One of the most difficult events a child can face is the death of a parent or other family member. Following such a loss, a child often turns to a trusted teacher for guidance and support. Barr-Harris offers several resources to help teachers and administrators respond compassionately and effectively to the needs of their students at these critical times.

How We Help Teachers and School Administrators

  • Assist with grief-counseling at school  in emergencies and crisis situations: when a teacher dies, the death of a student, or any school emergency involving loss of life.
  • Consult with school teachers and administrators about individual children or specific issues.
  • Conduct customized workshops and presentations for teachers, social service professionals, and administrators at school.
  • Conduct six professional grief counseling workshops annually at Barr-Harris’s downtown location.
  • Online teachers’ guide to helping children cope with loss.

These two real-life scenarios demonstrate how Barr-Harris helps schools respond to crises involving loss of life. In both incidents, Barr-Harris staff responded immediately to the school’s request for on-site assistance. Barr-Harris helped the administrators plan their response, conducted group discussions, and identified individuals who needed additional counseling to cope with the trauma.

Case 1: Five junior high school students were playing with a loaded gun a week before graduation. A girl was accidentally shot in the head and died immediately.

After the school was notified of the death, a school administrator contacted Barr-Harris to request crisis and grief counseling for staff and students. On the following day, two Barr-Harris therapists met with staff and, later in the day, met with friends of the deceased student. The next day, Barr-Harris therapists returned to the school for a second meeting with staff members. They also met with parents of the students involved in the incident. As a result of this meeting, one of the surviving students was identified as needing additional counseling and accepted for immediate individual therapy at Barr-Harris. A week after the incident, another student was hospitalized for psychiatric care.

At the one-year anniversary of the event, Barr-Harris therapists followed up with the school to evaluate adjustment to the loss and assess further needs.

Case 2: While skateboarding with friends, a junior high school student was run over by a car and died immediately.

The school administrator contacted Barr-Harris for assistance with grief counseling for staff and students. On the following day, two Barr-Harris therapists came to the school and met with staff. Later that day, they held group discussions about the impact of loss with the student’s friends. Two days later, the therapists returned for additional meetings with students who had witnessed the incident and continued feeling extremely disturbed. The therapists referred one of the friends to Barr-Harris for additional one-on-one counseling.

How to Contact Barr-Harris

For more information about our consulting services, workshops, and presentations, call Judy Schiffman at (312) 922-7474 x310

Who We Serve

Barr-Harris provides therapeutic services for children and adolescents ages 2 to 17 who have suffered a profound loss or other trauma. Barr-Harris helps children recover from:

  • Death of a parent;
  • Separation, divorce, or abandonment;
  • Violence or trauma at school or in the community.

What We Do

Grief therapy and grief counseling services:

  • Diagnostic evaluations of the child, parent, and other family members to determine needs;
  • Short and long-term one-on-one treatment, if needed;
  • Child guidance to the surviving parent or custodial adult.