You Can Be Your Own Grief Coach


I know what you're thinking. I can be my own grief coach? Really? Now just hold on and let me tell you why not only can you be your own grief coach but it is necessary for you to be your own grief coach. First, believe it or not you are the expert on your specific grief. Why? Because you are the one experiencing your unique, one of a kind in all the universe grief. No two griefs are exactly alike because each grief is shaped primarily by the relationship the mourner had with his or her significant person who died.

No one has the same exact relationship. No one feels exactly about your loved one as you did and still do. No one else misses or mourns for the person who died in the same exact way.  Therefore, my dear mourning friend YOU are the expert on your own grief.  But that doesn't mean you are the only one who can understand your grief and you.  Let me tell you more.

Because you are the expert on your grief, others who are willing to help you through your grief are dependent upon you to share the details of your feelings and experiences with them.  They are counting on you to educate them about all you experience in your loss so they can get you the help, support and comfort necessary to heal. Your helper may know the commonalities that exist in most grief but they need to know the details of your grief to help you.

Second you need to be and can be your own grief coach because you have to be the one who believes in you and your potential to find a healthy way through grief. Others around you can work to help you and believe all day that you have the ability to get through your specific  grief. But if you don't think you can get through grief, most likely you won't.

So...if you're the expert on your own grief and you believe it is possible for you to get through your  grief, you have the ability to be your own grief coach starting the work of grief.

You must be willing to initiate the work of finding  outside information and compassionate resources to help you navigate through your grief.  Grieving people tired of fighting  with grief and feeling overwhelmed by grief and its pain have been overcoming grief every day.  You can and should be your own grief coach. I hope you get started soon.

But remember: you should not try to do grief all alone. You need others to be there as your listeners, cheerleaders and advisers.  And if you still think you want or need someone else to coach you through the process, seek out an experienced professional skilled in working with the bereaved.

The first step in getting through grief in a healthy way is to reach out to others to let them know what you are experiencing and that you want to heal from your emotional wound of grief.

Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise”  available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or

The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa” on

Larry is the director of GriefWorks, a free grief support program for children and their families in Dallas TX