Grieving is a normal response to a significant loss and is experienced differently by each individual. Some people will manage the process through individual support from family, friends, and community. For others, grief counseling can be a powerful tool to help them navigate the grieving process.
When Professional Therapy Is Helpful
For some, the experience of a loss may be so overwhelming that there is cause for intensive, one-on-one counseling with a grief therapist. The loss could be the death of a loved one, the break up of a significant relationship, or any other loss that causes the individual suffering. Goodtherapy.org asserts that therapy is an effective means to help the grieving individual learn to cope, no matter what the loss is. A licensed therapist will determine an individualized approach to therapy to provide you with the tools you need to work through your grief process.
Benefits of Grief Counseling
According to The Light Beyond, if your grieving has robbed you of the ability to engage in normal activities of daily living, you should immediately seek the help of a mental health professional. Grief counseling can help you:
- Focus on specific areas in your life where coping is difficult
- Identify strategies and behaviors to help you cope and re-engage in daily tasks
- Accept your loss
- Find comfort in positive memories without being overcome by a sense of loss
- Work through the process of grieving by allowing a safe environment to work through feelings of loss
- Understand the normal stages of grief and recognize that the feelings you are experiencing are natural
Support groups can be an important part of grief counseling after experiencing significant loss and offer many benefits. They are typically comprised of individuals who are experiencing the same type of loss as you are and may be led by a health professional. The Mayo Clinic notes that support groups can help the grieving individual in several ways:
- Involvement in a support group may lessen the sense of isolation often experienced after a significant loss.
- Being able to discuss your feelings with others who have had a similar loss can help you connect and recognize you are not alone, and your feelings are normal.
- A support group can allow you to exchange relevant information with others. For example, a cancer support group may exchange information on research or resources for families. This exchange seems to benefit participants significantly.
- Participating can boost your mood and help relieve stress by giving you a venue to express emotions that you may keep bottled up.
Ideas for Moving On
The old saying-time heals all wounds-holds true. You may never be exactly the same after experiencing a traumatic loss, but with support and time you can learn to work through the grieving process and live a meaningful, happy life again.
In addition to counseling, there are many self-therapy strategies that you can use to help you through the process of grieving. Psychcentral.com discusses several everyday activities as being therapeutic for managing grief. You may try one or many to help you cope:
- Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment. This could include going to work, volunteering or working around the house.
- Try to socialize. While it may be difficult at first, allowing friends to come alongside you in your time of grief, or even do something with you may help take your mind off your sadness for a while.
- Many people find solace in their religious faiths. Spend time at your place of worship to help gain perspective.
- Get creative. Writing or art both provide a means of self-expression and an outlet for emotions that may be too painful to otherwise process right now.
- Reading can help you escape the mundane things of daily life for a while and help you think about something else other than your grief.
Finding meaning in everyday activities can offer an outlet for grief and support through individual self-care.
What's Best for You?
Grieving is an individual process. The magnitude of the loss, your personal support systems, and your individual coping mechanisms will determine the level of support you need to work through a loss and regain a sense of peace. Knowing that grief is a normal response to a loss is important. If time and conventional methods of support are not enough, consider talking to your health care professional to see if counseling may be right for you.