While I have been quoted in the press, I have also been quoted in many other places!
My Wellbeing (September 19, 2019): How To Talk To Someone About Therapy
MWB specialist Jill Cohen is a grief counselor and works with people who have experienced the death of a loved one. She notes that very often these are people whom have not previously had the need or desire for therapy. So, seeking help may not even be on their "radar" as a "thing" to consider doing. Some thoughts on what to say:
“I know you're going through a really rough time, understandably, and grieving is sad and can be lonely. You might think you are losing your mind sometimes, when you realize that your life that you had before your loss is not anything like your life now. I Think it might be helpful for you to have a safe place and a person with whom you can share some of your feelings, including anger, jealousy, guilt - that you might not want to tell others about. And a way to express your sadness with someone who can understand you and help you stay on track, and cope better. A professional can give you some tools to manage your life while grieving and to move forward to your "new normal." It's not a bad thing to seek help. In the long run, you'll probably be better off. It doesn't mean you are helpless, it just gives you a chance to get some extra support from someone who really cares and wants to help your grief."
“It's not embarrassing or shameful to want help with your grief. Nobody has ever taught you how to experience a loss like this before, and now you have to do it. But you don't have to do it alone. The feeling of grief can make you feel different from everyone else who doesn't "get it". That's why it's helpful to talk to someone who can "normalize" your grief and validate your experience. Everything changes after a death, relationships, family dynamics, routines, work, school, etc. and I think it would really be helpful for you to have some support going through this.” - Jill Cohen
Heart In Diamond (September 12, 2019): 4 BEREAVEMENT COUNSELORS DISCUSS DIFFERENT TYPES OF GRIEF
The first question on our minds we wanted answers to, was “What is the difference between normal grief and complicated grief?” Jill Cohen explains:
“Grief is an absolutely normal and innate response to a painful event such as the death of a loved one or special person. That’s a given. However, when there is a passage of time and the griever is still finding it difficult to move forward and resume his or her normal life, this is the sign of something more problematic. This would be considered a complicated grief.
“But we can’t be too hasty to call a grief complicated. Even normal grief is not one single emotion or feeling. It is a way of being — and it shows up physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally in many shapes and forms. Grief is unique to everyone. How we grieve, for how long we intensely and actively grieve and what it looks like and what it affects, differs from one person to another.”
She also went on to explain that most grief includes some of the following:
Too little or too much sleep
Eating too much or too little
Being less socially engaged with others
Lack of concentration
Questioning one’s own faith and belief system
Lots of feelings – anger, guilt, loneliness, depression, sadness, loneliness, fear with occasionally experiencing and acknowledging moments of happiness
Cohen also says that “If these usual responses to grief don’t fade or lessen over time and begin to interrupt their ability to lead their own lives and function, they may be experiencing complicated grief.”
Samada (May 8, 2018): 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Facing Death
When you’re faced with the knowledge that the end of your life is near, avoidance or denial is such a natural impulse that it seems absurd to be even be starting an article with this sentence. Of course no one wants to prepare for their own death, at least initially. And no one needs to be told that facing mortality is likely to trigger a dramatic self-reckoning, or at least, some rumination. Jill Cohen, a New York-based grief counselor, suggests that asking certain questions can potentially help people who are dying do a final accounting as well as set priorities for how they want to spend the time they have left.
Samada (April 20, 2018): Dos and Don’ts of Talking to Someone Who is Seriously Ill
It’s hard to know in advance whether your best friend with breast cancer will want to discuss the nitty-gritty of her treatment or be distracted from it entirely, says Jill Cohen, a New York-based counselor specializing in grief. So rather than guess, follow her lead.
If she mentions a hopeful test result, ask her if she’d like to share more. But if she asks about work, fill her in on your funny coworker’s latest antics. “People like an opportunity to laugh and to hear what’s going on in the outside world,” says Cohen. They might be grateful for a chance to hear what’s happening in your life.
Don’t make them discuss their prognosis
Talking through potential outcomes—especially the risk of death—can be a painful conversation for any person with a serious illness. And rehashing this information with every visitor or friend can bring it front and center again and again, says Cohen.
It’s best to avoid questions about things like the odds of recovery, potential long-term limitations, or how many treatments or procedures loom on the horizon. Again, follow your loved one’s lead: If she wants to talk through her frustration about medication side effects or her fear of the future, let her talk. But don’t push or probe.
Samada (April 24, 2018): How to Find a Grief Counselor
Some people might mistakenly assume that a grief counselor is mostly focused on helping people “bounce back” from a loss, but real resolution and healing actually happens when you can carry the memory of your loved one without anguish, says Jill Cohen, a New York-based grief counselor. (Related: What’s the Difference Between Grief and Depression?)
“We try to find ways to incorporate him or her into your ongoing life, so the person isn’t really gone forever,” she says. That may mean anything from running a 5K race to raise research funds for the cancer that claimed your mom’s life to starting a new tradition of eating your granddad’s favorite foods on his birthday.
For some, being able to memorialize your loved one may mean first working on being able to accept the death and resuming normal daily routines. Just as no two people’s grief is exactly alike, what they need from a counselor isn’t identical, Cohen says.
Samada (March 12, 2018): How Long Does Grief Last?
You might hear people talk about moving through the stages of grief, as if mourning were perfectly linear and you could wake each morning knowing that you wouldn’t have to retread the emotions of the day before. But in reality, grief is more of a roller coaster or pendulum than a linear progression.
When a researcher at the University of Akron tracked the daily moods of recent widows for three months, she found that most emotions fluctuated wildly. A widow might feel despondent one day, buoyant the next; distracted and anxious one morning, optimistic and focused that same afternoon. But over time, the intensity of those fluctuations calmed, until the person returned to a more stable emotional state.
“The trajectory is never a straight line of phases or stages, but closer to oscillating waves,” says Cohen. Even if you’ve felt closure for months, certain milestones, such as the loved one’s birthday, the anniversary of the death, or important holidays, may act as a catalyst to throw you back into your grief.