Impact of Language on Survivors of Loss. Helping Clinical Professionals, Clergy & Gatekeepers use appropriate language with persons who are Survivors of Suicide Loss as they grieve. What to Say: How to Help Someone Coping with a Loss Due to Suicide. Donald P. Belau, Ph.D.
Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.
Impact of Language on Survivors ofLoss Helping Clinical Professionals,Clergy & Gatekeepers use appropriatelanguage with persons who are Survivorsof Suicide Loss as they grieve
What to Say: How to Help Someone Coping with a Loss Due to Suicide Donald P. Belau, Ph.D. Lincoln/Lancaster LOSS Team Clinical Director email@example.com 402-759-0573
Overview • A way to deal with the Why?? • LOSS Teams’ power of influence through interactions • 7 Keys to Using Healing Language • Role Playing--practice • Tips in dealing with children & youth grief that can be shared with adult survivors
Why? • Sudden Death leading to the Unanswerable "Why?" • Trying to make sense of or understand sudden losses can be difficult. Survivors are left asking "Why?" "Why did this happen?"
Why? • The suicide of a loved one are beyond anyone's control; they are a sudden, unexplainable loss.
Why? • It is human nature to want to answer the question "Why?" yet it may be difficult if not impossible to find an answer. • Instead the question "Why?" is more of a plea for meaning and understanding.
Ways to Help • There are many possible perspectives for coping with this difficult question: • When death has shaken your faith, "Why?" "Why must my life be filled with sorrow?" "Why?“ “Why did this have to happen?”
Ways to Help • There are no pat answers. • No one completely understands the mystery of death. • Even if the question were answered, Would the pain be eased, your loneliness less terrible?
Ways to Help • "Why" is more than a question. • It may be an agonizing cry for a heart-breaking loss, an expression of distress or anger, disappointment, bewilderment, alienation, and betrayal.
Ways to Help • There is no answer that bridges the chasm of irreparable separation.
Ways to Help • There is no satisfactory response for an unresolvable dilemma. • Not all questions have complete answers. Unanswered "Why's" are part of life.
Ways to Help • The search for answers may continue but the real question might be: • "How [do I] pick up the pieces and go on living as meaningful as possible?“
Ways to Help • Assure survivors that is permissible to ask why as often as needed—until one day—the urge to ask why declines. • This may mean the journey of acceptance has began.
LOSS Teams’ Influence • Seeking help when you are ready is a sign of strength, and the ability to move forward. • LOSS Teams can facilitate this process by using language that has evidence to support the its use. • Training & practice of these language skills allows for the LOSS Team to be effective in assisting survivors in moving forward.
Ways to Help • How does one know they are ready to seek help? • Tricky question • Not really!! • Key is the LOSS team visit
LOSS Team Interactions • The visit of the LOSS team has multiple purposes & the language skills used can: • Instill hope by personalizing themselves • Inform as to self-care, coping & the uniqueness of grief • Provide a sense of connectedness • Offer support and referrals to resources • Use of the power of invitation • Reduce self-imposed isolation
Hope • Hello, I am ………… I am sorry for your loss. • We are here to provide any support or answer any questions that you might have. Can I get you anything? What is the most pressing concern you have? • Each of us have lost someone to suicide, and are willing to share whatever time you need now and later, even if it is days or weeks from now.
Hope • What not to say--- • I understand what you are going through. • He/She is no longer in pain • Things will get better, I know it
Self-care & Grief • Promote self-care by acknowledging the draw to drinking or self-medicating—but pointing out this can impair relationships, judgment, etc. • What do you do to relax? What are your interests, hobbies, etc.?
Self-care & Grief • Offer the idea of seeking help via support groups, counseling, faith leaders, friends, and family. • Speak openly that some will experience ‘grief bursts’, and that they will decrease with time
Self-care & Grief • What not to say: • It is ok to tie one on—you will feel better. • Crying is normal, everyone does it. • Everyone goes through stages of grief—over and over.
Connectedness • Explore safe conversation by connecting with visual artifacts or pictures • I see that your family/you liked to….. • Use observable strengths, talents, to build a bridge
Connectedness • What not to say: • I don’t see any pictures of ………… • Were you close? • Any intrusive statements that could be viewed as probing
Support & the Power of Invitation • Ask for permission to follow up— • Would you mind if I or some member of the team check in with you? • There are support groups available, would you mind if I called you to see if you able to attend a support group with me or fellow LOSS team member?
Support & the Power of Invitation • What not to say: • There is a support group meeting on ….. at …. • I will be checking up on you to see how you are doing
Reducing Self-imposed Isolation • Reinforce the power of connecting with others as this promotes healing and reducing the natural response to isolate with one’s misery and pain
Reducing Self-imposed Isolation • Engagement in simple activities, often with peers who have had losses as well will promote healing • Participating in community-based walks and activities that draw attention to suicide prevention, and postvention activities.
Reducing Self-imposed Isolation • What not to say: • Everyone needs to get involved in something • If you don’t get active, you will suffer the consequences
7 Keys to Using Healing Language • Promote Respectfulness • Strive to be Nonjudgmental • Be calm & relax before engaging in the visit—take several deep, cleansing breathes • Use clear short phrases with emphasis upon open ended questions • Focus on listening with your inner ear • Use rich nonverbal communication • Monitor the emotion of the visitation experience & look for a safe, positive exit within a 45-60 minute period of time
Be calm & relax before engaging in the visit—take several deep, cleansing breathes
Monitor the emotion of the visitation experience & look for a safe, positive exit within a 45-60 minute period of time
Practice Role Playing
Supportive Comments • Letting the survivor know that there will be days that will drag on, painfully slow—that they can move through those days by focusing on one hour at a time, by reaching out even if they do not have the energy.
Supportive Comments • The power of normalcy is healing—using terms such as---”most people will feel drained”, most people find ways of connecting”
Supportive Comments • Looking to connect with the survivor builds bridges by commenting upon environmental clues to build a relationship.
Supportive Comments • If a survivor, explain briefly your loss.
Supportive Comments • If a clinician, acknowledge your interest.
Supportive Comments • If a friend or peer, reach out with simple courtesy.
Supportive Comments • Finding a routine is critical
Supportive Comments • Consider journaling as a way to move forward through your grief and pain which allows healing to begin • Share your feelings and thoughts as often as you need
Supportive Comments • Others???
Basics on Coping for the Survivor • It is important for the grieving person to take care of him/herself following a sudden loss. • He/she is dealing with an event that is beyond his/her control.