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grief counseling
August 16, 2021

Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy

While grief is an unavoidable part of life, everyone responds to loss differently. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to mourn, and no effective way to prepare for how grief might affect you. Some people prefer to come to terms with their loss quickly so they can get back to normal as soon as possible, while others find that their sadness and emptiness are intrusive enough to disrupt their ability to carry on with daily activities. Regardless of how loss is affecting you, grief counseling can help you process your emotions.

What Is Grief Counseling?

Grief is a complex response to any form of bereavement, such as the death of a friend or loved one, a job loss, the breakup of a relationship or any other fundamental shift in your life. The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought a unique form of grief in the form of people mourning a loss of normalcy, predictability and connections.

While sadness is part of grief, it may also involve other shifting emotions such as confusion, anger, guilt, shame and denial. You may be familiar with the stages of grief identified by psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross in the 1960s. While some people experience these stages linearly, it’s much more typical to move back and forth through them as your circumstances change. 

Grief counseling provides additional support for people struggling to recover from loss. If your ongoing emotional turmoil is making it challenging for you to move forward with your life or affecting your other relationships, you may benefit from working with a grief therapist.

The Nature of Grief

In many cases, your emotions surrounding a bereavement will depend on its nature. For example, the death of a grandparent after a prolonged illness may bring a sense of relief in addition to sadness, while the unexpected loss of a young child may lead to denial and bargaining. However, all forms of grief are equally valid, regardless of the circumstances or how you choose to work through your emotions. 

Sometimes, typical thoughts and behaviors associated with grief may shift into more intense symptoms like anxiety, depression, hopelessness, lack of trust, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping or lashing out toward yourself or others. This condition is known as “complicated grief,” and if you continue experiencing it without relief or resolution, you would likely benefit from working with a grief counselor. 

How Can Grief Counseling Help You?

Besides helping you work through your loss, grief therapy lets you:

  • Address any unresolved trauma
  • Express your emotions without fear of judgment
  • Establish a support network to help you move on
  • Come to terms with your new reality

After establishing a rapport with you, your counselor can ask you questions about the nature of your grief and how it affects your daily life. Sometimes, grief therapy can benefit you merely by giving you a safe space to express your feelings and talk about your loss. Other times, a counselor may direct you through specific coping techniques to process various memories and feelings. 

Grief counseling is not only for people coping with the death of a loved one. Grief therapists might focus on:

  • Unexpected job loss
  • Anticipatory grief for family members who have received a diagnosis of a terminal illness or entered hospice care
  • Women or couples dealing with a miscarriage
  • Those who have experienced a traumatic event such as a home break-in or a natural disaster

Treating Trauma, Depression and Grief

Patterns of substance abuse and self-destructive behavior often emerge from an attempt to cope with extreme mental or emotional anguish. At Beach House, our team of licensed, compassionate therapists can help you overcome a dual diagnosis and live a life free of the burdens of drugs and alcohol abuse. We offer an industry-leading therapist-to-client ratio and a tailored treatment plan for each client, all in a secluded beachfront environment that is uniquely conducive to recovery. Contact us today to learn what makes us one of the nation’s best addiction treatment facilities.

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