Grief Counseling: What Is it and How Does It Help?

Grief counselling is a type of therapy that helps people deal with the loss of a loved one. It can provide relief from the intense pain that comes with grief, and it can help you to process your feelings and move on.

Grief is a very complex emotion that can also elicit physical responses. Individuals often experience grief following the loss of a loved one, but it can also happen following the loss of a pet, a job or a change in circumstances. Any time we have to adjust to a big change in life, grief can strike.

If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, grief counselling may be right for you. This type of therapy could help you to process your feelings and avoid feeling stuck in the stages of grief. Read on to learn more about what grief counselling is and how it can help.

What is grief counselling and what are its benefits?

Grief counselling is a type of therapy that helps people deal with the loss of a loved one. It can provide relief from the intense pain that comes with grief, and it can help you to process your feelings and move on.

Grief counselling can help you to:

  • Understand your grief and what you are going through
  • Learn coping strategies to help with your grief
  • Recognise when your grief is getting too much to handle
  • Meet other people who are experiencing similar things

As with all types of counselling, you get out what you put in. Grief counselling won't work if you are resistant to the process. Instead, you should be open to how it can help you to move forward through your grief. 

Often, people are resistant to grief because they don't want to let go, but counselling will teach you that there is a way t to move forward without letting go of the memories. A good grief counsellor will be able to teach you how to move forward while still honouring your loved one’s memory.

How does grief counselling work, and who can benefit from it most?

Grief counselling works by helping you to understand your grief and teaching you how to cope with it in a healthy way. It is often conducted in group settings, which can provide support and allow you to share your experiences with others who are going through the same thing.

Grief counselling is most effective when it is started soon after the loss occurs. But it might take you a while to realise that you need help. That's okay. Grief counselling can be helpful at any stage of the grieving process. You might realise years after grieving the loss of something that you are still hanging on to unhealthy thoughts and feelings.

If you are struggling to cope with your grief, or if it is impacting your day-to-day life, grief counselling can help. Grief counselling is also beneficial if you feel like you are stuck in the grieving process and are not moving forward.

What should you expect from a session with a grief counsellor, and how often should you attend them for best results?

A session with a grief counsellor will vary depending on the counsellor and their approach. But generally, you can expect to talk about your feelings and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. You might also do some exercises or activities to help you to process your grief.

Grief counselling is typically short-term, lasting for 6 months or less. You can stop at any time, but it's helpful to have one final session after you have decided to stop to make sure you aren't making a rash decision influenced by your grief. Counselling can lead to feelings of anger, which might lead you to want to quit the process. This is why returning for one final session before you cut ties will always be a good idea.

Group grief counselling can be beneficial if you want to share your experiences with others. Getting another person's perspective on grief can help you to understand what you are going through.

How can grieving individuals find the right counsellor for them, and what should they look out for when choosing one?

When you are looking for a counsellor, it's important to find someone who you feel comfortable with and who has experience working with grief. It's also important to make sure that the counsellor is qualified and accredited. It’s normal to have introductory sessions with multiple counsellors before choosing one that you feel a connection with; you don’t have to go with the first one your meet with.

When choosing between group counselling or individual counselling, think about your personality type and what situation might make you feel more at ease. If you are an outgoing person, group grief counselling might be sufficient for you. But if you are more introverted, you might struggle to open up to a crowd.

Where can I find a grief counsellor?

You can ask your GP or another health professional for a referral to a grief counsellor. You could also search online for local grief counsellors in your area. If you wait for a referral from your GP, there is no guarantee that you will get to see a grief counsellor soon. In most cases, it is best to choose a private grief counsellor, or look at group grief counselling options.

Churches and other religious groups will often offer grief counselling for local residents. Facebook groups will also be able to point you in the direction of local grief groups. Online communities can be perfect for those who live in isolated places, or those who want to be able to access support at any time.

Getting help to handle your grief isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of strength, so there is no reason to feel ashamed if you feel like you need to talk about your grief with someone. It’s a natural part of the grieving porcess.