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Child & Family Grief Counselling

Welcome to Sage Centre. We recognize this can be a difficult time for you and those close to you. We will do everything we can to offer you both support and helpful resources. 

We offer the only professional services for grieving children in Southern Alberta. Our counsellors specialize in helping families with children and teens adjust to the changes in their lives when someone close to them is living with a life-threatening illness or has died. 

As the leading agency in Child & Family Grief we are the primary referral site for the following: schools, Alberta Health Services, health and mental health care professionals, victims assistance services, and past & current clients.

We Go Where We Are Needed

We ensure our services are accessible to all by attempting to remove logistical challenges during an already challenging time. Our counsellors work with patients and families at our Sage Centre location, and when appropriate, can also offer support at hospices, hospitals, schools, home, or at other locations. 

Why Grief Counselling

Grief is how we respond when we experience loss. Everyone experiences grief and many people associate grief with the death of someone close to them. Grief is also a common reaction when someone in their lives is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. 

Grief is complicated. There is no one way to experience grief; members of the same family can grieve differently. Connecting with other people can reduce the sense of isolation and feelings of loneliness that often come with grief. Our counsellors can help a grieving child, teen, or family navigate the emotions and overall impact associated with grief.  

What to Expect

Parents and caregivers will be invited to meet their family's counsellor during an intake session. When children and teens first meet with their counsellor, the focuses will be getting to know each other and exploring the space. 

Counselling sessions may include art and play therapies, writing or other activities that help explore and express grief. 

Accessible to All 

Counselling fees are on a sliding scale based on family income and drop-in groups are free of charge. 

No one is turned away due to financial difficulties as we work hard with our community partners to ensure there are no obstacles to accessing our services. If your financial circumstances change at any time, please do not hesitate to speak with your counsellor for a fee adjustment. 

Risks & Benefits of Grief Counselling

There may be some increase in intensity of feelings as we discuss and work through grief. The intention and benefit of counselling is to enhance our well-being. We all grieve in our own unique way and have different needs as we experience the death of someone close to us.

Individual counselling is focused on the individual's immediate or near future concerns, such as grief after someone close to them has died. It’s a one-on-one discussion between the counsellor and the client. The two form an alliance, a relationship or bond that enables trust and personal growth. Sessions may include art and play therapies, writing or other activities that help explore and express grief. 

Family counselling brings together the members of a family as a group. It focuses on family dynamics and explores issues that affect a family (e.g. disease, death or conflict). By engaging the immediate family unit in grief counselling, those grieving can find great long-term support around them as they establish their resiliency. 

Sage Centre 
1245 70 Avenue SE   
Calgary, AB T2H 2X8   
Family & Community Support Services

Sage Centre is wheelchair accessible and free parking is available in front of the building.

Contact Us for More Info



Grief Group Support

Group programs for children, teens, and families can help reduce isolation, foster connection, establish resilience, and build community. Our current group programs for children, teens and their families are listed below. 

Group Programs for Grieving Children, Teens & Families

Kids Club

This 8-week evening grief group for children in grades 1-6, has a concurrent group for parents/caregivers and presents opportunities for children to meet others who are grieving. 

  • Topics of discussion in the children's group may include: exploring the grief process through the lens of children; continued bonds; memory sharing; coping strategies; and fostering resiliency. 
  • Topics of discussion in the parent/caregiver group may include: examining topics associated with supporting a grieving child; family changes; coping strategies; and self-care. 
  • Kids Club activities may include: bead program; collage project; and memory sharing night.

Common Ground

This 8-week evening group for teens in grades 7-12 offers a safe place for participants to explore their grief experiences with their peers.

  • Topics of discussion may include: what is grief and its holistic impact; coping strategies; memory sharing; and family changes, both immediate and long term as a result of loss. 
  • Common Ground activities may include: journaling and creative writing; group discussions; and memory sharing night.

Youth Leaders

This leadership program is offered to some of our past youth clients creating an opportunity for them to support grieving families through group activities.

The Village

This monthly evening drop-in program for client families with children or teens, offers an opportunity to connect with others in a relaxed and supportive environment. 

  • Village activities may include: movie night; laser tag; mandala tile painting; and annual picnic.
FAQs Answered for Children & Teens

We often hear from children and teens that they are a little nervous about their first counselling session. We would like to share some information with you so you know what to expect. We hope that this will answer some of your questions. 

Welcome to Counselling

The counselling relationship is a special one

  • Your time with your counsellor will be all about you and your family
  • It's different from a friendship because your counsellor won't really talk about him or herself
  • Your counsellor's job is to listen to you, to help you with your grief and all that comes with it
  • Unlike what you and your friend's do, your counsellor will not be spending time with you outside of your sessions at Sage Centre

What you might want to know about seeing a counsellor

  • You have choices about what you discuss in your meeting
  • Sometimes your appointments will include some of your family
  • You can share as much as you wish about any topic
  • If you decide you no longer want to see your counsellor, let them or your parent know
  • You can say no to anything your counsellor suggests…we just ask you to be open to trying new things
  • It is important you are honest so your counsellor can understand your story and your feelings

What your counsellor will do for you

  • Keep what you tell them private unless you give them permission to share and they can’t talk with your friends, their lips are sealed!
  • All the counsellors are part of a team at Hospice Calgary. Sometimes they share stories of children and teens they work with to get more ideas on the best ways to help support them and their families. If you don’t want your counsellor to use your name if they are telling your story, together you can pick a pretend name.
  • Include your parent or guardian. Often they just want to know that you are okay! After each appointment or after a few appointments, you and your counsellor will talk about what you want to share with them
  • Keep your artwork or project safe until you are ready to take it home. If you don’t want to take it home, please let your counsellor know
  • Be open to any questions you have and be honest with you
FAQs Answered for those Seeking Support for Themselves or Others

We hope your experience with Hospice Calgary will be positive for you and your family. 

Welcome to Sage Centre

How are services ended?

When you and/or your counsellor determine that Hospice Calgary services are longer required, your file will be closed. The opportunity to re-access services for grief counselling is available.

What if I need to speak to someone out of Sage Centre business hours?

Hospice Calgary Sage Centre operates regularly between 9:00 am and 5:00pm, Monday to Thursday and 8:30pm to 4:30pm on Fridays. In order to access 24 hour counselling support, please contact the Distress Centre at 403-266-4357. If you are a Palliative Home Care client, contact the 24 hours response line at 403-955-6288. For any other medical emergency, call 911. 

How can I contribute to improving services at Hospice Calgary?

As part of your counselling experience, you will be asked to complete surveys in order to assess your needs and the ongoing benefits of counselling. While you have the option to decline completing the surveys, your cooperation is appreciated to help improve the quality of support and services offered by the organization. 

What qualifications do your counsellors have?

All Child & Family Grief Services Counsellors have graduate degrees in counselling, social work and psychology and are certified through the Collage of Alberta Psychologists, the Alberta College of Social Workers, and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Our professional counsellors are bound by their professional codes of ethics and Hospice Calgary's policies. 

Additional Resources

We have gathered the following resources for you. Visit our Resources page for more.

For Grieving Families

Special Event & Holidays

Suggested Books for Grieving Families

View the full bibliography

Charitable Registration # 118963669 RR0001

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