Grief counselling and grief therapy

Counselling therapy can support you through your grief and loss. Whether it be a person, something in the past that troubles you, or something you haven’t been able to let go of, it can be helpful to talk to a trained professional who listens, can guide you and help you to come to terms with the loss.

Thought for the Week

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” Buddha

A young girl and her labrador are lying on her bed, looking out at us with similar expressions of sadness, yet they are together.

Grieving together

What is grief?

Not everyone has experienced the loss of a loved one or living with a terminal or debilitating illness, but we have all experienced loss in some form. It might be the ending of a relationship or friendship, leaving a job, career or home; the loss of a dream or an opportunity; or the loss of an attachment to a person or something we valued. Grief counselling and grief therapy can help you through your grief process.

Grief and grieving is a normal emotional response to loss. It is expected that we will feel intense sadness, pain, confusion, anger and perhaps ambivalence or relief. We each experience grief in different ways and have different coping styles and beliefs about what it means.

Grieving may be complicated by a number of factors such as the type of loss (the death of a child, a sudden or untimely loss), the nature of our relationship with the person or loss, and the way we manage adversity and negative events in our lives. There is no universal time frame or process for grieving, rather a unique way of being with the pain, expressing feelings and coming to terms with the loss before reorganising life as it is now.

Signs and symptoms of grief

Grief has a variety of symptoms that vary in intensity and duration. Some of these are:

  • Physical – tightness in the chest and throat, breathlessness, sensitivity to noise, loss of appetite, decreased energy, insomnia;
  • Emotional – numbness, shock, anger, resentment, sadness, depression, relief, guilt, fear;
  • Psychological – disbelief, denial, blame;
  • Behavioural – isolation and withdrawal, drug and alcohol abuse.

Developing healthy ways of coping and looking after yourself is important during this time. Giving yourself time to process what’s happened and to go through the range of emotions is important for your healing. Reaching out to others and letting them know what you need may be a challenge. Seeking help to manage the stages of grieving and the different phases of the grieving process may support you in your bereavement or in dealing with loss. There are often associated losses such as mutual friends in a relationship breakup, different lifestyle, or a realigning of values and interests.

Grief counselling and grief therapy

It can be helpful to talk about what you are going through with a trained, professional counsellor, and to express your feelings to someone who cares but only has your agenda at heart. Seeking professional support for grief and loss can help you manage the different phases you are likely to experience during this time. There are some active tasks of mourning that can help you to work through a loss and accept the reality of the situation. Rebuilding your life or setting a new direction may benefit from some coaching and visioning of how things might be.

Counselling for grief and loss may involve talking about the person you have lost and the relationship you had, your feelings about losing an opportunity or the mixed emotions you may feel. A grief counsellor will work with you in a compassionate and caring way, honouring the way you want to do things at your pace.

Contact Linda Magson, Sydney counsellor specialising in grief and loss counselling to make an appointment.

See my blog on dealing with grief and loss.

Disclaimer: the information on these pages is not intended as advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. You need to consult your doctor for these things without delay.