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Grief is an essential part of life, and there is nothing you can do to prevent yourself from feeling sad about many things. The loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or other traumatic event is sometimes too difficult to cope with, even when you had expected those situations to happen.
In other words, there is no way to prepare yourself for grief. Sometimes grief is not just about sadness. Grief often involves an array of complex emotions that it’s difficult to process and eventually negatively affect your life.
For most, they will come to terms with the loss and sadness as time passes with their coping methods. But some people find it much more challenging to cope and accept the losses in their lives, which impair their ability to carry on with their lives.
Regardless of how well or how fast you can cope with the loss of loved ones, grief counseling can help you navigate your emotions and eventually find a way to carry on with your life
What is Grief Therapy?
Grief counseling is a treatment designed to help people cope with the loss of important people such as family, spouses, close friends, and other people deemed significant in their life. Grief counseling provides griefing people with a safe space to share their feelings and emotions, helping them navigate the most difficult experiences in their lives.
Grief manifests in various types of thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Some people prefer having company help ease their pain and talk about their feelings; some others prefer to mourn their loss alone.
When you’re grieving, you might exhibit a behavior known as instrumental grieving, where you focus on solving problems to prevent yourself from having to express your emotions. You can also display intuitive grieving, where you actively communicate and share your feelings.
The Five Main Stages of Grief
Despite its simple nature, grief has four complex emotions involved, making it difficult to navigate. These are the five stages of grief:
- Denial: Denial typically comes at the beginning of a grieving period, but it can also occur later on and may even come and go as you try to cope with your loss.
- Anger: Anger is a negative emotion that most of us are reluctant to show, but it is natural and a necessary part of a grieving process. When you lose a loved one, you might direct your anger toward others with the sole intention of finding someone to blame.
- Bargaining: When your loved ones are terminally ill, you might have thoughts that involve something along the lines of “let me suffer instead of him/her” or “there has to be some other treatment we can try.”
- Depression: Depression is by far the most difficult stage of grief to overcome. When your grief has developed into a depression, your mental and physical health will experience side effects. During a depressive phase, you might be having trouble sleeping, feeling exhausted, and even having suicidal thoughts.
- Acceptance: When you’ve come to terms with the loss of loved ones, you start to accept that it already happened and there’s nothing else you can do about it. Acceptance might come weeks or years after your loss.
Is Therapy Necessary for Grief?
As mentioned before, grief is an inevitable part of life. More often than not, people can get over their feelings as time passes. However, grief counseling is highly recommended if you have a grief that:
- Disturbs your daily activities
- Causes you to feel guilty guilt
- Interfere you from carrying on with your life
- Causes problems in your interpersonal relationship
Grieving can also cause you to crank up everyday thoughts and behaviors into intense symptoms like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and sleep deprivation. When your sadness has transformed into a more complicated emotion, it often leads to complicated grief.
Complicated grief is an advanced form of grieving where the symptoms often last for more than a year. While most complicated grief symptoms are the same as more typical grief, you should address their severity by seeking professional help.
These are the signs and symptoms of complicated grief:
- Intense sorrow over someone’s death
- Focus solely on the death or loss
- Excessive attention on reminders of the deceased
- Detachment and numbness of emotion
- Distrust in others
- Inability to enjoy life
- Inability to recall positive memories
Grief is our brain’s natural reaction to any form of loss, particularly the death of someone we love. It’s not the same as sadness because it involves a mix of complex feelings such as guilt, doubt, anger, and many more.
There is no correct way to grieve because everyone reacts differently to such tragedy. There is also no acceptable duration of grief. Some people take months to accept their loss. Some others might need years before they can come to terms with it.
Regardless of the circumstances, most people can benefit from having social and emotional support from others, especially an expert. Grief counseling provides the necessary emotional support and a safe space to support those who find it difficult to recover from their loss.
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How Grief Counseling Can Help You
Everyone grieves in their way, but there are several aspects of grief counseling that can benefit those who have a hard time coping with their loss. Grief counseling can help you cope with your loss by:
- Addressing and treating your trauma
- Providing a safe space to express your emotions
- Talking about the feeling of guilt that you may have from other’s death
- Building a sturdy support system to help you move on
- Helping you come to terms with everything that happened
You can expect to take two major steps when you sign up for a grief counseling program. The first step is establishing a close and trusting relationship with your grief counselor to help you feel safe and comfortable in the environment. The second step is answering specific questions that your grief counselor asks you. These questions are tailored to find details about the circumstances of your loss.
While it might be challenging to talk about someone you just recently lost, it is a part of the healing process which can benefit you in the long run. So, when you decide to sign up for a grief counseling program, keep in mind that every question you have to answer is a part of the healing process.
The Benefits of Counseling
Grieving over the death of someone you love is one of the most painful and challenging life events that you will ever experience. It affects your emotional, physical, and spiritual states – which makes it even more difficult.
When you are grieving, many other complex emotions can come haunting – and that is normal. Emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt, and anxiety will come and go as you cope with your loss. There will also be times when you don’t even feel anything, just numbness, and exhaustion from processing the reality.
Grief counseling, and therapy generally, offer various benefits that can help you deal with the stages of grief. It provides support during challenging times in several ways:
- Offering a reliable support system: Loneliness and self-isolation are two of the most common feelings that might come after losing someone. During these times, the support of the people close to you is essential. But sometimes, family and friends lack empathy or awareness of your situation, which are the skills that a professional grief counselor always has.
- Creating a safe grieving space: For those grieving alone, it might be challenging to find someone with whom you can share your emotions for those grieving alone. Grief counseling is an excellent way to shareItmeone validate them without any judgment.
- Helping you move forward in the stages of grief: In extremely traumatic losses, such as the death of a child, spouse, or life-long pet, you might find it challenging to move from one stage of grief to the next. Grief counseling can help you navigate your feelings and find why you have been unable to move forward.
- Addressing the guilt: Grief can also invoke a feeling of guilt, especially if you’re directly involved in someone’s death. You might feel that you are responsible for the loss because of the things you did or not doing what you think you were supposed to do. A grief counselor can help you discern why you might be feeling guilty when you should not be.
- Judgment-free and professional space: Most people avoid talking about traumatic events in their lives due to fear of being judged. Talking to a professional grief counselor guarantees a judgment-free space where you can openly talk about your feelings and details about your losses.
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Different Types of Therapy
While grief counseling is a great way to help you get over your loss and move forward with your life, it’s not an instant solution. Grief counseling is merely a tool that you can use, but eventually, your will to recover is what helps you the most.
There are many different applications of grief counseling. Here are some of them:
- Grief counseling for the loss of loved ones: Losing someone you love invokes a wide range of emotions, but mostly negative. Harboring all of these emotions by yourself is extremely difficult, which is why you should seek a grief counselor with whom you can share your feelings.
- Grief counseling for guilt: Feeling guilty and responsible for someone’s death is a common case, especially if you are directly involved during the events leading up to their death. Holding the guilt by yourself could slowly deteriorate your mental health and lead you into a further state of depression. This type of grief counseling can help you change your perspective on dealing with the burden of guilt.
- Grief counseling for married couples: For married couples, one of the most challenging experiences in life will be losing a child. Whether it’s a miscarriage or other ways, losing a child can be devastating for each parent and their relationship. Getting a professional grief counselor can help facilitate married couples who are in this situation.
Specific Counseling Techniques
Even though grief is a staple emotion that typically occurs after losing loved ones, there are varying nuances to the circumstances. There are three different types of grief counseling that you can take depending on the circumstances of your loss:
- Grief Therapy: It’s an essential form of therapy that can help you address behavioral and physical as a result of losing a loved one. It’s a great way to help you slowly disconnect your emotions from the person you lost.
- Complicated Grief Therapy: When the grief has taken hold of your life and doesn’t let go, it can result in troubling thoughts and destructive behaviors. Complicated Grief Therapy is a form of extensive psychotherapy that can help you cope with intense negative feelings that linger around long after someone’s death.
- Traumatic Grief Therapy: This type of grief counseling is designed for those who lost someone suddenly or witnessed their death, resulting in a traumatic reaction. Traumatic Grief Therapy can help you reduce the intensity of your grief, minimizing your trauma, and train yourself with useful coping skills.
Choosing Real Deal
Real Deal aims to help people suffering from grief or complicated grief as a result of losing someone. Our mission is to help those with mental health, addiction, and alcoholism issues get their life back on track with clinically proven approaches.
Whether it’s for you alone or your family, Real Deal has a grief counseling program that can help you navigate the overwhelming grief and start getting back to your new reality. We consider our patients’ personal history and experience and leverage them to provide an effective grief counseling program.
Not only can we provide professional counseling for your grief, but our unique outlook on mental wellness issues has also helped us communicate and facilitate the needs of our patients. Our facilities are always open to help you cope with the loss of a loved one. Visit us or simply reach out with your grief counseling needs, and we’ll do our best to help you get your life moving forward.