Grief and loss are unavoidable parts of life. Grief refers to your reactions to any form of loss, which can range from a sense of deep sadness to anger, guilt, yearning, regret, and a sense of relief. On the other hand, Bereavement is specifically related to the process of recovering from the death of a loved one. So how does grief therapy work, and what are the benefits of treatment?
There is no right or wrong way to experience grief and no “correct” amount of time you should grieve. For some, the process takes months. For others, it can take years. Everyone’s healing process is different, and it’s entirely normal for a small amount of grief to be with you forever.
No matter how you grieve, grief counseling can help you navigate one of the most challenging experiences in your life. Grief counseling, sometimes called bereavement counseling, is a specific type of therapy designed to help people cope with the emotions and pain associated with losing a loved one or someone close to them. As part of grief counseling, a caring and compassionate grief counselor can help you learn and develop tools and skills for coping with grief and other emotions associated with loss.
Grief counseling provides a safe and comforting environment where you can discuss your feelings and emotions as you progress through the grieving process or “stages of grief.”
Remember that everyone experiences grief differently, and it can be challenging for anyone to manage grief. It is also vital to remember that there is no ideal way to grieve and that anyone can benefit from having someone to talk to during such a challenging time in their lives. Although no one can take away the pain of loss, a grief counselor can give you a safe place to talk about your emotions, honor the memory of a loved one you have lost, and to develop the coping skills to take care of yourself while you grieve.
It can be hard to know how does grief therapy work. Grief counseling can help you:
Grief counseling can help you when your self-healing process seems to have stalled. Typically, if your grief has not tempered after a year, or if your feelings are interfering with your work or life, it might be time to consider grief counseling.
Other signs you may need grief counseling include:
The grief counseling process looks different for everyone. Again, everyone who experiences loss manages the emotions associated with that loss in unique ways. Therefore, there is no single or “cookie-cutter” treatment process grief counselors follow. The timeline you need to start healing will differ from someone else, but grief counseling is generally not a permanent therapy. It is also important to remember that grief counseling is not only beneficial for someone who has experienced the death of a loved one. Grief can involve losing someone through a divorce or another type of loss as well.
During counseling, you can expect to learn about grief and what it means to grieve. Your grief therapist will teach you about the normal grieving process, including thoughts and feelings that are expected during the stages of grief. They will help you to understand what “normal” grieving looks like compared to other mental health conditions such as depression or trauma disorders that can develop from grief.
Whether you choose individual or group sessions, there are a few other things you can expect from grief therapy, including:
Learning how to express feelings and emotions
During grief counseling, you will learn how to express feelings and emotions, no matter what that looks like for you. Your counselor will teach you various tools you can use to get in touch with feelings so that you can better cope with them.
Becoming open to and accepting of new relationships
Part of grief counseling is to help you move forward with your life after grief. While memories of your loved one will last a lifetime, it is essential to learn new ways to incorporate future relationships into your life in a safe and healthy way.
Finding a new identity
Another part of grief therapy is working through understanding your identity after grief. As strange as it sounds, it is necessary to understand how loss can impact our identity. For example, someone may identify as a husband or wife, but losing a spouse changes that.
Our compassionate therapists will help you understand what particular thoughts, events, or actions activate your grief. A treatment plan might include traditional individual therapy, meditation, relaxation, reflection, memory sharing, or group work. When the loss involves a family member, it’s often helpful to engage in couples counseling or family counseling. Many people find peace when sharing their thoughts, memories, and feelings in a safe, loving, and guided setting.
Grief counseling is a way to help you walk through loss to a new, healthy and productive path forwards. In therapy, you will explore the emotions that accompany grief and, from there, learn how to cope with what you feel. If you need help coping and managing grief, let our Tennessee grief counseling team at Time Wellness help you.