Bereavement Counselling aims to help people move through the process of grief, easing their distress and enabling them to resolve any lingering emotional problems.
Grief is a natural and necessary process following the death of a loved one. Grief, like all emotions, serves an important function in helping us to navigate through life; it allows us to focus on the loss that we have experienced, often in a single minded way and this focus (designed through evolution) enables us to reconfigure our lives in the absence of the person that has died and move forward without them, whilst still holding them in our mind. Managed and understood properly it is possible for grief to lead to healing and personal growth.
Despite its necessity to our survival grief can be painful beyond words, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Grief reminds us how fragile life is and how vulnerable we are and can make life seem meaningless taking away hope for the future.
When might Bereavement Counselling help?
Everyone grieves differently and how you respond to your loss will depend on the other crises that you have faced, how you have coped with these and also what was lost when the person died.
Despite what people say, time is not ‘a great healer’, time is neutral in the process of grief, and it will take as long as it takes.
Grieving is an active process, not a passive one and recovery is a choice. Unfortunately friends and family may be finished with your grief long before you are finished with your need to talk about it. Unexpressed feelings can become distorted and result in you becoming stuck at a particular point in the process of grief unable to move forward. The longer you are stuck the more your distress will intensify. It is at the point that you feel you no longer have an understanding, nonjudgmental listener with whom you can openly acknowledge your feelings and work through your pain that you should consider Bereavement Counselling.
What will Bereavement Counselling involve?
In the first instance Bereavement Counselling will help you not to compare your grief with anyone else’s and know that at this moment your loss is the worst thing that could happen to anyone. It will enable you to acknowledge that your loss is worthy of grief and accept that you must endure the real feelings of sorrow.
It will help you to accept that as much as you may want to do so, there is no way to avoid this grief of yours. You cannot wait it out; you won’t get over it quickly, and nobody can do it for you. It’s called grief work because finding your way through grief is hard work, and if you put it off, like a messy chore it will sit there waiting to be done. And the longer it waits, the harder it becomes.
Bereavement Counselling will then help you to work towards the following goals:
- Coming to terms with reality of your loss.
- Working with the emotional pain, anger, guilt and suffering that accompanies your loss.
- Readjusting your life without the significant person whilst still keeping them in your mind.
- Taking the emotional investment that you had placed in your significant ‘other’ and rebuilding connections and relationship with others.
- Building memories which recognise the quality, importance and irreplaceable impact of your loss but keep the person who has died alive in your mind in a way that allows you to continue living your life.
Your pattern of progressing through your grief will be uneven, unpredictable and unique, with no specific time frame. But the more you learn about grief, the better you can cope with it. In the beginning it will seem as if your grief is running you, but in the end, you can learn to run your grief. When you understand what is happening to you and have some idea of what to expect, you will feel more in control of your grief and will be in a better position to take care of yourself, to find your own way through this loss and to begin rebuilding your life. Bereavement Counselling will help you achieve these things.