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  • Navneet Kaur

What is Grief Counseling and How Does it Help?

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Grief Counseling and Trauma Therapy - Safe Space Counseling, California

Just like happiness, grief is one of the most common and yet powerful feelings anyone can experience. It's so powerful that it has the ability to grind someone’s life to a complete halt if they don’t find a way to deal with the array of emotions that come with it. It is for this reason that grief counseling exists to help people work through their grief and become better individuals in spite of the significant loss of a loved one.

Grief counseling involves working with a trained counselor or therapist who has the necessary training and experience to provide guidance, support and practical tools to manage the complex emotions that are parcel to grieving. The objective is usually to help people come to terms with their loss and develop coping strategies that are healthy which will help them move on with their lives while still keeping their loved ones in their hearts.

What is Grief?

Grief can be defined as a complex yet natural reaction to loss. It is the overwhelming and often very intense feeling of anger, sadness, guilt and even confusion. It is important to understand that even though grief applies mostly to losing a loved one, it can also apply to the end of a relationship, a major life change, or even the loss of a job or a pet. Since everyone processes grief differently, there is no right way to grieve. Some common feelings of disbelief, numbness, insomnia, lack of appetite and detachment are fairly common across the spectrum. The process of handling grief is different for various people. While some process the grief more easily than others, it's crucial to remember that unhandled grief can manifest in very dangerous ways which can be toxic.

The Stages of Grief

Grief can be very complicated. It comes in many different forms but there are stages and these must be identified to be able to heal more comprehensively. These "stages of grief," as first introduced by renowned psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969 in her book "On Death and Dying," are critical and should not be underestimated. Although these feelings do come in stages, it's important to know that it's not a linear process and will not be experienced in that order by everyone. The stages include:

  1. Denial: A person may initially deny that the loss has occurred, or may feel numb and disconnected from their emotions.

  2. Anger: as the reality of the matter sets in, a person may feel frustrated and angry, perhaps blaming someone for the death or having a feeling that an injustice has been done.

  3. Bargaining: In an attempt to regain control of the situation, one self or find meaning, a person may make bargains such as "if only I had done something differently, this wouldn't have happened."

  4. Depression: as the weight of what has happened becomes apparent, someone may feel despair, deep sadness and isolation.

  5. Acceptance: as time progresses, someone may come to terms with the reality of their loss and find a good way to move forward.

How Does Grief Counseling Help?

Grief counseling can provide a safe and supportive environment for people to process and work through their grief and everything that comes with it. Here are a few ways grief counseling can help.

  • Provides a safe and non-judgmental space to express emotions: A grief counselor can provide a supportive environment for a person to express their emotions without fear of being judged or criticized.

  • Normalizing the process: even though grief feels anything but normal, this counseling can help you understand that these feelings come with the territory.

  • Provide tools to manage grief: A grief counselor can teach techniques for managing difficult emotions, such as mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and self-care strategies.

  • Facilitates the healing process: Grief counseling can help a person move forward with their life while still honoring the memory of their loved one, by finding meaning in the loss and developing a new sense of identity.

Grief is a powerful emotion that should never be underestimated. While everyone handles their grief differently, having help through this extremely difficult point in life is crucial. Many people’s lives have taken a dark turn because they didn't find a way to deal with their grief.

At Safe Space Counseling, we provide a safe environment to work through your issues so that you can heal. Learn more about Trauma Therapy here. Schedule a free 15 minute consultation here.

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Grief Counseling and Trauma Therapy - Safe Space Counseling, California

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