Grief Counseling and How It Can Help You Move Forward

“The Only Constant In Life Is Change,” wrote the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, over 2,000 years ago. As individuals and in the community, by choice or by happenstance, nothing remains the same. Physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, we grow, and yet sometimes our growth feels paused by loss.

Feelings of sadness and grief are normal after the loss of a loved one, and it is extremely important in such a tough time in your life to have someone to talk to. Throughout the stages of grief, it can be especially important to have someone guide you and help you through each stage. Making sense of the issue at hand is something that so many people struggle with, so never feeling like going to grief counseling is a sign of weakness.   

What is grief though? Grief is a common emotional and sometimes physical response that you feel when you experience loss after a disaster or a traumatic event. There are specific types of grief as well, for example, bereavement is a type of grief you experience when you lose a loved one.

Grief occurs across all ages, but adults, adolescents, and children may handle it differently. Feelings of grief can range from deep sadness to bursts of anger. Everyone grieves in their own way and time frame depending on the personal attachment to what was lost. 

But how exactly can going to a grief counselor help? Grief counselors are trained to help you work through all of your stages of grief. Going to counseling can be especially helpful because how you experience grief can vary from person to person, and having someone there to personally work with can be extremely helpful. Although everyone grieves in different ways,  people commonly refer to the five familiar stages of grief:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
  • Finding Meaning

Although put in an order, this order has no relevance to you, for everyone goes through the stages of grief differently. While you may experience one stage first another person can experience something completely different. It is hard to understand going through this kind of grief if you have never experienced it, however along with the common stages come common grief reactions. These include things like: 

  • Shock
  • Disbelief and denial
  • Anxiety
  • Distress
  • Anger
  • Periods of sadness
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of appetite

Going to counseling can be really helpful in addressing these reactions and developing coping mechanisms. It can be really challenging to work through these issues, with all the distractions of life around you, along with the inability to sleep at night, loss of appetite, and extreme distress. These things can all have effects on you in the long term, so it is extremely important to seek help. 

Along with grief counseling, there are additional types of therapies that can help you calm your mind. Things like yoga and breathwork can have a hugely beneficial effect on your grieving process, but here are a few more that you may not be completely familiar with that can help you. 

  • Massage Therapy 
  • Reiki 
  • Meditation 
  • Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
  • Pilates 
  • Group Therapy 

Going to different kinds of therapies can help you not only gain different perspectives but release different emotions and feelings. Throughout a grief experience, it is essential to have a strong team of help behind you so that you can go through the situation with the most comfort possible. 

At Body Positive Works, All of our therapists are trained in holding the complexity of grief and loss, and some are certified Grief Educators through David Kessler’s certification training. David Kessler, the world-renowned expert on grief and loss, has added a sixth stage to the original five devised by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross many decades ago. This sixth stage of grief – finding meaning – is what helps us to remember with “more love than pain” (Kessler). We walk beside you as you step along each stepping stone of the grief process.

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