What is Grief Counseling Like?
Although grieving a loss is normal, natural, and healthy, it can also be confusing and disorienting. Many people wonder whether they are “doing it right.” Counseling will not change the reality that you lost someone or something important to you. However, quality grief counseling can provide you with a roadmap and some tools to help you effectively navigate the challenging terrain. So what is grief counseling like? Read on to learn more.
You'll be Given Space to Process Your Thoughts and Feelings
Grief counseling provides a confidential space for you to let it all out. It’s a regularly scheduled, dedicated time for you to focus on processing your loss. You can voice your thoughts and feelings - even the ones you might be scared to admit you’re experiencing. You can be honest about how you’ve been behaving and how you’ve been spending your time. You can share the story of your loss as many times as you need to. You don’t need to worry about taking up too much space or being a burden when you talk with your grief counselor, because the therapy session is time held exclusively for you.
You'll be Given Information About the Grief Process
Loss is something all humans experience, and yet most of us never receive education about loss and grief in our regular schooling. As a result, when people experience an impactful loss for the first time they often wonder if their reaction is normal. Grief counseling can help you learn about common cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physical reactions to loss. It can also help you identify all the different variables that are influencing how you are reacting to your loss, and why your reaction might be different than someone else’s. Your grief counselor can also teach you ways to support other people in your life who are grieving.
You'll Learn How to Actively Work with Your Grief
Grieving is not a passive experience. You can take active steps to support your healing. Grief counselors often share theoretical models of grief to help you understand where you are in the process, what roadblocks you might be experiencing, and how you may be able to adjust your thoughts or behavior to better support your healing. They can help you creatively apply these models to your own experience. J. William Worden’s Tasks of Mourning is one model a grief counselor might use to evaluate where you are in your grief process and what might be helpful for you to actively work on.
One final note: People experience many different kinds of losses over the course of their lives. The death of a family member or friend, loss of their health, infertility, loss of abilities, breakups with romantic partners or friends, moving, loss of an imagined future. The list is endless. Grief counseling is not only for people who have experienced a death. You may benefit from grief counseling if you're struggling to process any kind of loss.
Do you still have questions about what grief counseling is like, or if it could be helpful for you? Contact me for a free 15-minute consultation.
This blog post isn’t intended as professional counseling or clinical advice. If you’re in need of support, please consider speaking to a professional to be evaluated.