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Grief & Bereavement Counselling

Grief is an emotional response to any sort of loss. We have all experienced it to some extent. Grief can be felt for a myriad of reasons. We can grieve the loss of a relationship, a job or health. We can grieve as the result of a miscarriage, the death of a loved one or the death of a pet. We grieve when someone gets sick, when we sell our homes, and when we have suffered a trauma. Grief affects us all. The more significant the loss is to the individual the stronger the feelings of grief, it is objective and personal for each person.

While some are able to cope with grief on their own or through the support of loved ones, it is often helpful to speak to a counsellor when coping with grief. A grief counsellor or psychotherapist can provide you with a safe place to talk about how the loss is impacting you and to identify safe and healthy ways of coping with it. They can help you identify when you are coping in a healthy manner and when your coping strategies should be reevaluated.

Things to know about grief:

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again, everyone grieves differently. While we would all hope to move on from a troubling event in the least amount of time possible, there is no timetable for the grieving process. It’s going to take as long as it takes and should not be rushed.

Grief happens in stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not everyone goes through all of the stages and those that do don’t go through them in any particular order. In fact, you might experience some of them at the same time or you might not experience any of them at all.  Like I said, everyone grieves differently.

Grief consists of 6 common symptoms: anger, sadness, fear, guilt, shock and disbelief, and physical symptoms. As part of these symptoms you may be left feeling hurt or empty. You may feel a sense of anxiety or helplessness. The weight of your grief can leave you feeling physical pain, fatigue, nausea, weight fluctuations, or the inability to sleep.

When to get Grief & Bereavement Counselling?

All grief requires support, but not all grief requires professional help. Many people can find the comfort that they need by turning to their loved ones, drawing on their faith, or joining a support group. Howevever, sometimes those sources of comfort simply aren’t enough. How do you know when to get further help?

One sign that you might need to seek professional help is if since you’re loss you can’t trust others. Feelings of numbness and disconnect are a normal parts of the grieving process. Guilt is another normal symptom of grief; however, if you are having a difficult time coping with that guilt, a counsellor might help. Finally, if you are showing signs of depression (e.g. you cannot perform daily tasks, you wish you’d died instead, or you think that life is not worth living) then it is time to seek help.

How can grief counselling help?

A counsellor’s job is to provide a safe and confidential environment where you can explore your feelings. The grief counsellor will help you to both express and to face your feelings in a healthy way. They will help you identify healthy ways to cope with your grief as well as any triggers that might make the symptoms of grief worse. A grief counsellor cannot take away the hurt of a loss. No one can do that, but they can help you cope with the loss. They can help you heal and can help you get to the point where you are ready to move on.