Grief Workshops in the Philippines

Thursday, June 06, 2013 Stef dela Cruz 5 Comments

Before I talk about grief workshops in the Philippines, tell me if this has happened to you before: You’re feeling a little depressed because you just got fired/ the love of your life broke up with you/ someone close to you passed away.

You tell your friend how awful you feel and in an attempt to make you feel better, your friend undermines your loss and says, “You’re strong! You’ll get over it.”

Yeah, it’s supposed to make you feel better, but it makes you feel even worse. It feels like your friend is making your loss seem smaller than it is, inadvertently calling your grief rather trivial.

Why Your Friends Might Not Handle Your Grief Well

Believe it or not, people – even our closest friends and family – aren’t experts at handling our grief. They tend to tiptoe or say the most inappropriate things. During a grief workshop I attended at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global City, I felt like a long-time itch has finally been scratched after the wonderful speaker, Mary Ellen Erickson, shared her story.

Grief Workshop Philippines

“After my son died, one of my friends said, ‘Aren’t you glad you have other children?’ Friends say the darnedest things.”
– Mel Erickson, grief counselor

The truth is, we turn to our family and friends for comfort after we lose someone or something close to us. But if doing so is giving you more hurt than healing, perhaps it’s time you sought additional help from a grief counselor – and that’s what I’m sharing with you later.

Yes, there is such a thing as a grief counselor! Grief counselors are licensed therapists who can help you manage your grief. Recognize the fact that although your friends mean well, they aren’t necessarily going to be therapeutic if they don’t know how to handle grief themselves. And perhaps that’s where a grief counselor can step in and help you.

How You Can Handle Grief Better

I wrote about the grief workshop for Health Today magazine’s July 2013 issue  – I hope you get a copy of the magazine once it hits the newsstands. There, I shared the different components of a “grief seminar”, the concept of “grief bundles”, and other terms that Mel Erickson used to help demystify grief. Kristel Tejada’s parents were there as well, sharing how they felt about their daughter’s suicide.

Kristel Tejada's parents at the grief workshopChristoper Tejada, father of Kristel Tejada, shared how he felt about her daughter’s suicide.

But in case you can’t wait, you can contact EPCALM, the Adult Leukemia Foundation of the Philippines, who helped organize the grief workshop. Email them at or call them at (02) 7231048 and (0932)8548459.

Mel Erickson and Dr. Stef dela CruzA could-have-been-awesome photo with Mel Erickson, if not for the photobomber in the background!

You don’t have to manage your grief alone. Admittedly, there aren’t too many grief support groups and resources, but more and more people are getting involved in grief workshops in the Philippines. If you feel yourself unraveling and losing yourself in grief, take heart in the knowledge that there’s something you can do to “grieve clean”.

Are You Grieving? Share Your Story.

Have you ever lost anyone close to you? Have you experienced grief that has almost taken over your life before? Are you grieving right now? Do you feel so angry because of your loss that you’re lashing out? Share your story below. Let your words be your catharsis – and let them be a beacon of hope to others who feel that they are alone in their grief. Go ahead, leave a comment for everyone to read. As Mel Erickson said in her workshop, “Teach me how it feels to walk in your shoes.”

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.


  1. your GP could be a grief counselor , could not he ?


  2. lory.ann.g.espia

    i just lost my mom last june 20 2014 due to cancer. shes only 62. Im so sad beyond grief. feeling so low and dont know how to put this feeling into words.
    i guess i am still mourning. my mom passed away june 20 and by june 30 2014 i went back to work as mandated by company.

    i need someone to talk to and share how i am feeling. i dont have siblings, and i am a single mom to my 5yr old daughter. i got few friends, but i dont get the assurance and assistance that i need.

    i guess im going to break down anytime soon.

  3. Ahyeyuh/ Lory Ann, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. How are you doing now? Feel free to leave a comment once in a while, to rant and let go of stress here, whenever you can.

    I hope this piece of the online real estate can give you some semblance of reassurance, no matter how small. I also hope you find more people to connect with here.

    May I also ask that you talk to someone from HR at your company? If they can't give you more time to come to terms with your loss, maybe there's something else they can offer you. It's worth a try.

    Let me know how you're feeling now.

  4. I just lost my lovelife, our future, my partner of 17 years, father of my kids , xbf, lovelife last july 1 ..... Im so empty inside my world stops...
    Dunno how to have life again... :(

  5. Halfdozen, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. You can leave a comment here to feel better whenever you can. I also hope you have people in real life whom you can talk to, people who understand your plight.

    My words will never be enough, so I hope you find more people to connect with here and in real life. :)


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