Bereavement Counselling for Grief and Loss
This blog will explain the Stages of Grief that we generally go through after experiencing loss and bereavement
Bereavement is an experience when we lose someone, or something, close to us. It could be any of the following:
Issues for Grief/Loss Counselling
Death of a loved one
Children moving away
End of relationship
Death of a pet
Loss and death is an inevitable part of life, to feel shocked, numb, angry and sad form part of the natural grieving process. If left undealt with, those losses can leave us with long term difficulties and emotional scars including mental health issues.
At some point, we will face the heartbreak of losing someone we love or something we care about deeply. It could leave us feeling depressed, exhausted and stressed. The hurt and pain of losing something or someone we care so deeply about can seem so monumental that we may feel like we will never recover from the loss.
We each have our own ways of coping with our grief and loss, but some find it unmanageable, others turn to drink, drugs and other risky behaviours.
What are the stages of bereavement, grief and loss?
SHOCK and DENIAL-
You may react to learning about the loss with disbelief. You may feel numb, you can’t cry or allow yourself to feel the enormity of what has happened to you.
PAIN and GUILT-
As the shock begins to wear off, it is exchanged with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although agonizing and almost unbearable, it is very important that you fully experience this pain, and not pretend it’s not there. Or avoid or escape it with drugs and alcohol.
You may also have feelings of guilt over things you did or didn’t do.
ANGER and BARGAINING-
Feelings of guilt may give way to feelings of anger. Anger could show itself in a variety of ways. Some people internalise their anger and feel rage inside. That rage can turn to self-harming behaviours, negative self-talk etc. The anger can also be externalised to other people where the anger is verbal, physical and emotional.
You could also question what happened saying “why me?” You may also try to bargain your way out of your despair (“I will never drink again if you just bring her back”)
DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
People may thing that you are getting on with your life. You, on the other hand, could be going through a long period of sad reflection, which is overtaking you. It is ok to go through this stage as it is normal. Don’t let yourself or others talk you out of this stage. Don’t try to just “pull yourself together”.
It is at this time you may realise the truth of your loss and it will depress you. You may deliberately isolate yourself where you will reflect on the things you did with what you have lost and focus on things of the past. You may also have feelings of emptiness and despair.
As you allow yourself to go through the painful stages and your life becomes a bit calmer. Your depression will start to lift.
RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you start to become more functional and your mind starts getting back to normal again, you will find that you start to sort out the problems caused from the loss you have experienced. For example, you may start to work on the financial and the practical difficulties then start working out your life without them.
ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
This is the final stage. At this point you will have moved to a position of acceptance where you realise that life must go on. Whilst you may still think about the person or object that you have lost, these thoughts may become less painful and less often. This will help you to gain back your motivation and energy.
It often takes a long time to reach this stage as you can’t hurry through the previous stages.
How can counselling & psychotherapy help with bereavement or grief?
Counselling can be very beneficial to help you come to terms with loss. If it is the death of someone you loved, losing your job, moving home, children leaving home.
I can help you through the grieving process, by:
- Helping you to deal with those painful, often confusing emotions.
- Supporting you through the stages of grief
- Help you to create a life for yourself that is right for you
I offer a safe space to explore your feelings in a confidential and safe environment and can support you, either on a short or long-term basis, through this difficult time.