Local Grief Counseling Resources
Dear Parents,

In the event any members of our community find themselves in need of additional resources or assistance, I have taken the liberty of providing below a list of grief specialists in the Denver area.  These are professionals we know or have worked with in the past.  (Please note that the majority work with children and adults unless otherwise indicated.)  In addition, I would be happy to review your insurance provider list for any other professionals.  Please contact me at school or send your list to my email:  [email protected]  Your county mental health center will also have providers.  Please do not hesitate to reach out for assistance from any of these professionals or any of us here at school should your child, your family or you need extra support.

Sincerely,

Craig A. Knippenberg, LCSW, M.Div.
St. Anne’s Consultant



Lisa Billings, Ph.D. (Adults)
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(303) 946-6495

Jeff Caster, Ph.D.
Centennial, CO 80122
(303) 870-7881

Jane Cleveland, Ph.D.
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(303) 779-0609

Dina Elias, Psy.D.
Englewood, CO 80111
(303) 502-6172

Kwai Kendall-Grove, Ph.D.
Centennial, CO 80122
(303) 662-9670

Katie Mattei, Psy.D.
Englewood, CO 80111
(303) 601-5244

Duane Mullner, M.Div.
Golden, CO  80403
(303) 985-3534

Jennifer Ritchie-Goodline, Psy.D.
Englewood, CO  80111
(720) 299-8342

Kathleen Robinson, Psy.D.
Denver, CO 80222
(303) 782-0433

Paul Walker, LCSW (Adults and older adolescents)
Englewood, CO 80111
(303) 694-0713 Return to Top
Helping Children and Teens Cope With Trauma
1. Be direct, simple, honest and appropriate. Explain truthfully what happened.
 
2. Listen to what the child or teen is feeling or asking you. Then respond according to the
child or teen's needs and your own ability.
 
3. Encourage the child or teen to express feelings openly. Crying is normal and helpful. So are feelings of anger.
 
4. Accept the emotions and reactions the child or teen expresses. Don't tell the child or teen how she or he should or should not feel.
 
5. Share your feelings with the child or teen. Allow the child or teen to comfort you.
 
6. Offer warmth and your physical presence and affections.
 
7. Be patient. Know that children or teens need to hear and/or tell "the story" and to ask the same questions again and again.
 
8. Reassure the child or teen that the loss is not contagious; that the death of one person
does not mean that another loved one will also die or be injured.
 
9. Maintain order, stability and security in the child or teen's life.
 
10. Take your own advice. Take care of yourself. If you're not okay, the child or teen cannot be okay.
 
11. Many counselors can assist in working through feelings. Return to Top
Ways to Talk to Your Child About Death
The following ideas are to be used as guidelines.  Each child is different.  Every grief has a different timeline, process and course.  Use what is helpful.  Get help when it feels that you could use the support.  

The most important influence on how children react at a time of death is the response of parents and other important people in the child’s life.  

Children cannot fully take hold of all that they are being told in the beginning.  The information that children acquire from the process of questions and answers is less important than the accepting atmosphere that such interactions create.  Children need to repeat their questions over and over.  This helps them adjust better to the death. It is not the gaining of additional information that makes these repeated questions helpful, but the process of repeating the questions.  It is as if each time the child discusses the death it becomes a little more bearable.  This desensitization of the pain of death is central to children’s adjusting to it.

As a parent, you do not need to offer more information than the child is really asking. Keep answers simple.  If the child wants more information, they will ask again.

Children often ask questions to test.  Try to figure out what they are really asking.  For example, if they ask if people die from stomachaches, you ask, are you worried about your stomach?  Or, are you asking what X died from?  Use your intuition.

It’s OK to admit that you don’t have all the answers.

Help label your child’s feelings.   Say, it seems like you are feeling “x”.  I see the “worry or anger or sadness” in your eyes (face, body).

Remember that appearances can be deceiving.  The child who seems to be doing exceptionally well can often be the most upset inside.  For the first year, check in with your child frequently, just to see how they are doing.  Don’t be close-ended in your questioning.  Don’t say, “ how are you doing”  because you will get ‘fine” for an answer.  Ask,  “what thoughts (feelings, concerns, questions) have been on you mind lately?

Do not feel that you shouldn’t cry or get upset in front of your child.   They need to see that others are also experiencing “big” feelings.  Feel your feelings, but remember not to burden your child with “adult” feelings.  Share those with a therapist or other supportive person. 

Children are more likely to feel guilt than adults.  In their experiences bad things happen when they are naughty.  Even if they understand the manner of death, they often experience survivor’s guilt.  Acknowledge that they might be feeling this, but reassure them they were in no way responsible. Return to Top
Books to Help Children When Someone Dies
1.    All God’s Creatures Go To Heaven  by N.A. Noel
2.    I’ll Always Love You    by Hans Wilhelm
3.    Remember the Secret  by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
4.    Lifetimes by B Mellonie and R. Ingpen
5.    When Dinosaurs Die  by L Krasny Brown 
6.    The Fall of Freddie the Leaf  by Leo Buscaglia
7.    When someone very special dies by M. Heegaard – workbook for children.

Other Related Readings:

Talking about Death a dialogue between parent and child by Earl Grollman…good to recommend to parents.

Grief’s Courageous Journey by S. Caplan and G. Lang. (more adult based but can be used with kids.)

Kids book about Death and Dying E. Rofes  ( good reference for working with kids with this experience)

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Choldren (Written by a Buddhist nun) Return to Top