Grief Coaching is for . . .

Image by Kara Jones, Creative Grief Studio
Image by Kara Jones, Creative Grief Studio

Recently I was talking with a client about the difference between grief coaching and life coaching. As she asked me about what grief coaching is for, we started to explore all the different types of losses that we experience in our lives. We talked about the many losses that cause us to grieve — some of them are more expected than others. For example, the death of someone we love, the loss of a job, children going away to school, divorce, a house fire, the death of a pet, the loss of health due to disease or chronic health issues, the loss of a pregnancy, infertility, and the loss of self can all lead one to grieve.

We grieve because we love. We have been loving and now the object of our love is no longer in our day to day lives, at least not in the form that we previously experienced or in the way that we expected. So often we’re left with feelings of emptiness and a “Now what?” question in our minds. In some ways there are similarities between grief coaching and life coaching. Both types of coaching help us to find our way. To explore new ways of being. Both are action-oriented — rather than just exploring the root cause of our suffering. In coaching we use tools that help you get unstuck and move to a place of wholeness.

For example, when we’re grieving the loss of self, using tools that relax the body and mind and allow us to open back up to the dreams that are at the heart of our true selves can be incredibly healing. As we heal and remember those dreams that live deep in our heart, we start to come back to our selves — we come back to our deepest values and desires.  When we acknowledge those, put a focus on them, create intentions around them — we can start to bring our true selves into the world. And that I believe is what we’re all meant to do here on earth — to bring our true selves out into the world. To share our unique gifts and talents with those around us.

For many women, I think this can be especially challenging because we have a focus on helping others. However, helping ourselves and being able to speak for ourselves, about ourselves, and from the deepest truth of our hearts, allows us to be our best and share that with others.

One of the techniques that I use in grief coaching to cultivate this self-nurturing and caring for our heart’s dreams, is a loving kindness meditation. Another technique is a collage based on pictures of oneself, especially from the past, that evoke memories and feelings around those hopes and dreams that we were cherishing.  Then we explore how we might bring them forward into the present.

What have been your experiences with life coaching and grief coaching? Please share them in the comments below!


Using Reiki for Working with Grief


When we are faced with a significant loss in our life we want the pain to just go away. Instead of light we often feel engulfed in darkness and unable to make even the simplest decisions. One of the great (and painful) ironies, of the dark emotion known as grief, is that ignoring it and shunning it — over the long run — only makes it grow. When we can sit with our grief and journey with it, we experience a shift that allows us to see light again and live our lives.

Reiki is not a cure all

Sometimes people ask me if Reiki will make grief go away. Unfortunately, Reiki is not a cure-all. However, it is an excellent tool for self-care whether you are a Reiki practitioner or not. By receiving Reiki we can experience deep peace that helps us to exist with our pain. For some people when they experience a Reiki session while they are grieving, they feel a sense of lightness throughout their body afterwards. Some clients have reported a feeling of openness in their chest after receiving Reiki. They say that though the grief is not gone, it seems easier to face it and move through their day.

Keep the light flowing

One client, her name is Holly, told me that the pain of her father’s death seemed to haunt her every step.* She said one day she passed by a mirror and noticed how her shoulders were slouched forward as if she were protecting her heart. After receiving a Reiki session, she said that her heart felt lighter and more open. After a series of sessions she noted that her posture had improved and she said, “There’s a spring in my step again. Reiki didn’t make the grief go away, but it seemed to bring back the light. So now I’m living with lightness and grief.” Holly felt this was a real improvement in her life and she continues to receive Reiki periodically to “keep the light flowing.”

Living in the “and” space

Lightness and grief — this is sometimes called, “living in the ‘and’ space.” This is important when working with grief because when we are so hurt by our loss we feel as if we can never love again. However, when we think of it as an “and” — that is, we love AND we grieve — or, we grieve because we love. If we didn’t love, then there would be no grief; but because we love, we grieve when there is loss. So rather than making grief go away, Reiki reopens ones heart to the love, a sense of wonder, and curiosity about this crazy, and often sad, life that we live.

You are not alone

Another aspect of grief is the profound loneliness that we often feel. Isolation from others exacerbates our grief. When we’re able to share our story with another person, we often feel a lifting of the burden that we are carrying. I encourage you to find that person to talk to. That person may not be within your family or current circle of friends and that’s ok. What’s important is to find someone who will listen and support you. Someone who will help you feel that you can open your heart to love again and journey with love AND grief.

What is your experience with grief? What have you found helpful in this journey?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


*Names are changed to protect each client’s privacy.