Grief Counseling (Bereavement Therapy)
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Grief counseling, also known as bereavement therapy, is a type of therapy designed to help you cope with loss, such as the death of a partner, family member, friend, colleague, or pet.
The death of a loved one can result in both emotional and physical pain, which can limit your capacity to operate. Working with a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or support group to handle your feelings is what grief counseling entails.
Grief counseling can help you manage the aftermath of a loss and make practical decisions, such as funeral arrangements, in the short term.
In the long term, it might help you accept your loved one’s loss and adjust to life without them.
Grief counseling entails discussing the person you’ve lost, your relationship with them, how they died, how their death has affected you, and how you’re coping.
Some of the techniques that grief counselors or therapists may employ are as follows:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT is a form of psychotherapy that helps you to accept negative feelings and circumstances in order to focus focusing on better patterns that will help you achieve your goals.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): CBT is a form of psychotherapy as well. It entails detecting and modifying thought patterns that can have a negative impact on your behavior.
Group Therapy: This form of therapy takes place in a group environment. It might be reassuring to discuss your feelings with others who are going through similar people and work toward recovery together.
Art Therapy: Art therapy uses creative forms to communicate emotions and aids healing. It can be helpful to people of all ages, especially children, who may struggle to express their feelings.
Play Therapy: Play therapy is frequently utilized to obtain insights into a child’s thoughts and feelings in order to assist them in processing unresolved emotions and developing constructive behavior patterns.
Grief counseling can provide you with a variety of advantages, including:
- There are fewer physical and emotional symptoms.
- Development of coping skills that can help you in adjusting to life without your loved one
- Increased self-awareness as you start to understand what you are feeling and why.
- Acceptance of your loss, which entails integrating it into your reality and keeping a healthy link with the person you lost as you move forward in life.
Grief counseling has been proved in studies to be an excellent approach to manage your grief and heal.
According to a 2017 study published in the journal Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, people who participated in grief counseling after the death of a partner or close family reported fewer symptoms in the long term. These findings imply that grief counseling may provide long-term benefits.
According to a 2015 study published in the journal Counseling & Psychotherapy Research, people who participated in grief counseling felt the following:
- It was simpler to talk with someone who wasn’t a friend or family member.
- It was helpful to have someone normalize and validate their experiences.
- It was beneficial to have unhelpful thinking patterns, such as those associated with guilt or wrath, challenged.
Grief counseling can help people of all ages work through their grief and other emotions that come with losing someone.
However, if your grief is intense and difficult to cope with, you may benefit from different types of therapy. You have various alternative possibilities, which are listed below.
This form of therapy can help you in dealing with behavioral and physical problems that may arise as a result of a loss. It can also help you if you are unable to emotionally distance yourself from the person who has died.
Complicated Grief Therapy (CGT)
Complicated grief is a state in which grief seizes control of you and refuses to let go. It can cause troublesome thoughts, dysfunctional behaviors, and difficulty regulating emotions, making it difficult to adjust to life without your loved one. Complicated grief therapy (CGT) is a form of psychotherapy that can help you cope with this type of grief.
Traumatic Grief Therapy
If you lost a loved one suddenly or watched their death, you may experience traumatic grief. Traumatic grief therapy can help you deal with the depth of your grief, reduce trauma symptoms, and learn coping skills.
Grief counseling can assist you in identifying and expressing your feelings. If you have lost someone who was a significant part of your life, grief counseling can help you in re-establishing your routine and identity.
Expressing Your Emotions
Following a loss, you may experience a variety of emotions, which may include:
For example, you may be upset by the loss of a loved one, but also angry with them for abandoning you. Maybe you’re sorry for something you said to them before they died.
It can be difficult to admit these feelings to others or even to oneself at times. Unresolved issues, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health and make it difficult to move on.
Grief counseling can provide a safe environment for you to express and process your emotions, allowing you to begin healing. You may find that you experience these emotions in stages; grief counseling can help you in navigating each stage and reaching acceptance.
Re-establishing Your Routine
It can be difficult to approach particular settings or activities without the person you lost if you lived with them or if they were a part of your daily routine in any manner.
It might also be stressful to figure out how to take on certain activities on your own. For example, if your partner handled your finances or certain domestic activities, you may have to take on those responsibilities on your own.
A grief counselor can help you address your anxiety about these issues, work with you on a strategy to approach them at your own pace, and gradually reestablish your routine.
Redefining Your Identity
When you lose someone important to you, such as a lover or family member, you may feel as if you have lost a part of your own identity.
Grief counseling can help you in redefining your identity by encouraging you to focus on your other interests or relationships. It can also give you the skills and confidence you need to try new interests, reach out to others, and create a support network for yourself.
If you have lost a partner, you may find yourself with a new identity, such as “widow” or “single parent.” Grief counseling can help you in determining what this means to you and how to deal with adopting these new identities.
Everyone does not need grief counseling to recover after the death of a loved one. However, it can be a useful tool to help you cope, especially if you are struggling with difficult emotions or having time moving on with your life.
If, on the other hand, you are suffering from depression, traumatic grief, complicated grief, or other physical or behavioral problems as a result of your loss, you may benefit from alternative types of therapy that are more suited.
What is the next step?
If you or someone you love is considering individual therapy or counseling, please contact Through The Forest Counseling. We are a team of professionals who have the expertise to help.
Call us at our office to schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled clinicians at Through The Forest Counseling.