This post originally appeared on Medical News Bulletin.
Grieving is a normal process and human response when one experiences loss. Grieving is a normal part of the process, whether it’s losing someone due to death, the end of a relationship, or losing anything that significantly matters in your life. However, the length of the grieving process may differ for each one. The duration of the grieving process may depend on your relationship with the person, the nature of the experience and how you cope with the loss. Similarly, each person may also deal with grief in a different way.
When left unmanaged or unresolved, grief can become overwhelming and powerful, leading to complicated grief. According to research, complicated grief often affects 10% to 20% of grievers. Complicated grief takes hold of the person’s thoughts and emotions, making it more challenging to live without the lost loved one. Sometimes, complicated grief could evolve into depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts.
Thankfully, one healthy way to manage grief is through grief counselling. You can find a therapy center that offers grief counselling in Vancouver or other local areas where you’re based. If you’re skeptical about whether or not grief counselling may be helpful, listed below are some ways in which grief counselling can support folks with the grieving process.
- Develop healthy coping skills when dealing with grief
Have you noticed why some people resort to substance or alcohol abuse as their method of dealing with grief? In a study conducted by Pitman, Stevenson, King & Osborn (2020), 33% of over 1,000 respondents experienced an increase in alcohol use while grieving, while 12% of respondents reported experiencing an increase in substance use. Hypothesized that alcohol and drug use increased as participants made efforts to numb and cope with the pain they were feeling because of their grief.
However, coping with grief isn’t about numbing the pain associated with the loss. Coping is about managing painful feelings and working toward acceptance. Through grief counselling, your therapist can teach you how to cope with grief more healthily.
For example, if you’re feeling intense anger during your grieving process, your therapist or counsellor may help you find the sources of your anger. Perhaps you’re angry at a loved one for leaving you in the relationship, or, maybe you’re mad at yourself because you believed you could’ve done better to avoid this loss. You and your therapist can work together to better understand your feelings.
Your counsellor may then assist you in finding better ways to cope with the anger that you’re experiencing. Some clients cite things like meditation, journaling and visualization as helpful tools for managing intense emotion. So, find yourself a trusted and registered clinical counsellor and let them help you process your emotions more healthily.
- Help you adapt and adjust to life without your loved one
Grief counselling may help you adjust to life after having experienced a loss. Understandably, this can feel like no easy feat. In cases where a loved one has been lost, it is not uncommon for feelings of guilt surrounding being alive/surviving to present. As per BMC Psychology’s study, 19% of the family or relatives feel guilty about their loved one’s death. Although feeling guilty is normal, your grief counsellor can help you healthily process feelings of guilt.
For example, during your therapy sessions, they’ll encourage you to talk more about your happy memories with the person. Doing this frequently will put all the unpleasant memories and negative emotions, such as guilt, regret, anger, and anxiety, you may have at bay. Then, sooner or later, as your mind is filled with more positive memories, you may learn to become accepting and eventually adapt to life without your loved one. Through grief counselling, your therapist will help you learn how to make peace with your loss.
- You’ll get more support and receive validation for your feelings
When you experience a significant loss, it’s natural to grieve and feel sad about it. However, not everyone will understand the pain you’re going through. Oftentimes, loved ones struggle to see us in pain, and to rescue us from our pain, they may give you tips to move on from the loss. Unfortunately, instead of feeling supported, suggestions to move on often feel dismissive of feelings, making it even harder to cope with grief.
Through grief counselling, you’ll get proper emotional and moral support. You can safely express your feelings to your grief counsellor without being judged or invalidated. You can also receive professional advice to help you overcome your emotional difficulties.
Furthermore, since the length of grieving is different for each person, you can heal at your own pace without being pressured by people to “get it together” or “move on quicker.” Your grief therapist will assist you throughout the different stages of grief at your own pace. Ultimately, grief counselling can give you a safe space to heal in your own time and pace.
Grieving can be a challenging and confusing time for anyone. But through grief counselling, you can process your emotions more healthily, at your own time and pace. Instead of bottling up your emotions or lashing out at the wrong people, your grief counsellor will help you make peace and learn acceptance of your loss, so you can continue to live a meaningful life.
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This post originally appeared on Medical News Bulletin.