My internship for the Royal Experience Summer Internship Program is at Good Grief in Morristown, NJ. Good Grief is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide unlimited and free support to children, teens, young adults, and families after the death of an immediate family member through peer support programs, education, and advocacy. So far, I have been working at Good Grief for a couple weeks now and have mostly been setting up and facilitating support groups. Even with only being there a short amount of time, I already feel myself learning so much about the aftermath of losing a parent while still in childhood. In my future, I am looking to work with children who are experiencing PTSD and trauma. For young children, losing a direct parent or sibling is a traumatic event for them, especially depending on how the death of that individual occurred. Children could have witnessed their parent or sibling die and could develop anxiety, distress, sleep disturbances (nightmares), self-isolation, irritability, misperceived danger, etc. These are things I have read in textbooks and studied for exams, but I am starting to see these symptoms in real life talking to these children. Of course, it’s horrible for the people experiencing it but helpful exposure to me as a future helping professional looking to counsel people with these experiences.
One thing I really hope to learn about myself while at my internship is what age groups I enjoy the most and want to work with in the future. Good Grief is a terrific opportunity for me to narrow down what age populations I like. There are seven different support groups all with different ages from pre-school children to older adults. In the few different groups I have facilitated, I have enjoyed working with the teenagers the most. This age population experiences so many struggles already and the trauma of losing a parent makes these pivotal years unbearable. This is where they will start to experience significant milestones in their life without a parent being there, like getting their driver’s license, going to prom, graduating high school, going to college, etc. Because of these struggles, I find this age population to be the most fulfilling to work with. However, I want to remain open to every age group to see if my mind changes.
This is my facilitator name tag that I wear every day in the office.
This was written by a participant in teen group on June 9th at a Night of Support. The topic for today was “resiliency” and the participant didn’t know how to explain how they were feeling so instead they felt compelled to write it out.
This is the 3rd-5th grade support group picking out activities to do. There are different activities options in the child groups if they don’t want to talk about their grief and instead want a distraction. Activities include bracelet making, drawing, model magic, sand art, play dough, etc.
Nicole Gomber ’23
Counseling and Human Services