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Grief counselling is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help people cope with grief and mourning following the death of loved ones, or with major life changes that trigger feelings of grief (e.g., divorce, or job loss).
Grief counsellors believe that everyone experiences and expresses grief in their own way, often shaped by culture. They believe that it is not uncommon for a person to withdraw from their friends and family and feel helpless; some might be angry and want to take action. Some may laugh.
Grief counsellors know that one can expect a wide range of emotion and behaviours associated with grief. Some counsellors believe that in all places and cultures, the grieving person benefits from the support of others. Further, grief counsellors believe that where such support is lacking, counselling may provide an avenue for healthy resolution. Grief counsellors believe that grief is a process the goal of which is "resolution." Grief counsellors also believe that where the process of grieving is interrupted, for example, by the one who is grieving having to simultaneously deal with practical issues of survival or by their having to be the strong one who is striving to hold their family together, grief can remain unresolved and later resurface as an issue for counselling.
Grief counselling becomes necessary when a person is so disabled by their grief; and, so overwhelmed by their loss that their normal coping processes are disabled or shut down. Grief counselling facilitates expression of emotion and thought about the loss, including their feeling sad, anxious, angry, lonely, guilty, relieved, isolated, confused, or numb.
It includes thinking creatively about the challenges that follow loss and coping with concurrent changes in their lives. Often people feel disorganized, tired, have trouble concentrating, sleep poorly and have vivid dreams, and they may experience change in appetite. These too are addressed in counselling.
Grief counselling facilitates the process of resolution in the natural reactions to loss. It is appropriate for reaction to losses that have overwhelmed a person's coping ability.
Grief counselling may be called upon when a person suffers anticipatory grief, for example an intrusive and frequent worry about a loved one whose death is neither imminent nor likely. Anticipatory mourning also occurs when a loved one has a terminal illness. This can handicap that person's ability to stay present whilst simultaneously holding onto, letting go of, and drawing closer to the dying relative.
We often refer to the five stages of grief
Impact: shock, denial, anxiety, fear, and panic.
Chaos: confusion, disbelief, actions out of control, irrational thoughts and feelings, feeling despair, feeling helpless, desperate searching, lose track of time, difficulty sleeping and eating, obsessive focus on the loved one and their possessions, agony from imagining their physical harm, shattered beliefs.
Adapting: bringing order back into daily life while you continue to grieve: take care of basic needs (personal grooming, shopping, cooking, cleaning, paying bills), learn to live without the loved one, accept help, focus on helping children cope, connect with other grieving families for mutual support, take control of grieving so that grief does not control you, slowly accept the new reality
Equilibrium: attaining stability and routines: reestablish a life that works all right, enjoy pleasant activities with family members and good times with friends, do productive work, choose a positive new direction in life while honoring the past, learn how to handle people who ask questions about what you’ve been through.
Transformation: rethinking your purpose in life and the basis for your identity; looking for meaning in tragic, senseless loss; allowing yourself to have both painful and positive feelings about your loss and become able to choose which feelings you focus on; allowing yourself to discover that your struggle has led you to develop a stronger, better version of yourself than you expected could exist; learning how to talk with others about your heroic healing journey without exposing them to your pain; becoming supportive of others trying to deal with their losses.
IF you think that you, or someone close might benefit from specific Bereavement Counseling then please contact me