Has someone close to you died?  Perhaps you have suffered a major loss through miscarriage or are facing a life limiting prognosis or body changing surgery.  These can initiate feelings of grief and intense loss as can an unwanted divorce or loss of career.

Grief and loss are not always associated with death.  These feelings can be evoked by events or experiences such as divorce, the loss of a career or way of life, life changing surgery or a life limiting diagnosis.  Grief is a normal and healthy response to loss or death, but it is a painful, difficult process and can be emotionally and physically draining.

Grief is sometimes described as the emotional response to loss or the death of a loved one and many different feelings can be experienced.  Amongst them are anger, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, helplessness, shock, disbelief and numbness.  Sometimes these feelings can be very intense or long lasting and they can be accompanied by physical symptoms too, such as tightness in the chest and throat, feeling short of breath.  An inability to concentrate, loss of appetite and sleep disturbances may also be part of what is experienced.

Feelings of isolation can intensify if family, friends or neighbours don’t seem to know what to say or do to help, particularly perhaps if they try to avoid speaking about the loss or death.

For some people, grief can be more complicated if, at the time of the loss, they are already socially isolated or struggling with challenging life circumstances or depressed.

Another thing which can make grieving the loss of a loved one more complicated is if a difficult relationship existed between the person who has died and the bereaved.  If the bereaved has experienced many losses or experienced loss or separation in childhood, these too, can complicate the grieving process.

Suicide, a sudden death or an ‘untimely’ death can overwhelm the healthy coping strategies a loved one may have and leave the bereaved unable to grieve or locked in grief.

Bereavement counselling offers an environment where someone who is struggling to come to terms with loss or bereavement can experience the feelings they have, understand them, resolve issues which may be making the grieving process complicated and gently, in their own time, move on.

William Worden, the author of Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy describes what he sees as the goals or tasks of grief counselling in the following way; to initially accept the reality of the loss and to work through the pain of the grief.  Then comes the adjustment to a world without the loved one and ultimately the development of the ability to live fully again, investing fully in life without feeling that somehow this betrays our lost loved one.

He distinguishes grief counselling and grief therapy.  Grief therapy he describes as appropriate for those whose grieving process is complicated and has become prolonged, masked or exaggerated. The goals or tasks in this case are to identify and resolve what it is that has created the complicated grief reaction, often a history of losses and separations which it has not been possible to resolve, so that a ‘more normal’ grieving can take place.

Please feel free to contact me via email on info@hirapascoe.co.uk