Grief Counseling Does Little to Help People in Grief
Jordan and Neimeyer’s review of studies measuring the effectiveness of grief counseling concluded, “. . . perhaps the central finding of these reviews is that grief counseling does not appear to be very effective, most probably because many of the people who received it would do just as well (and perhaps in some cases better) without it.” Five years later, in 2008, Neimeyer presented the results of his continued research into the effectiveness of grief counseling in a paper with Joseph Currier at the Association for Death Education and Counseling annual conference, with a similar conclusion: grief counseling has only a slightly helpful effect, and the effect is sustained for only a short time after the intervention ends.
Grief is persistent, defying interventions by counselors or physicians to help the grieving person.
Afterlife Communication Helps People in Grief
However, positive effects have resulted from encounters grieving people have with their loved ones after the passing. In a study reported in OMEGA—Journal of Death and Dying, researchers examined subjects’ accounts of post-death encounters and their positive effects on the bereaved. Their findings were that, “The encounters profoundly affected the participants’ beliefs in an afterlife and attitudes toward life and death, and had a significant effect on their grief. Finally, post-death encounters had a healing effect on the participants by contributing to a sense of connectedness with the deceased. We conclude that health care professionals and counselors should be educated about post-death encounters so that the bereaved can share their experiences in a supportive and understanding atmosphere.”
Psychotherapists Have Learned How to Help People Have Afterlife Communications
Psychotherapists today have developed protocols that help their clients have afterlife connections with their deceased loved ones at will during psychotherapy sessions. In 1995, Allan Botkin developed a protocol for intentionally engendering these connections that he named Induced After-Death Communication (IADC). He used a method of stimulating the right and left sides of the brain called bilateral stimulation. The bilateral stimulation method he used is named EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). In EMDR, the psychotherapist has the client move his or her eyes left and right repeatedly while focusing on a distressing memory. Dr. Botkin added the instruction to “be open to whatever happens.” The result was the sense of an afterlife connection in 70% of the sessions, lasting 5 seconds to 15 minutes. He described the connections as most often a smiling face or sense of the presence of the deceased. Dr. Botkin has observed that the encounters consistently have a positive effect on the client’s grief. The procedure is described in the book Seek Reality Online co-founder Craig Hogan wrote with the originator of the method.
In 2010, Rochelle Wright learned Dr. Botkin’s protocol and redesigned it, creating a new method of helping clients have afterlife connections with the deceased that she named Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy. Wright uses the eye movements, but adds auditory bilateral stimulation by playing music or sounds through a headset that alternate in volume between the left and right ears. In addition, her enhanced method focuses on allowing those in the afterlife to guide the experience, does not interrupt the unfolding process to redirect the client to focuses other than those being brought to the client naturally, and places no time limits on the duration of the experience. The Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy method has resulted in afterlife connections in 98% of the sessions in which it has been used to date. The connections may last for an hour or more and usually consist of active encounters with the deceased, such as receiving messages, having conversations, walking together, hugging, and even kissing. The clients report that their grief dramatically diminishes or is extinguished by the connections, and their lives are changed.
The procedure is described in the book Seek Reality Online co-founder Craig Hogan wrote with the originator of the method.
A Study to Learn Whether Psychotherapists Do Help Clients Have Afterlife Communications
A study was performed using the Subjective Units of Distress scale (SUDS) commonly employed in EMDR psychotherapy to evaluate how disturbing a memory is for the client. The study used 45 subjects who participated in Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy procedures with Rochelle Wright, M.S., originator of the Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy procedure. It compared SUDS scale ratings at the beginning of the Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy procedure with SUDS scale ratings of the same memories during or after the procedure. This report describes the methods used in the study and results.
The study used 45 clients who had Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy experiences. It was limited to those subjects for whom SUDS ratings for specific memories were gathered before the session and during or after the session. For this study, only memories with pre-session ratings of 8 or higher were included in the sample. The result was 189 memories among the 45 clients. All of the sessions were facilitated by Rochelle Wright. All of the afterlife connections happened in one session. The median time was four hours. Longer sessions usually involved some psychotherapy work along with the Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy.
The Study Shows Psychotherapists Do Guide People into Having Afterlife Communications
The results of the study showed that people were able to have afterlife communications that healed grief.
Degree of Disturbance at the Beginnings of the Sessions
The SUDS scale uses numbers 0 to 10 for the client to rate the degree to which a memory is disturbing. A 0 indicates that it has no disturbing effect. A 10 indicates that it is very disturbing. At the beginning of the study, 179 (95%) were 10 and above, with 95 (50%) above 10.
Degree of Disturbance During and at the End of a Session
When the same memories were evaluated during or at the end of the session, the SUDS ratings had reduced dramatically. Of the 189 mid-session and post-session SUDS ratings, 172 (89.6%) had reduced to 0, 1, 2, or 3.
The Amount Grief Reduced from the Experiences
If the ratings that were over 10 are reduced to 10, the average pre-session SUDS rating for all of the memories was 9.91 on the 10-point scale. After the Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy procedure, the average mid-session and post-session SUDS rating for all of the memories was 1.42. The average reduction between the pre-session SUDS ratings and the mid- and post-session ratings was 8.5 points on the 10-point scale.
Conclusion: Psychotherapists Can Reduce Grief Dramatically through Afterlife Communication
The Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy procedure dramatically reduces the disturbance of memories that initially were very disturbing. The SUDS ratings decreased from a pre-session average score of 8.5 or 10.71 (depending on the scores assigned to ratings above 10) to a mid- and post-session average rating of 1.42. All of the sessions in the study resulted in connections in one session. It is clear that the Guided Afterlife Connections procedure has a dramatic effect on grief with virtually all clients, regardless of the level of grief at the beginning of the session.
Considering the fact that evaluations of conventional grief therapy show it has little or no effect on clients’ grief, the highly effective Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy procedure should be used as the standard treatment for people suffering from bereavement over the passing of a loved one.