How to Help Clients Cope with Loss and Grief After Community Support Worker Training

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Loss and grief tend to arrive together. Grief is a person’s subjective emotional response to a period of loss, involving feelings such as sadness, confusion, shock, and anger. Though loss and grief are most commonly understood to apply to bereavement, many different life events can cause them, like disruptions to relationships, unemployment, or trauma. 

The pain of grief can be a complex time for those experiencing it, resulting in emotional suffering as well as fatigue, nausea, pain, and problems with sleep or appetite. During periods of grief, face-to-face support is vital for healing. As a community support worker, you can provide some of this support to clients, and help them work through periods of loss. Read on for more information. 

After Community Support Worker Training, Advise Clients to Continue Taking Care of Themselves 

The emotional intensity that occurs during periods of grief can cause disruptions to the normative flow of life. Physical health, sleep, appetite, and cognition can all be upset, and this disrupting tends to feed into itself. A grieving person who eats less will experience a worsened emotional state, which can lead back into a further loss of appetite, for example. 

As a person with community support worker training, you can help coach and encourage clients to maintain their typical daily routines. Direct their attention to their body and mind’s material needs, and the ways in which they are not being satisfied. The simple aspects of food, sleep, and exercise may not be immediately obvious to someone going through a period of profound grief. While calling attention to the establishment of a routine, you can also advise clients to plan ahead for times in which their grief may worsen or rise back up. For example, highlight moments such as anniversaries as times where they may find themselves feeling worse, and work with them to develop an action plan. 

Stress the Importance of Acknowledging and Validating Grief 

The confusing part of grief is how it is a highly individual process. How a person feels and expresses their grief depends on multiple intersecting factors, such as personality, life experiences, cultural and religious background, and coping style. All this comes together to make grief feel like an isolating, alienating experience. As a result, many grieving persons will want to withdraw from others. 

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CSWs can help clients work through grief by validating their feelings and experiences

As a graduate of community support worker college, you can help clients come to terms with their grief by validating their feelings. Try to understand what the client is feeling by practicing active listening, a conversational method that centers on patiently and non-judgementally hearing what the speaker has to say. By understanding how the client is experiencing their personal grief, you can help them understand what they’re going through in turn. 

Monitor for Signs of Depression or Complicated Grief 

Though it’s natural for grief to involve feelings of sadness and low motivation, grief and depression can coexist, and grief can trigger a period of depression. The issue in identifying them is that they both share similar symptoms, and it’s not widely understood how to distinguish them. As a community support worker, you can monitor your grieving clients for signs of depression and help them receive the treatment they require. 

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CSWs should monitor their clients for signs of complicated grief and depression

One of the main points of distinction is that grief tends to dissipate over time and occurs in waves, while depression remains persistent and severely disrupts a person’s life. In some cases, grief turns into what’s referred to as complicated grief: a feeling of pain and loss that’s constant, severe, and disruptive. This condition overlaps with depression and should be monitored for as well. If clients show intense yearning, consistent denial or disbelief, pervasive feelings of emptiness, or intrusive thoughts, they may be experiencing complicated grief or major depression. 

Do you want to start working towards a community support worker diploma

Contact Discovery Community College for more information! 


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