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Grief Therapy vs Grief Mentoring: Which is right for you?

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I’m sure you’ve heard me preach (over and over and over) about the importance of having someone to talk to about what you’re experiencing. Someone who is an unbiased third party and can tell you what you need to hear (not always what you want to hear).

You also know how much I believe in finding a professional you know, like and trust to speak to on a regular basis. There is something freeing about knowing that you have someone, in your corner, that HAS to listen to you talk about whatever is important to you – whether that is the difficult situation you’re having in the office,  or that they stopped making your favorite kind of toaster pastry.

As much as I love and trust my friends and family, I don’t always want to burden them with what’s flying around in my head – and there are some things I just prefer that no one who knows me knows {you know?}.

But it wasn’t really until the last few years that I realized I wanted a different (and additional) professional in my life: my therapist is great…but I needed something more…something different.

That’s when I first found {and fell in love with} mentoring and coaching. It is more forward-thinking. I kinda feel like the past is the past. While I can’t change it I had analyzed and overanalyzed it…I’d ‘found all the meaning’ – all the lessons I was supposed to get…but it still wasn’t enough for me – I was still living with one foot in the ‘what could/would/should’ve been’…

I wanted {more like needed} to quit living my life in the past and I wanted help getting unstuck. I didn’t necessarily need to be told…but I needed a fresh set of eyes {and ears} to bring a different perspective.

Mentoring, for me, is the perfect balance of holding space for my past and current reality while providing the hope, encouragement, tools, and support to find a meaningful and worthwhile future.

I strongly believe that BOTH therapy and mentoring have a meaningful and worthwhile place in your grief journey – you just have to find which one is right for you, and when.

I put together this T-Chart for you to further explore the differences between the two options:

Grief Mentoring

Grief Therapy

Future Focused: Focused on self-development and knowledge. The main goal is to grow through what you go through. Asks the question ‘What’s next?’ Formerly Focused: Focused on unresolved emotions and feelings. The main goal is to explore and explain the past. Asks the question ‘Why?’
Survive to Thrive: Seeks to go beyond a person being functional (survive) to have a fulfilling and worthwhile life (thrive). Alive to Survive: Seeks to move a person from non-functional (alive) to functional (survive).
Action Focused: Emphasizes mindset, thinking, and behavior. Believing you can ‘fake it til you feel it’ if needed – and that it is a viable method towards healing. Feelings Focused: Emphasizes emotions and feelings above all else. Rarely offers ‘homework’ or activities for self exploration.
Person Centric: Believes you are ‘whole’ and full of potential. The mentor’s objective is to help you believe that too. You may have a hole…but you are still whole. Diagnosis Centric: Diagnoses and treats medical issues – sometimes with medication.
Guides: Using baby steps and B.H.A.G.s (big hairy audacious goals) the mentor and the client work together to move forward – allowing the client to set the general path. Advice: Therapists often use the medical diagnoses to prescribe a protocol and course of action based on research.
Grief Smart: Mentors often have a ‘been there done that – have the t-shirt’ mentality. They are in the profession because they’ve experienced the exact same issues and have studied how to help others help themselves. Book Smart: Many years of schooling and study (and extensive testing and licenses). Many therapists are teachers at heart – but have not experienced the situation you’re experiencing personally. Much of their knowledge is from textbooks.
Your Terms: Meaningful and sustainable changes and realizations can come about at any time. The client has the opportunity to set the destination and the pace of all their progress. Long Term: Therapy is often thought of as a long-term time and resources commitment to be able to make progress towards insights and prolonged change.
Strength Based: Resilience is built on finding and harnessing your personal strengths. Deficit Based: Therapy is intended to fix what is broken by identifying and treating mental illness.

If Grief Mentoring sounds like something you’d like to explore take a few moments to read more over here, or find time for a quick complimentary call to learn more!


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