Grief counseling is a form of psychotherapy that helps people cope with grief and mourning after the death of a loved one or with the feelings of grief that get triggered by major life changes. Some losses are tangible, like a permanent loss of health, having something stolen, a spouse after divorce or a loved one who has died. Other losses are less tangible like loss of self-esteem after a job loss, loss of family due to conflict or disconnection, loss of ability due to aging. In my practice I specialize in helping individuals and couples struggling with the intensity of grief. This includes listening and really being present with the pain and emotions the person is feeling, helping them to find positive coping strategies to get through the pain, and finally to support the individual in reconnecting with their life.
Often grief can feel debilitating and like “you are going crazy”. People experience grief uniquely but some common expectations of grieving include: physical dimensions (fatigue, loss/gain of appetite, sleep difficulties, headaches, muscle aches and pains); emotional dimensions (shock/numbness, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, disorganization, hurt, etc.) and behavioral dimensions (crying/sobbing, trying to stay busy, avoidance, absent-minded behavior). Although grief is a natural part of the human experience, research shows that when you are grieving you are highly stressed. Therefore, grief counseling in is essence helps people to process emotions and cope with stress.
Working with a counselor can help you to find a safe place to grieve, identify your unique strengths, learn coping strategies to support grief work and to learn ways to manage the increased stressors in your life.
The places where we are genuinely met and heard have great importance to us. Being in them may remind us of our strength and our value in ways that many other places we may pass through do not.
Excerpt from Kitchen Table Wisdom by Naomi Remen, MD