Wraquel Spencer Brown decided to become a grief counselor when her mother unexpectedly died and she got little support from Human Resources at her job.
“Grief is not a mental health issue, it’s a broken heart issue,” said Brown, a certified grief and loss specialist
“You are not mentally ill because your heart is broken. You may feel mentally ill because your brain is trying to process and figure out what’s happening. Grief is a normal reaction to a loss and we all have losses.
“I was off on FMLA and I went to see my resource person at work because I was looking for support, but she just looked at me and said ‘If you love your job the way you say you do, you’ll be here more.’ That just shattered me. Even my coworkers were saying hurtful comments about my absence when I had just lost the most precious thing in my life.”
Brown said even the smallest decisions in her life became overwhelming. She was unable to do the simplest tasks even though she was in psychotherapy.
One day she was Googling and came across an article on grief that hit home.
“I found these articles and thought ‘that’s me!’ I told my therapist that I think I am actually grieving and he said he wasn’t qualified for grief counseling.
“I had such a hard time coming through this dark time, I didn’t want anyone else to go through it alone; so I went to the Grief Recovery Institute and became a certified grief specialist. I was studying Human Services at ETSU during this time, too.
“I learned there are different kinds of grief. Mine was accumulative from traumas I went through and never resolved like losing my grandfather, going through domestic abuse, my husband’s addiction to substances that caused us to lose everything, adverse childhood experiences.”
As part of her grief counseling services, Brown got her certificate in massage therapy from Arbor School of Massage and plans to take the state board exam in March.
Massage helps a person heal by allowing them to shift out of the stress response and into the relaxation response. After a major loss, grieving individuals often find it very difficult to relax on their own.
“Your body holds all the trauma from your life, plus people are starving for touch. Stress can lead to pain in your body. A good massage will release that pain, but you still have to resolve what’s bothering you or the pain will just return.”
Brown said she’d like to open a healing center that offers several modalities in one place.
“I have so many things in my future. Not only am I a grief and loss specialist and upcoming massage therapist, I also teach lifesaving classes, like suicide prevention, overdose prevention, domestic violence prevention through the Red Cross.”
Brown offers her services through Anderson’s Beauty Bar and Spa at 7815 Oak Ridge Hwy.
Info: Anderson’s Beauty Bar and Spa, 865-249-6862