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The Difference Between Counseling and Consolation

Margit Cathrine Moller

No one should go through grief alone. And that is the reason why any human civilization always includes a time for vigils and memorial services. It is not for the dead, for the dead does not require humans to pay respect. It is for the living. It is for people who love the dead to gather together, share their grief and console one another.

Yes, consolation is important during times of grief. But sometimes, it is not enough. Consolation is the act of helping alleviate grief, or provide solace. It can be given as a simple gesture like an embrace or words that provide warmth.

But consolation is temporary. After the initial feeling of alleviation, the sense of loss returns. If that loss is not that devastating, people in grief will recover and move on with their lives. But, for some people, it is difficult.

That is where counseling comes in. To console is to alleviate the pain, but to counsel is to provide a path for recovery. Grief counseling provides tools and processes that will help families make sense of the death of a loved one. It is only when they make sense of the death that acceptance follows. Without acceptance – the pain, the anger, the guilt continues to haunt them like a ghost.

Deaths of a loved can destroy health, marriages, career paths, and even life itself. Grief should not be taken lightly. So, if you truly care for someone who is grieving, sometimes consoling is not enough. Suggest counseling. It might just save him or her from destruction.