Dr Justin Coulson's Happy Families

#888 Finding the Words with Colin Campbell

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Episode notes

*Content warning: mature themes - listener discretion advised*

When someone is grieving the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to know how to approach them and what to say. How do you convey your compassion, your awareness of their enormous loss? What words and actions are helpful to the person grieving, and what is unhelpful or perhaps even harmful?

Colin Campbell, author of 'Finding the words', shares a practical and helpful approach to supporting someone in their grief, how to move through sorrow and profound loss with hope and purpose, and why there is a vital need for community during the grieving process.

Topics in this episode:

  • The loss of a child
  • Suicide
  • How to support someone in their deep sorrow - what to say, what not to say
  • "I have no words" ends any chance of a dialogue about grief. Find the words.
  • The evolution of grief, and of the grieving person's identity within that sorrow
  • The importance of engaging with and accepting grief, rather than avoiding it
  • Grief as a sensitive, taboo subject further isolates those in mourning
  • Why trying to comfort a grieving person is not helpful
  • Different societal/religious responses to grief, traditional mourning processes, and cultural tools and rules for managing grief in community. Of particular note:  
  • What Losing My Two Children Taught Me About Grief - The Atlantic 
  • Viktor Frankl 'Mans Search for Meaning'
  • Adoption (and the trauma and grief that can accompany it)
  • In Memory of Logan

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