For most of us, experiences of grief and loss will occur multiple times throughout our lives. However, being a normal part of the human experience does not make it any easier when we encounter loss of someone or something that we cherished.
Regardless of whether the loss was expected or sudden, the experience of grieving can sometimes be very complex and exceedingly painful. At Mindful Psychology, we have experienced and caring grief counsellors who can gently guide you in the right direction.
Working Through Grief
Although grief is often very painful, acknowledging the feelings and allowing them to come and go helps us to make sense of, and process, the experience so that, in time, we can get on with our lives despite our loss. Sometimes these feelings can be frightening or confusing or just not something we want to deal with. Grief counselling with a professional counsellor can help you understand, process and work through these feelings.
Whilst grieving is a normal reaction to any type of loss, we all grieve in our own way and in our own time. It may feel like you’re on an ‘emotional roller-coaster’, experiencing strong, intermittent feelings of sadness, anger, happiness, confusion or numbness. You may be more irritable and impatient with others than usual. Or you may try to cope by using distractions to avoid feelings altogether, for example by over- or under-eating, drinking more alcohol or shopping more.
The amount and type/s of emotion we express is unique to each individual, each experience of loss, and is often influenced by cultural norms.
Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical, and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.Earl A. Grollman
Who Should Seek Grief Counselling?
Grief can occur as a result of a vast variety of losses. For example:
- Death of someone you cared about
- The ending of, or significant change to, an important relationship – See Marriage Counselling or Relationship Counselling
- You or someone you care about being diagnosed with a serious illness
- Loss of the future you expected (such as in the case of infertility)
- Loss of a sense of safety (for example, after a traumatic incident)
- Loss of identity (such as after major surgery or a life transition)
- Life transitions (such as retirement, children leaving home)
- Not being accepted for who you are
These and more are all very valid reasons to seek help from a grief counsellor.
When Should You Seek Professional Help?
If you have lost someone or something precious and are struggling to cope, or if you find you are unable to participate in your usual daily activities after an extended period of time, or if you are unsure whether what you’re experiencing is “normal”, you are likely to benefit from consulting a therapist who you can confide in and learn some healthy coping strategies from.
Grief counselling or grief therapy can help with any sort of loss, whether society validates the grief or not.
If you are struggling with the following symptoms over a prolonged period, you are likely to benefit from grief counselling:
- Intense sadness and emotional pain that feels overwhelming
- Feelings of emptiness and hopelessness
- Yearning to be reunited with the deceased (suicidal thoughts)
- Preoccupation with the loved one or with the circumstances of the death or loss
- Difficulty engaging in happy memories of the lost person (or animal)
- Avoidance of reminders of the deceased or lost one
- A reduced or confused sense of identity
- Detachment and isolation from potentially supportive friends and family
- Ongoing difficulty accepting the reality of the loss
- Lack of desire to pursue personal interests or plans
How Can Our Therapists Help?
The psychologists at Mindful Psychology are Brisbane counsellors that have expertise in supporting people who are struggling to come to terms with loss and / or to manage their feelings about the situation.
We use a variety of techniques including:
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
- Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
- Mindfulness-based therapy
- Exposure and/or Schema Therapy
Therapy is an opportunity to understand and sort through your feelings and memories in a completely non-judgmental environment, as you begin to take steps toward healing, when you’re ready. We will support you to find meaning in your loss, and help you to start to build a new life that incorporates your loss and helps you to form a new and different relationship with this.
No loss is too big or too small to warrant support and you do not have to endure your grief alone.