Issue #1 - February 26, 2011

Counseling Comments & Insights from
Debbra Bronstad  

Marriage & Family Therapist Intern

Grief Recovery Specialist

Serving men, women, children and couples in San Luis Obispo County 

In This Issue
How to Be a Supportive Friend to Someone Grieving
Grief Symptoms
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Welcome to the first issue of this e-zine to feature counseling-related articles. Maybe I saw last month when I spoke at Aglow and New Day on "Growing Through Grief." For others, we have not been in touch since before I left town in 2008 to get my master's degree. Drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you. I'm now back on the Central Coast continuing my licensing hours as a marriage & family therapist in Atascadero and Arroyo Grande/Grover Beach.  I've got 1500 hours (out of 3000) under my belt.  To help me along my way toward getting licensed, please forward this on to others in San Luis Obispo County who may know someone with a need for counseling. You can also Like my Facebook Page to help spread the word. For counseling, click here to use my online scheduler or call me at (805) 242-3569 to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation. Don't miss the invitation to access the largest mental health and wellness portal on the internet at the bottom of this email.
How to Be a Supportive Friend to Someone who is Grieving


Research has shown that in the first 72 hours after a major loss the bereaved person will hear about 125 comments from well-meaning people. However only about 8% of those comments are helpful. Many people will try to change the subject when the griever most needs to talk about their experience.  Other comments will suggest they should "not feel bad." These intellectual statements send the message to the hurting person that it is not okay to feel hurt, sad, angry or upset after the loss of a loved one.  Click here for what NOT to say...  

Here are some ideas to help:
  • Invite the hurting person to share their experience of their loss or when they heard about it.
  • Say, "I can't imagine how painful this is for you."
  • Ask, "What was your relationship like?
  • Offer a hug.
  • Respect the griever's preference regarding alone time, but also make yourself available when they would like to talk about their feelings.
  • Keep a supportive attitude no matter what feelings your friend shares (i.e. anger at God, sadness, etc.) You don't need to talk them out of their feelings. Simply listen and acknowledge.
  • Take a curious stance: "What is it like to feel that way?";  "What makes it worse?"; "Is there anything that makes it better?"
  • Let the griever teach you how to be a good friend in this time of  need. 
Grief Symptoms
When grieving, many people wonder if their symptoms are normal.  They wonder what "stage of grief" they are in, and they may dread getting into another stage, such as anger.  Recent research has debunked the

myth of "stages of grief".  


Grief is the natural, human response to a significant loss. People experience and express grief in unique ways. No two losses are the same between people and even for the same person at different times. One can experience grief on multiple levels:


The bereaved frequently report the experience of having "waves of grief" that come and go, in a sometimes unpredictable fashion. Read more about the symptoms of grief... 


Thanks for reading.  If you have a question, please give me a call or reply to this email. See the section below for complimentary access to an online resource for articles, self assessments, and tips for relationships.





Debbra BronstadDebbra Bronstad, MS  (805) 242-3569

Marriage & Family Therapist Intern IMF 62480
Certified Grief Recovery Specialist
Supervisor: Sandra Sawyer, LCSW, LCS 12477



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