Stories of Grief Counselors' Self-Care and Wellness Practices: A Narrative Inquiry




Goodrum, Bianca D.

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Professional hazards are inherent in the counseling profession. It is essential for counselors to practice self-care and wellness to mitigate burnout and other professional impairments. While the American Counseling Association's Codes of Ethics (ACA, 2014) addresses this professional mandate, research to date has not specifically explored self-care and wellness practices of grief counselors. Such examination is warranted as grief counselors may experience unique professional impairments given the nature of grief work. The current study explored the stories of grief counselors' self-care and wellness practices as they listen to clients' grief narratives. Eight participants were selected for the study and completed a semi-structured interview. Participant stories were analyzed through Fraser's (2004) line by line narrative analysis. The findings provided the following themes: (a) connection to identity as a grief counselor, (b) self-care and wellness as a multi-faceted process, (c) inherent risks of listening to clients' grief narratives, and (d) and navigating grief work during a global pandemic. Implications for counselors-in-training (CITs), professional counselors, and counselor educators are provided. Lastly, limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are suggested.


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grief counseling, grief counselor, self-care, wellness