All of us have suffered loss at some point in our life. Moving on after losing something or someone important can be a painful process.
Grief is commonly understood as a response to loss. You can experience grief after losing a loved one to death, separation, disaster, or a traumatic event.
If the sense of loss interferes with your daily routine, it can affect your mental health in destructive ways. You might need professional help to find your way through grief and eventually move on with your life.
Why We Need Grief Counseling
Loss can take a toll on your mental health. Everyone processes grief differently, and one might experience deep sadness, regret, or anger. Some people might demonstrate heightened emotional experience, while some might suppress their emotions to focus on their daily routine.
Grief counseling involves professional help to assist you in finding your way through grief in a healthy way. Throughout your sessions, your therapist will also teach you the importance of mourning your loss, as some people tend to suppress their emotions. When avoided, these feelings can spring up later in life and can have destructive consequences.
The Stages of Grief and What They Mean
Everyone goes through different stages when they process grief. The most popular model which explains the stages people go through when they are grieving is Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ “The Five Stages of Grief”. There isn’t much research backing this model but it is most commonly quoted to explain grief. These five stages are:
Not everyone goes through these stages and some people might revisit some stages later. A therapist can help one understand and manage these stages and how to process them.
Signs You Might Need Grief Counseling
Apart from sadness, prolonged symptoms of grief include:
- Shock or disbelief in the reality of the loss
- Feelings of emptiness, despair, hopelessness, and loneliness
- Constant yearning to be reunited with the lost loved one
- In some cases, guilt, regret, or embarrassment
- Experiencing difficulty in reliving the happy memories of the lost loved one
- Avoidance and withdrawal from the event and your emotions
Physical symptoms like changes in appetite, constant fatigue, nausea, changes in weight, heart palpitations, and insomnia are also associated with grief. If you have recently lost a loved one and are experiencing a combination of these symptoms, it is best to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Although grief is most commonly associated with the death of a loved one, there are no right or wrong reasons for seeking grief counseling. You might also want to seek counseling if you have suffered a relationship breakup or divorce, or lost a pet.
You might also look for grief counseling if you have suffered some form of illness resulting in losing an ability or a body part, lost your home, or fired from a job that you loved.
What Grief Counseling Can Do for You
There are several potential benefits of grief counseling for people dealing with loss. Grief counselors are licensed professionals, trained to help you cope with the emotions associated with grief. During grief counseling, your therapist tries to integrate the incident of loss into one’s ongoing life, so that you can overcome the pain and maintain a healthy bond with the lost person.
If you have decided to go for grief counseling, you can expect two crucial steps:
Processing the Loss
Therapists engage grieving people in a healthy discussion, where they are encouraged to retell the tale of loss, including the event and what they felt. It allows one to open up about their emotions and thought processes and build trust with the therapist.
Reconstructing the Lost Bond
Your therapist will help you access the backstory of your relationship with a lost loved one. To help you move on, they will guide you in rewriting the story of your loss by rebuilding your bond with the lost individual.
Tips to Heal From Loss and Cope Grief
In addition to the first steps listed above, your therapist will also ask you to practice the following strategies.
- Do not isolate yourself, stay connected to a healthy support system
- Take good care of yourself and your needs
- Be open, honest, and gentle to yourself
- Do not shun your emotions, embrace what you are feeling
- Try mindfulness, meditation, and yoga
- Do not be shy about seeking help
We want you to know…
If you are going through grief due to a personal loss, you should know that it takes time to manage your emotions and cope with the loss. If you find that you are overwhelmed to the point where your emotions are sabotaging your ability to function, it is best to seek grief counseling.
At The Hardy Clinic, our certified therapists will assist you in coping with loss. Our trained professionals are equipped to give you a compassionate environment to express your emotions and help you build skills to cope with the loss.