Grieving the Loss of a Client

The death of someone with whom you have worked closely can be a very distressing experience, and understanding how to cope with grief in general can be helpful (especially if a client’s death activates your grief over loved ones who died in the past).

  • Employ coping tactics, such as normalizing reactions, stepping away from the scene, breathing mindfully, scanning your body, visualizing a safe place, or practicing affirmative self-talk.
  • Engage in self-help activities that have short-term and long-term benefits, such as those recommended by Riverside Trauma Center and the National Center for PTSD.
  • Make meaningful connections with colleagues and others who are able to share in a safe, mutually helpful way about the effects the person’s death is having on you.
  • Be intentional about discussing in your dialogue with others (or in writing privately in a journal) the reasons why you decided to do the work you do — and about why you continue to do this work.
  • Practice self-compassion.
  • Seek professional assistance and support, including clinical supervision if it is available to you.

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