Digital Tools & Grieving: What Funeral Directors Should Know
Posted September 23, 2020
5 min read
One thing is clear: the typical ways and methods of coping with difficult events, including death and dying, aren’t as available during the pandemic. That’s part of why we decided to have a conversation with Lacy Robinson about many of the digital grief tools and coping strategies available today.
As a speaker, trainer, and educator who regularly presents on grief in a digital world, Lacy offers funeral home clients more than 14 years of success in developing and facilitating customer service training programs. As an experienced coach and speaker, Lacy has established organizations including Aurora Casket Company and the National Funeral Directors Association as leading providers of training and development for funeral professionals.
She’s also a licensed funeral director/embalmer, a certified funeral celebrant, and certified member of the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice and previously served on the APFSP Board of Trustees. She also teaches Fundamentals of Customer Service at Worsham College of Mortuary Science.
Individuals have been using these digital grief tools and joining these communities for more than 20 years, explains Lacy, but now more than ever you should feel confident in recommending effective grief resources and online tools to families to help them connect with others and heal.
In our last blog, we covered why individuals are turning to technology for grief and emotional support. Continue reading this article to learn additional virtual tools, and the different viewpoints of using digital grief tools you should know about as a funeral professional.
Digital Tools That Focus on Virtual Therapy
Virtual or tele-therapy provides patients with a convenient alternative to traditional in person visits. Individuals struggling to find the time to commit to in person therapy will appreciate virtual sessions, explains Lacy. “Many virtual therapy platforms offer three short complimentary sessions for individuals to experience before committing long term which is a plus. The downside, especially during COVID19, is finding the privacy with little to no distractions or interruptions at home while engaging in virtual therapy,” she explains.
The Power of (Digital) Journaling to Grieve & Cope
Another tool that funeral directors don’t want to forget about is digital journaling tools.
“Journaling has the ability to increase one’s happiness, enhance creativity, manage stress, maximize productivity, and increases one’s self awareness,” explains Lacy.
The process of journaling is best captured by the Center of Journal Therapy. Remember the word WRITE, explains Lacy:
W - what do you want to write about? Think about current thoughts and feelings.
R - Review and reflect on it. Spend time reflecting on those thoughts and experiences, write it down and reflect and review once it’s written
I - Investigate your thoughts and feelings. Reread and refocus and keep writing.
T - Time yourself. It’s recommended to set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes or longer. Give yourself a goal with time.
E - And last to Exit - reflect, be introspective and summarize and perhaps add a next plan of action line.
“There are several great, digital journaling tools available that funeral directors could share that would simply complement the bereavement resources they already provide. Digital journaling may be a better lifestyle fit that involves less clutter,” explains Lacy. “It’s definitely worth considering when sharing grief support resources with families.”
Different Viewpoints of Using Digital Grief Tools: The Pros & Cons
The pros or the benefits of using digital grief tools is simple: Digital mental health tools are convenient, affordable and accessible. “They provide tremendous benefit to those with physical limitations, those who live in remote areas and for those who are sheltered in place during COVID-19,” adds Lacy.
But there can be downsides to digital tools that you need to consider, too.
“The downside to digital tools is that it can be considered impersonal, insurance may not cover it, and unreliable technology may be an issue for both parties,” explains Lacy. Security and privacy issues will always be a concern from some as well. Legal and ethical concerns do come into play when receiving care from a different state or country.
“Practitioners value their in-person time with patients which allow them to evaluate one’s body language and facial expressions. If the non-verbal language is nonexistent, it may impact results,” says Lacy. “What is most concerning is that an individual with a serious mental health condition who is in desperate need of in-person comprehensive therapy may never go that route and only rely on online mental health tools, so that’s something for funeral professionals to be aware of.”
Ultimately, grief impacts individuals in so many ways. It can be overwhelming and daunting for them to handle. These are just a few tools—online forums, grief therapy apps, virtual therapy sessions, and digital journaling—that can hopefully make a difference in how someone copes and manages their grief.
Learn More About CRäKN’s Efficiency Tools for Your Funeral Home
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