For 20 years I was privileged to serve as Pastor for a small rural congregation near Lethbridge Alberta. In 2007 I was faced with some significant personal loss. I moved to a new career in funeral service and became a licensed funeral director in 2011.
Part of my motivation to enter funeral service was a desire to find better solutions for the pain of loss than those I had been using. In addition to my personal need, I had a strong desire to provide truly meaningful resources to other grievers. My search led me to an amazing little book called The Grief Recovery Handbook, by John W. James and Russell Friedman. This was the beginning of a life-changing journey for me.
In 2009, with the support and encouragement of my funeral home management, I was trained by John James and became a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. The program was tranformational for me. I felt confident I had found the better way I had been seeking. Since then I have led multiple Grief Recovery groups through the sponsorship of the funeral home. In addition, I give talks on various aspects of grief, primarily in faith and health care settings. I have also led the Helping Children with Loss program, using the book "When Children Grieve," also by John W. James and Russell Friedman. I have recently received advanced training from the Institiute in order to provide some of our programs online.
It was through the Helping Children with Loss program that a partnership with a funeral service colleague, Lorri Penner developed. Lorri is a Registered Social Worker and metal health therapist in Lethbridge and is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. Lorri leads group and one-on-one grief recovery programs and partners with me leading group programs at Martin Bros Funeral Chapels.
Please check the program calendar on this page for upcoming program schedules.
Overall very beneficial, I do think some of the material earlier in the book goes on for longer than necessary (myths, STERBS) and doesn't provide a ton of value. The later chapters (the loss history graph and on) are much more useful though, of course. Doing assignments, readings and meetings for all the earlier topics felt like a lot of effort for little payoff while waiting to get into the meatier stuff.Support GroupsParticipant in Calgary, Alberta03/21/2023
It helped me get through the worst thing that has ever happened to me in a healthy way and in just 8 weeks!Support GroupsParticipant in Lethbridge, Alberta03/21/2023
Self discovery Self awareness of emotions Emotional honesty and vulnerability Many losses and grief in life Parent's influence in life and death Transferable to minor loss and greater lossesSupport GroupsParticipant in Lethbridge, alberta11/29/2022
The program gave me insight on how to complete all losses I have had. It was interesting to learn that I could actually follow the grief support method with a living person or life-changing event. I will be going through this process for more of the losses in my life. Thank you for the opportunity to learn how to properly complete losses in my life; this course is has been such a valuable tool for me and I will continue with the process as I move forward in my life.Support Groups03/22/2022
The program presented a very specific and unique path to recovery. The facilitators guided our group through the steps with honesty and in a caring manner. They demonstrated very clear exercises consistent with the handbook. They then explained what we were to complete for the next week. Each of these exercises were fundamental steps to the next weeks work. The goal is to have a complete grief experience and this certainly happened for me.Support Groups03/22/2022
Helped me to be able to cope with the loss of my husband and deal with previous childhood traumas. Lorri Penner and Brian Magee were extremely helpful in teaching me how to release past baggage. Exceptional coordinators.Support GroupsParticipant in Lethbridge, Alberta11/17/2020