We understand grief is personal and people react differently, the psychological support to handle grief related situations for individual or corporates are handled meticulously at LifeWorks.
The Benefits of Grief Counseling
While grief counseling is not necessary for most people dealing with the loss of a loved one, there are some big potential benefits for those who are struggling more than usual. If an individual was experiencing distress before the loss they suffered, or if their grief is chronic and interferes with normal functioning, grief counseling can help him or her to address their intense emotions and move on with the healing process. Additionally, as with most forms of therapy, it is most effective if the individual voluntarily seeks it out.
Grief Counseling for Adults
If an individual does seek out grief counseling, this section describes what they can expect from their sessions.
The main goal of most grief counseling is to help the client integrate the reality of their loss into their life going forward, and helping them to maintain a healthy bond to the loved one they lost. According to Dr. Robert A. Neimeyer, an active clinical psychologist and expert in grief therapy, there are two important first steps for working with a new client reeling from their loss:
Processing the Event Story of the Death
Clinicians working with a bereaved client will first encourage the client to engage in a healing re-telling of the loss. The clinician must create a safe space for the client to open up and build trust, so when the time comes to help the client rewrite the story of their loss, they are able to communicate effectively with the clinician.
Accessing the Back Story of the Relationship
In addition to hearing about the loss event itself, the clinician will also learn about the client’s relationship with the loved one they lost. As Neimeyer says, “Death may end a life, but not necessarily a relationship.” The clinician will guide the client through learning how to reconstruct their bond with their loved one rather than relinquishing it.
Once you’ve got the basics covered, you can move on to some grief-specific techniques.
Techniques used in Grief Counseling
Three of the biggest things a good grief counselor can do for their client are to:
1. Let them talk about the deceased; ask them about the person, and allow them to speak about their lost loved one in a safe space.
2. Distinguish grief from trauma; if the client is struggling to get an image out of their head or experiencing flashbacks to the moment they learned of their loved one’s death, they are experiencing trauma, which can keep them from working through their grief.
3. Deal with any guilt they are feeling and help them organize the grief; the client may feel guilty about what they did or didn’t do while their loved one was alive, or they may feel guilty about not feeling “sad enough” or moving on while their loved one is dead. Encourage them to let go of the guilt and commit to living a life that will honor the deceased, even if that means forgetting about them for a little while
Unfortunately, grief is an inevitable, inescapable part of life.
We will all lose someone we love at some point in our life—most of us at many points—and the loss can often hit us harder than we expect.
If we feel really knocked off our feet or are struggling for a prolonged period of time, that may be a sign that we need some professional help to move on.
In this piece, we’ll cover the basics of grief counseling/grief therapy and provide suggestions, tips, techniques, and exercises you can implement as a person in grieving, part of the support system for a person who is grieving, or as a mental health professional.