowledge and experience of 40 years of supporting people in grief.
The Center for Loss & Life Transition will now put more emphasis on training caregivers in Dr. Wolfelt’s model of Understanding, Identifying, and Companioning (not treating) grievers.
As Dr. Donna Schuurman stated in the foreword to Dr. Wolfelt’s book titled, When Grief is Complicated, “I believe the revolutionary message of this book will result in better understanding of and services for grieving people…. Alan represents the gold standard of care.”
For information and registration related to training, contact the Center for Loss & Life Transition at (970)226-6050 or www.centerforloss.com.
About Dr. Wolfelt
Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator, and grief counselor. He serves as Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is a past recipient of the Association for Death Education and Counseling’s Death Educator Award. Among his many bestselling publications are the books When Grief is Complicated: A Model for Therapists to Understand, Identify, and Companion Grievers and Understanding Your Grief. Dr. Wolfelt advocates that we “companion” people in grief as opposed to “treating” them. Visit www.centerforloss.com to learn more.