Can Grief Counseling Help? Definition And How It Works
What Can Grief Counseling Do For Me?
- It won’t make you forget the deceased.
- It won’t allow you to bypass the pain of loss.
- It won’t change the core of who you are.
Accepting The Reality Of The Loss
Identifying And Dealing With Trauma
Talking Freely About Your Loved One
Experiencing And Expressing Emotions
Coping With Life Changes
Building A Support System
Grief Counseling Techniques
– Talking Privately In A Quiet Place
– Describing The Moment Of Loss
– Discussing Funeral Arrangements
You might think, “Why would I talk about the funeral arrangements with my grief counselor? What do they have to do with that?” The funeral or memorial service you and/or others set up to honor your loved one is an important event in the grieving process. Grief counselors and your online bereavement group work with grieving individuals through every step of the grieving process – including funeral planning.
As you talk about making funeral arrangements, you can express your feelings about this last farewell and what you want it to be like as you move along to the next steps in the grieving process. You may even be able to identify ways you want to change the service to give the deceased your full respect.
– Using The Right Words
You might notice that one of your grief counselor’s techniques is to use the words it’s important for you to hear. For example, they’ll be sure to use the past tense when talking about your loved one to prevent you from experiencing complicated grief. During your individual counseling sessions, and work with individuals’ mental health grief counselors will say the name of the bereaved frequently as one of the common therapeutic approaches. They’ll also use words that may be very hard for you to hear at first, such as forms of the word “to die.” It’s important to note that your grief counselor will never push you past your comfort zone and will respect your boundaries.
– Checking For Signs of Depression
Each time you see your grief counselor, you’ll find that they work with individuals and will ask you at least a few questions to make sure you aren’t falling into a deep depression as a measure of your mental health.
They may ask how you’re sleeping and how much you’re eating and suggest that you join a bereavement group or participate in family therapy. They may ask whether you feel unexplained physical pain. They also might discuss depression symptoms at different appointments with you to ensure they aren’t missing anything.
– Talking About Past Losses
Counselors often prompt you to talk about similar situations from the past and how you dealt with loss trauma. In the case of grief, your counselor might ask you to remember how you coped when you faced death earlier in your life and recommend that you attend family therapy. Then they can support you in repeating the things that helped before and teach you new ways of coping to replace old methods that weren’t effective. People may revisit their past to make a remedy for the present.
– Boosting Self-Esteem
Your self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself, but it may also be tied up with what you perceived your loved one thought of you. If you always relied on them to say or do things that made you feel beautiful, intelligent, or capable, you might need an extra boost of self-esteem after they pass on. Your grief counselor can teach you ways to improve your self-confidence and learn to find validation within yourself.
– Giving Permission To Grieve
Many people find it hard to give themselves permission to grieve. They may see it as a sign of weakness, selfishness, or incompetence. Yet, grieving is a crucial part of saying goodbye to a loved one who has died. Your counselor can help you find it within you to give yourself the permission you need to feel and express your feelings and not be so perfect all the time.
– Setting Realistic Goals
Goal-setting is a part of almost every kind of therapy. Because grief involves so many life changes for most people, setting goals for your new life is especially important. You may find yourself setting unrealistic goals, though, as you try to push through your grief faster.
You need to be cautious, so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Setting unreachable goals makes you feel like a failure when you can’t accomplish them. It can also be a way of avoiding the natural grief process. Talk out your plans with your counselor so they can help you determine the right goals to work toward right now.
– Writing a Letter
Your therapist might suggest you write a letter to the deceased to tell them how you feel about losing them. They might also suggest you tell them about how your life is now and the goals you’re working toward for the future. This exercise can help you get back in touch with the feelings of love you have for them. It can help you resolve issues that linger in your mind, too.
Journaling is like letter writing, but the intended audience is you. It’s a place to say whatever you want, just as you can with your therapist. It’s also a habit that can serve you well after your grief counseling ends.
– Reading Assignments
Reading about grief helps you understand the process. It also reminds you that what you’re going through is not only common but perfectly acceptable as well. In short, it normalizes grief. Your grief counselor might suggest specific books for you to read between sessions.
– Creating a Memory Book
Creating a memory book is a craft project you can do to help you remember your loved one in a helpful way. You can make it alone or ask surviving friends and family to contribute to it. This is one of the grief techniques that is not only emotionally healthy, but it can be enjoyable as well.
– Art Therapy
Expressive art therapy, of course, is a wonderful way to show how you feel about your loved one who has passed. A counselor who has certification in art therapy can guide you in creating artistic works that are full of emotion and meaning. When you finish the art, you can hang it in a special place, give it away, sell it, or simply set it aside for your remembrance ritual.
– Imagining A Resolution of Unfinished Business
Grief is hard for anyone, but it can be especially difficult to move on from a relationship that was in crisis when your loved one died. Perhaps you have an issue you can’t forget because it feels unfinished. There’s no way for that problem to be resolved in real life now. However, you can imagine what would happen if you were able to resolve it. This grief counseling technique helps you put your relationship into perspective. If you imagine a positive resolution, it can give you amazing peace.
– The Empty Chair Technique
The empty chair technique is one that is used in several types of therapy. All you do is face an empty chair, imagine another person is sitting in it, and speak to them. In the case of grief counseling, you would imagine the deceased were alive and sitting in that chair. You can say anything you want to them. You can show them feelings that range from bitterness to love. The empty chair technique is another way to find a resolution to unfinished business, and it can be quite cathartic.
– Role-Playing New Situations
Role-playing is a technique you might have used in family counseling or couples therapy. Your grief counselor might also use it to help you find your way through new life situations. You can be yourself while the counselor plays the part of an employer, a friend, or a community leader, for example. Or, you can reverse roles. Then, you can play out a situation you’ve never had to deal with before.
– Creating Remembrance Rituals
Sometimes, the only way to move on is to give yourself a specific time and activity to help you remember your loved one. As a part of your grief therapy, you can come up with a ritual that you do once every month at first and eventually do only once a year. This might involve looking at photos and/or videos of your loved one, for example. You put these reminders away for most of the time, but you take them out at a specific time to pay honor to the deceased.
Is Grief Counseling Right For You?
Grief counseling provides many benefits. It helps you navigate one of the hardest parts of your life. It helps you develop new skills and learn more about yourself and about life. It can help you grow stronger even as you face a devastating loss. Grief counseling can help anyone who is going through a major loss, but for some, it’s crucial to get help. If your pain is overwhelmingly intense, lasts for over a year, or is affecting the way you function in your daily life, grief counseling is one of the best ways to deal with the loss and find your way forward. You may avoid telling other people such as family and friends about your problem, but to a grief counselor, you must open up and let everything out.
How to Understand Your Options When Dealing with Grief
Counseling is a healthy way to deal with emotions related to grief loss. Think about how you can benefit from grief loss, professional help. Many people may not realize there are stages of grief, denial that make a loss even more painful. It is common for people to avoid talking about their sadness, but they may not realize the effects of grief and how it can impact how you move forward. Talking to a trained professional that understands grief loss and bereavement helps you put your situation into perspective while learning how to cope with emotional hurting.
Think about why grief loss support can help your situation, such as needing help sorting things out. The pain of grief makes it challenging to understand your feelings and why you feel the way you do. Dealing with grief loss and bereavement, whether sudden or imminent, can have a significant impact on your life, including relationships with others. Having someone to talk to about grief bereavement through counseling is confidential without worries of gossiping or accountability from others.
Counseling for grief loss helps with understanding what you are going through emotionally. You learn to distinguish the difference between grief, sadness, and feeling depressed. Just spending time researching different counseling and therapy options for grief loss and bereavement helps with understanding how significant the support has been for others. Other pertinent details to know when considering professional support for grief loss includes learning your budget and referrals from peers.Make a list of questions to ask when preparing for your session.Organize your thoughts before making the call and understand what to expect before your session.
How BetterHelp Can Help
When you feel you’re at the end of your rope and there’s nowhere to turn, BetterHelp is truly there for you. BetterHelp is an online platform where you can match with a qualified grief counselor that cares and understands what you’re going through. The worst thing you could do during this dark time in your life is to try to go it alone. Let someone come to your corner and lift you up.
We all get knocked down in life at one time or another. Someplace a stigma on mental health, but don’t let that stop you. Throw out a line when you need it, and you can live a happier life. Read below for some reviews from BetterHelp clients who have gotten help for similar issues.
“Collen has been my rock in dealing with my parents deaths. I lost both parents within seven months of each other and was literally on the brink when I found Colleen. She has taught me that grief has no timeline or rhyme or reason, and I can talk to her after all my friends and family have moved on and don’t really get it. She offers very solid advice on coping skills and just a great sounding board when I just want to talk about my parents. I highly recommend her.”
“Jack helped me through the most difficult time in my life. I started seeing Jack to cope with a marital separation. As that progressed into divorce, I also experienced the death of a loved one and some other distressing events. Jack not only helped me through the grieving process, but gave me a variety of life lessons and tools to help cope with stress and anxiety through all areas in my life. I am so very grateful for his guidance, and highly recommend him to anyone going through a stressful or confusing time. Thank you, Jack!!”
If you are struggling with the death of a loved one, grief counseling could be right for you. With BetterHelp, you have the tools you need right in front of you to reach out and grab the better life you deserve. Take the first step.
Commonly Asked Questions About This Topic
What Is The Best Kind Of Therapy For Grief?
For most people, the loss of a loved one counts as a traumatic event in their lives. People’s reaction to significant loss can vary dramatically, with indicators that often include anger, a reduced sense of urgency or energy in their daily lives, and depressive symptoms.
For this reason, it’s difficult to pin down one “best” type of therapy for grief.
However, research shows that seeking counseling to help manage mourning in a healthy manner throughout the difficult process does help people recover from loss.
Some of the popular methods of grief therapy include referring to the Five Stages of grief (as popularized by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross), intuitive mourning, and offering a judgement-free zone where all reactions are accepted.
A professional grief counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist is the best option for someone who seems to be going through a depressive episode or suffering from a major depressive disorder as a result of the loss of a loved one. Because broken heart syndrome has the potential to lead to heart attack, it’s important to have input from psychological and medical professionals who are family with the relevant diagnostic criteria.
How Do You Counsel Someone Who Is Grieving?
You can also help them keep a daily routine, which will help them regain a new sense of normalcy after their loss. Of course, that process can take a long time, and you shouldn’t rush them.
Sometimes people who lose a close person from their family lack the ability to see their role in the world without the deceased person. In this case, they struggle to build a new identity that no longer includes their lost loved one. Confronting and accepting this new reality usually takes time, so you should be patient and gentle to be instrumental mourning support.
In extreme cases, this can lead to “broken heart syndrome,” where a person’s physical heart suffers damage because of the stress and overwhelming emotions they experience during the mourning process. For this reason, it’s good to get a licensed professional involved when a loved one is struggling with bereavement.
What Is The Best Thing To Do For Grief?
If you or a loved one is grieving, the first thing you should do is recognize that the mourning process takes time and that every person grieves in their own way and in their own time. This means that you should give yourself and/or your loved one the freedom and acceptance to mourn in a way that is meaningful and helpful. Start by recognizing and accepting all of the feelings towards the loss, including the anger that often accompanies grief.
Seeking grief counseling from a licensed professional is also a great next step, especially if you or your loved one experience traumatic mourning or a sense of identity detachment during the mourning process. Grief is a complicated experience, so it helps to have a professional to guide you towards healthy processing and healing.
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