Franklin James Cook

Personal Grief Coaching Helps Bereaved People by Phone

In Announcements, Grief, Postvention on January 26, 2014 at 10:01 am

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In 2013, Suicide Prevention News & Comment editor and publisher Franklin Cook earned his Certified Professional Coach credentials and combined the principles and practices of Life Coaching with those of peer help for traumatic loss survivors to create an innovative telephone support service called Personal Grief Coaching. Here is what it’s all about:


Franklin Cook mug

Helping people cope with grief after a loved one’s traumatic death is Franklin Cook’s mission in life. His own father died traumatically in 1978, and two decades later, he began working with bereaved people as a newfound vocation. After 15 years as a peer helper, he became a Certified Professional Coach and developed this model for one-on-one telephone support, called Personal Grief Coaching. Franklin believes that each person’s unique experience of loss should be honored and respected, and his coaching sessions provide a safe space for grieving people to tell their story as they wish to tell it.

The guiding principles of Personal Grief Coaching:

  • Grief is a natural human response to a loved one’s death.
  • Each bereaved person’s needs are unique, and people benefit from individualized assistance.
  • Peer support from a person who has recovered from a traumatic death can be very helpful to a bereaved person.
  • Grief involves making meaning from things about life that are confusing and painful (which is also called “relearning the world“).
  • Compassionate dialogue with a peer coach can create a place from where bereaved people can find their own way to healing.
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  1. After losing three very special people in my life within 2 years, one of which was my husband. He died from many long years battling cancer, the second one was a friend who also had cancer, and one to suicide in my home (I found her).
    I have been thinking about suicide a lot; I have been in the hospital 3 times, once in ICU for 4 days. How do you help people like myself who have no desire to be here anymore? I just don’t care about anything! Everything is bla. I seldom go anywhere, i have trouble eating. . . no excitement for anything or an one. Things that were wonderful before don’t thrill me in the slightest. What can I tell myself to get past this grief. Does the empty feeling ever go away? I am in therapy and want to try, but not feeling much hope. And PLEASE don’t tell me I need Jesus or some other cliche!

  2. Pippy: Thank you for sharing about your situation. You have experienced many very heavy losses in a short period of time, and it is understandable that you are having dark thoughts and even that you are “not feeling much hope” — for the weight of such tragedies is painful and can cause a person to wonder about life itself. You’re certainly correct that there is no cliche in the world that is helpful when a person is confronting the experience of “thinking about suicide a lot.” Posting a reply to you like this is probably not the best way to be helpful either, and I hope my observations are not out-of-line, but I would like to say that your question “What can I tell myself to get past this grief?” and your statement “I … want to try” are actions that have more than a grain of hope and strength in them. I don’t know the answer to your question, but I believe with all of my heart (if a person can “believe” with his heart instead of his head) that you are capable of discovering the answer — if you give yourself enough time and get the kind of support you need. Your willingness to try, I think, is all that the universe really requires of you. Please keep trying. Franklin

  3. Thank You Franklin for your kind and inspiring words of hope. And Thank You for what you do. I am also sorry for your loss of your dad. I know death is a part of life, it will happen to all of us, but it is so very hard, isn’t it.

  4. Indeed, Pippy … It’s terribly hard, but it gets better (a friend once told me, “Time does not heal, but it takes time to heal,” and that seems right to me). Thank you for your kind words. Franklin

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