What is grief?
Most people experience bereavement/loss of a loved one at some point in their lives. Grief is a natural process that helps us to cope with and accept our loss. The grief process involves a series of emotions including shock/denial; anger; sadness/pain; depression/guilt and acceptance.
The grief process takes place not only when we have lost someone but also when we perceive that we have lost something - eg being made redundant; our children leaving home; infertility; adoption issues; being separated/divorced; retiring; a friendship ending; grieving for the loss of our childhood.
How can bereavement/grief counselling help?
If we get stuck in one part of the grief process (eg by not expressing/accepting our sadness/anger or by using addictive, self harming behaviour to distract ourselves from our feelings) we can end up going round and round the grief process and these unresolved feelings can lead to depression/shame. This depression is different to the 'healthy depression', which is a natural part of grieving for our loss. Feeling depressed can have a negative impact on your relationships.
Seeing a counsellor can help you complete the grief process by allowing you to reclaim and connect to the disowned parts of you. Grief therapy can also help you to feel compassion for the vulnerable, anxious and stressed parts of you as well as helping you make sense of your experience. Practising relaxation techniques like mindfulness and meditation can help you through the grieving process.