All of us, at some point in our lives, will have to experience the heartache and terrible pain of losing someone we deeply care about. We may feel many kinds of, even controversial emotions like shock, numbness, anger, guilt etc. In this whole sadness we might get exhausted, slowed down, even depressed. If we are experiencing all these, the process of bereavement evolves and as time passing by these painful feelings begin to fade. For some people the grief does not lessen, the pain can last for years, they might be unable to move on. Counseling is important for them!
Stages of bereavement
In general the first „normal” response to a loss (e.g. to a loved one’s death) is shock. It is characterized by not feeling anything, unability to cry. Right away comes the denial phase, when theres is no acceptance of the reality. Sometimes the person who is facing loss might experience temporarily some anger and guilt (towards him/herself, the world, doctors, or the lost loved one). And it can absolutely be part of the normal process. Then arrives the depressive phase with symptoms such as loss of motivation, social withdrawal, changes in appetite and physical pains, sleeping problems. After all these phases, all these painful months can we move on to the position of acceptance and accomodation. Of course many other factors may interrupt, alter or lengthen this process. These factors need to come to surface and to be dealt with in bereavement counseling and in psychotherapy.
Issues for Grief/Loss Counselling
- Death of a loved one
- Serious personal injury/accident
- Life changing illness
- End of a close relationship
- Children moving away
- Failing university etc.
How can counselling, psychotherapy or other professionals help with bereavement?
A professional helper, a counselor or therapist can help indiviuals and families through the process to run down in a more healthy way - by securing you a safe and bearing space where patiently they let you explore your feelings. Bereavement counseling can facilitate the grieving process - facing painful emotions, accepting reality, making necessay, proper adjustments. It is usually a lengthy process, can not be shortened or urged, but counseling gives support during the most difficult time of one might have in life.