Grief and Bereavement Counseling
Grief and bereavement counselling have a relationship but refer to different aspects of loss. There are key stages that come up for an individual or family.
Anyone that has been through bereavement however, will know that your feelings can change very quickly from one minute to the next. One minute you may feel you are coping the next it is dragging you back to the depths of despair.
The reality is that grief must run its course and although it does not feel like it, time is a healer. If you allow yourself time to grieve you will in time remember the person without becoming upset and be able to focus on good memories.
If we live our lives separately from others needing and relying on nobody, but oneself, then loss would have little impact on us. We are all social creatures compared to other animals. We spend a remarkably long period of our lives depending on others. We are born, we grow, we make friends and we die, this is all part of our makeup. The forces that draw us to others are deeply entwined in our nature. We respond to these forces in powerful and seemingly involuntary ways. We feel these pressures when we are lonely and bereft of companionship.
At their best these deeply rooted feelings encourage us to help and protect each other. The resulting bonds bring us help when we need it. It is precisely these feelings that have made our incredibly complex human culture possible. Without it we would be spending our lives trying furtively to gather and hunt enough food to keep ourselves alive from one day to the next. We would have neither the reason nor the ability to pass on what we have learned to others. If we were hurt we would have only this wisdom of our bodies to heal us.
We are not solitary and the price we pay for our attachment is vulnerability especially at the time of loss. Because we depend on other people they do matter to us and they occupy a special place in our hearts. They are like a part of ourselves and cannot be replaced. When someone we love is gone from our lives, it is as if a piece of us has been torn way. The loss renders the fabric of our lives and the wound must be repaired.
Bereavement is the process by which our minds heal this hurt. We need to let go of those we love who are no longer with us. Through this process of mourning we can gradually accept the loss. At the end of the mourning period there is still sadness but it is a wistful sadness that is tempered by the happy memories that we still possess.
All of my clients that come for bereavement counseling have a different reaction to their loss, these can include:
Sadness: This is the most common.
Guilt: This is a feeling of you did not do enough, care enough or show their feelings.
Numbness: This could put you on auto pilot.
Anger: You cannot carry on without the person or that you could have prevented their death.
Anxiety: This can cause you to have panic attacks, feeling insecure and not being able to look after one's self.
Loneliness: Having reminders of the person you have lost. For example meals not being the same, having no one to share those special moments with.
Fatigue: Feeling tired, feeling low and having no energy.
Helplessness: Not coping with jobs around the home because the deceased would have done them.
Relief: Because the person has had a long illness and has been in pain.
All of these are normal experiences after bereavement and can last for a period of time. In addition to the feelings which are associated with grief your physical sensations are also connected. It is important for me as a counselor to be aware of the survivor's loss and to monitor their physical symptoms. These can include headaches, backaches, dizziness, muscle tension, tightness in the chest, short of breath, lack of energy, depression, not eating or sleeping and often becoming withdrawn.
One area where a counselor can help is when someone passes suddenly. You have had no time to say goodbye or say the things you have always wanted to say, but never have. A psychic counselor can help you say all those things in a way that helps you and enables you to put things right, allowing you to move on. They are someone that understands how you feel and will help you back from the depths of despair. Bereavement counseling can really help.