Grief & Loss
Grief Counselling or Therapy can help with the profound effects of grief and loss. Overnight it can seem that our life has been turned up-side down. We can feel trapped in our sadness while the world around us looks unchanged. This may lead to feeling that other’s do not understand. We may not even understand ourselves anymore. Our emotions and behaviour may appear very erratic. There can also be unhelpful advice on how to cope and “move on”, further accentuating feelings of isolation and despair. Psychologists can help people experiencing grief, loss, and bereavement to understand and manage life better.
Grief and loss can result from an infinite array of circumstances including but not limited to:
- Death of a loved one
- Breakdown of an intimate relationship
- Loss of a social network
- Loss of a job/career
- Loss of physical health and mobility
- Loss of cultural background
- Loss of identity
Some circumstances we may have had time to try and prepare for while others can be sudden. Sometimes we are surprised that we feel a sense of loss over something we chose to change for example, a career or ending a friendship.
Signs of grief and loss
Counselling can help with changes in thinking, emotions, physical health and behaviours such as:
- Waves of intense emotions including sadness, despair, anger, guilt
- Anxiety, worry, panic
- Loss of energy and engagement in usual activities
- Feeling detached from others and usual routine
- Poor concentration
- Feelings of meaninglessness, feeling lost
- Longing for the lost
- Physical aching
- Poor sleep or excessive sleep
- Restlessness, agitation, irritability
- Increase use of substance
Sometimes grief and loss is cumulative, such that multiple significant losses over one’s life create a compounded grief response. Alternatively, we can experience multiple losses over a short period of time leaving us feeling shocked, overwhelmed and unable to process the losses as individual events. During these times we may not have a chance to grieve. Dealing with life circumstances, financial strain and family disarray are just a few reasons for why we may unknowing delay dealing with our grief. Delayed grieving can result in signs of grief leaking through into our lives in unwanted and unpredictable ways, this can occur months or years after the initial loss. Another sign of complicated grief is an inability to access feelings and clear memories about the lost person or object of loss.
Grief and Depression
Grief is very different to depression. However, they can co-occur especially if the circumstances of the loss are traumatic and/or one lacks sufficient social support and is overwhelmed dealing with the repercussions of the loss. It is also common to experience high levels of anxiety, panic, and anger while grieving.
Counselling can provide assistance with all the scenarios mentioned above. Counselling can support you in dealing with overwhelming emotions, find a way to understand the loss, integrate it into your life, and restructure and promote a sense of a future.