Counseling and Testing Center
The Andrews University Counseling & Testing Center is located in Bell Hall suite 123, adjacent to the university bookstore. The center provides comprehensive short-term counseling services free of charge to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the university as well as to their spouses. The counseling center is staffed by licensed psychologists, counselors and graduate interns. It is fully accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS).
Death in the University Family
The staff at the Counseling Center at Andrews University is saddened and expresses deepest sympathy on the sudden death of Kevin DeLeon. We understand that his family members as well as the faculty, staff, students and close friends who interacted with Kevin might be experiencing immense sorrow at this time. We extend our sincere sympathy. Please know that our staff is available to help you process and deal with the pain and sense of loss associated with Kevin’s passing. Members of crisis intervention teams organized in collaboration with the Graduate Department of Counseling & Psychology are also available to provide grief support. Please do not hesitate to stop by our office in Bell Hall Suite 123 or call us at 269-471-3470.
Surviving the loss of a Loved One
Experiencing the loss of a loved one is devastating. Others who have survived this loss acknowledge they will never be the same. The immediate, overwhelming intensity of emotion may feel impossible to endure. You may be flooded with successive waves of grief, confusion, guilt, shock, anger, shame or other emotions. When someone you love dies, it is helpful to accept that you are in mourning and to remember that grief is an emotional process that cannot be completely controlled. You may feel like you are on a roller-coaster of emotional highs and lows--feeling fine one moment, and then without warning, intensely missing the person who has died. This is normal.
Substantial healing and survival is possible and real. Many forms of support are available to help survivors through this complicated grieving process. Some choose individual therapy--which might begin at the Counseling and Testing Center (Bell Hall Suite 123; or call 269-471-3470). Some choose to meet with other survivors, who can share unique aspects of their loss and the healing process.
Helpful Tips to Deal with Grief and Loss
If you have recently suffered a loss of someone important in your life you may be confronted with some of the common myths about grieving. These myths include the following (from www.childrensroom.org):
• The pain of your grief will lessen faster if you just ignore it
• You should be “strong” when facing the loss
• If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t feeling sad about the loss
• Grief should last a set amount of time (a month, a year, etc.)
• Moving on means that you are forgetting the one you lost
• Your friends can help by not bringing up the subject around you
Grief is a personal experience and your experience will be different from that of other people who may share their stories with you. It is important to know that you will respond to grief in your own way.
When speaking about grief, we often refer to two forms of grief, complicated and uncomplicated. Uncomplicated grief is the most common form. Individuals experiencing this type of grief have a progressive lessening of their symptoms over a period of months, coming to gradually accept the loss and find ways to integrate the loss into their life. Complicated grief occurs when your symptoms are prolonged or feel like they intensify over time. You may be experiencing complicated grief if you experience:
• A persistent disbelief of the death of your loved one
• Intrusive memories or flashbacks
• Intense and recurring anger, sadness or guilt
• Inability to enjoy activities that you previously did
• Social withdrawal
• Difficulty attending classes and completing your coursework
When you are recovering from a loss, you frequently encounter a variety of stressors. These two types of stressors are often referred to as loss-oriented and restoration-oriented stressors. Loss-oriented stressors take the form that we most commonly know as grief symptoms such as sadness at the loss. Restoration-oriented stressors arise from trying to make meaning of the loss and integrating it into your life. University life can often make it difficult to handle these types of stressors due to the time constraints imposed on you. You may feel pressure to rush your grieving process or to ignore the symptoms and feelings you are experiencing.
If you are feeling pressure to process the grief experience know that there are multiple things that you can do to help. It is important to remember to take care of yourself during this time. It may be helpful to:
• Stick with a routine schedule.
• Find ways to express your emotions through writing, art, and music.
• Get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise.
• Be good to yourself - give yourself time to process this experience.
• Recognize that there will be highs and lows during the grieving process
• Don’t deny your feelings or numb them with alcohol or drugs.
• Set realistic expectations for yourself during this process as well.
(adapted from http://www.unhcc.unh.edu/grief-and-loss)
Other Helpful Links on Coping with Grief and Loss:
Loss and Grief
Coping with Loss