I thought I would take a few minutes and self-reflect and share some thoughts with you that may help you at some point.
Background: Last week we had a middle school student pass away unexpectedly in a pretty unclear circumstance. Details are still not released officially and we are not sure if they will be, but needless to say it was devastating to our two school sites. The MS and HS share a building in our small town school so many teachers, students and siblings are feeling the pain of this loss. I have an older sibling at our high school, but they are a younger student and I have only met with the student once for a short minute meeting and never the parents prior to the incident.
Self-Reflection: While I am a pretty confident counselor in many areas, although young and always learning, I realized that I am far from prepared and confident in my grief counseling skills. Granted, this is an area I hope I don’t get the opportunity to become an expert in, but I need to know more in order to respond effectively.
Luckily, our district and my fellow counselors/psychs descended on the two sites to provide support and there was an overwhelming amount of knowledge and skill between the two schools to help grieving students that I fell into more of a coordinator/administrator type role. I ensured that students were finding their way to designated rooms to get support, helped all the counselors/psychs access the things they needed, and connected with parents. I also attended to the less effected students by going to classrooms, connecting and supporting teachers, and other staff. I am comfortable in leadership positions and naturally gravitate to that type of role, so looking back – I am not surprised by my actions.
However, my mind and training keeps trying to tell me I should have done something different – more focused on students. That is where my self-reflection comes in…why do I feel that I must not play to my strengths and allow others to do the same?
I did what I felt comfortable with and was most helpful, but still have lingering feelings that I should of had a different role because of my position but not sure how it would look if/when another incident happens.
We had over a dozen highly trained professionals on site who knew exactly what to do with students and I was most likely the least trained of the group in grief/loss, but feel like because I was the counselor on site, should have taken more of a direct role in student support.
Has anyone else been in a similar situation or spot? I think we all fell into good places as a team and the students were well supported, but thinking forward to the next situation – I wonder where my place comes in…I hopefully will get some more training in grief support/counseling (read: ASCA 2014) in the near future to make me more comfortable in the situation.
What are areas you feel most uncomfortable with? How are/did you overcome or work through that?
Please leave a comment or shoot me an email! I would love to hear back from you.