Friday, January 11, 2013

The Downside of Grief Counseling

From David Brooks today, the latest insight into the value of talking about a trauma:

If a police officer witnesses the death of his partner, it seems that you’d want to quickly send in a grief counselor. In fact, this sort of immediate counseling freezes and fortifies memories of the trauma, making the aftershocks more damaging.

Of course, everyone believes that talking about it is a good way to deal with a trauma. Didn’t Freud suggest as much?

Now, Brooks reports, cognitive scientists have found that talking it over too extensively and too quickly has just the opposite effect: it “freezes” the memory, making it that much more difficult to put the trauma behind you.


Lastango said...

I've long considered grief counselors as a constituency hunting subsidies and public-sector pay packages. I'm not talking about the likes of those who work at hospitals, or professionals like Alan Wolfelt. I mean the gang that swarms elementary schools after, well, almost anything non-nice happens to anyone there.

I view the grief industry as an artifact of debt-bubble society. In this it resembles how lawyers have come to infest seemingly every organization, so the problem may be self-limiting. Job prospects and salaries for new lawyers are disintegrating, and have been for years. We never needed nor could we afford the enormous, parasitic legal blob that sprang up in parallel with the explosive growth of government, quasi-government entities like universities, and rent-seeking Big Business.

(I realize that's not the focus of your post. But I can't help but wonder if the grief industry would view the policeman's exacerbated grief as a feature, not a bug. Like a public sector bureaucracy, perhaps they would much rather manage a problem than solve it.)

Sam L. said...

Ambulance chasers, you might say.

grief counseling courses said...

grief counseling has its own advantages and disadvantages.