If you are coping with your feelings of grief, following a death or loss after something significant has ended, counselling for bereavement helps.
No one is ever prepared for the shock and emotional fallout following the death of someone. Sadness, anger, depression, numbness, the utter loss of what to do, there are so many possible responses that you can find yourself reeling as if on an emotional rollercoaster.
Bereavement counselling helps you to process all the different emotions taking you through the stages of grief and loss.
Bereavement counselling is unique to you
Though no one can know what you are going through a bereavement counsellor can help you to process the many feelings that will surface while you go through the grieving process and adjust to a new existence, without the person you loved.
There are many emotions that may follow bereavement:
- Shock & disbelief – How did this happen, it’s not what should have happened, it should have been me first.
- Denial & numbness – if I don’t accept it, it can’t be true, I won’t accept it.
- Anger & rage – How could they leave me, it’s unfair, I feel abandoned.
- Overwhelming sadness – I can’t go on without them.
- Regret, guilt – it is normal to go over all that you did and didn’t do and all you think you should or shouldn’t have done. Also, guilt may come from the feeling of ‘relief’ following the death.
- Depression – feelings of despair, pointlessness to life and thinking about your own mortality.
- Pain – physical pain is a common symptom following a bereavement, stress and anxiety can trigger physiological reactions – psychosomatic responses.
During the grieving process you may suffer any of these and many more, they may come in ‘waves’. You may find you have good days, when you feel like you can almost continue like you did before the loss, and bad days when everything seems impossible or a great effort.
What is grief, is it normal to feel like this?
It is normal to feel a range of emotions including sadness, anger, numbness and denial. It is also usual to experience grief quite some time after your bereavement.
You may suffer bouts of uncontrollable crying or periods of extreme exhaustion or you may wonder why you are not suffering and feel no emotions at all.
Grief following the loss or ending of something significant
Bereavement isn’t just about death. Although we associate mourning following the death of someone, grief can occur after other forms of ‘loss’ such as the ending of a relationship or a child leaving home, and this can also bring up deep emotions. Mourning is a healthy and necessary process when an ending is painful, but sometimes we need support in the process.
What happens during bereavement counselling, how does it work?
There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to coping with grief, there is no ‘timeframe’ for the length of your mourning. However, working through your feelings can help you ‘process’ all that has happened and all that has changed for you and this is where bereavement counselling really helps.
You may have heard of the ‘stages of grief’, many people imagine that you go from stage 1 to stage 5 in an orderly process, however grief doesn’t work like this and it may be that you go through the various stages; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance, in your own order.
Bargaining can often come first if the bereavement is expected, for example during the end stages of a loved one’s illness.
During bereavement counselling you will explore what is going on for you with a goal of finding acceptance and a way forward following your loss.
How long does it take?
The simple answer is ‘it takes as long as it takes’ … it is only over, for you, when it is over. Some people may take longer to grieve, while others process the changes more quickly, try not to feel you have to go at any particular speed.
Bereavement Counselling in London: Take the first step
Bereavement counselling offers you a space just to ‘be’ … nothing is asked of you, there are no demands made of you, you can use the time to talk about any aspect of what is going on for you whether that is related to your loss or something else entirely. A bereavement often causes other emotions and concerns to surface, ‘the reason for being’, ‘self-confidence’, ‘your own mortality’ … bereavement counselling offers you a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space that is just for you.
To find a bereavement counsellor to help with your grief and loss take a look at the profiles of the London Therapists at City Therapy Rooms, each profile is written by the therapist and gives you more information about how they work and their availability.
Please feel free to chat on the telephone to a few therapists or to meet several before deciding who you would like to work with. The initial session is an opportunity for both you and the therapist to decide if you would like to work together.
Some helpful information about bereavement, grief and loss
The NHS offers you some advice on how to cope with your feelings following a bereavement – Bereavement, Grief & Death
Childhood Bereavement Network
If you are caring for or supporting a child who is coping with the death of a parent, sibling or someone close to them then the Childhood Bereavement Network offers advice and support
Dying Matters was set up to support those who are preparing for their own death or that of someone they are caring for. This site gives really helpful advice and support for all those difficult to discuss areas of death and what follows. Dying Matters
The Cruse website is there to help anyone coping with the death of someone, here we link to the very helpful resources page that covers everything you might need to know or get help for when you are faced with the everything that follows the death of someone. Legal advice, funeral advice, support for the vulnerable, forums and support groups. Cruse.org.uk
© Brian Cotsen