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What Is Bereavement Therapy & How Does It Work?

Nov 11

Bereavement therapy, often known as grief counseling, is a type of psychotherapy provided to those who have lost a loved one and are going through the mourning process.

Grief may bring up a variety of feelings, including grief, anger, guilt, and regret, and it can be beneficial to have a professional by your side while you go through the phases.

A grief therapist can assist you with issues like as adjusting to life without your loved one, dealing with guilt over events that you wish had gone differently, and sharing feelings that you would not otherwise be able to express.



You might be wondering what to anticipate from bereavement therapy if you're contemplating it. To help you better understand the process, below are some of the main parts of grief therapy that you may discuss with your therapist.


How To Connect With Your Emotions

A grief therapist can assist you in identifying and expressing your feelings in a secure environment. If you don't have anybody to talk to or don't feel comfortable expressing your concerns to friends or family, seeing a therapist might be very beneficial.

A therapist can help you feel as though your feelings are genuine by listening without giving suggestions.


Accepting The Setback

Bereavement counselling might assist you in embracing the truth of your loved one's death if you are feeling disconnected or numb. This procedure is especially helpful if you have a tendency to suppress your feelings or cope with a problem by not thinking about it at all.

Getting Past Trauma

Bereavement therapy can help you process your grief if you saw your loved one's death or if there was another painful component of the loss.

During therapy, you'd recount what you saw, talk about how it made you feel, and figure out how to go ahead with your therapist's help. Processing trauma in the company of a therapist who can give empathy and support might be beneficial.

Dealing With Guilt

After the loss of a loved one, guilt is a frequent emotion. Self-blame and remorse may accompany this guilt, making it more difficult to cope with the loss. A grief therapist can help you work through feelings of guilt about things you should have done or how things may have gone differently if you have them.

A therapist may be able to assist you in realizing that living your best life is more essential than harboring guilt about things you can't alter.


Managing Everyday Life

A grief therapist can help you rearrange your life and develop new ways to function to handle these concerns if your daily life is in disarray because you lost someone who was there with you every day.

For example, if you lost your spouse and he or she was in charge of the finances, cooking, and cleaning, you'll need to figure out a new method to perform those things. A therapist can assist you in making these decisions.


Creating A Support Network

A bereavement therapist can assist you in establishing a support system by linking you with community services or support groups.

If you don't know where to turn for help or what support services are available to you, building a support system is very crucial.


Organizing Funeral Services

If you've just lost a loved one, your grieving therapist may also be able to assist you in arranging funeral preparations. Having assistance at this time can help ensure that your loved one is remembered in a way that seems right to you, especially if you are unable to think clearly or make decisions.

If you're about to lose a loved one, you might be able to start counseling before he or she passes away.


Looking For Signs Of Depression

Grief can contribute to the development of depression. A bereavement therapist will also ask you questions to see whether you are experiencing signs of a depressive condition that might be treated.

Depression can also be a sign of difficult bereavement, which affects roughly 10% of persons who have lost a loved one.


Exercises In Journaling & Writing

Your grief therapist can teach you strategies that can help you even after you've finished treatment, such as journaling about your feelings and everyday issues, writing about memories, and using writing to work through problems.

Your therapist may also lead you through writing tasks, such as drafting a letter to a lost loved one to express how you feel about losing them or how your life has changed since they have passed away.

Writing was found to be a beneficial intervention for bereaved children and teenagers in one research looking at the efficacy of a writing treatment for traumatic bereavement.


Recommendations For Books

A grief therapist can also suggest books to read on the grieving process so you can learn more about it, obtain validation, and affirm that your feelings are normal.

If this is the issue you're struggling with, you could get a recommendation to read a book about moving past guilt, for example.


Art Therapy Is A Type Of Psychotherapy

Art therapy is used by certain grieving therapists. Making a remembrance book, undertaking a craft project, or making other art to commemorate your loved one are all examples of art therapy for sorrow.

According to a 2018 study, using visual art therapeutic methodologies was linked to favorable improvements in bereaved persons. Art therapy has been connected to people feeling a closer connection to a departed loved one and finding significance in the experience.
Art therapy may also be used to practice self-soothing, which can be beneficial if you are suffering anxiety as a result of the death of a loved one.



Unresolved Problems

Do you feel as though you have unresolved grievances over the loss of a loved one? Perhaps you were having a disagreement with them at the time of their death. Through exercises like the empty chair technique and other role-playing scenarios, bereavement counselling can help you confront these difficulties.


Rituals of Remembrance

A grieving therapist may also be able to assist you in planning "remembrance rituals" to commemorate your loved one. They could assist you come up with a specific activity (for example, an art therapy project) or set up a certain period of the month or year to devote to remembering.

It is preferable to set aside time to remember your loved one on purpose rather than shoving memories away when they arise because you are worried of getting overwhelmed by emotions.


Bereavement Therapy Types

Complicated grief therapy is a sort of bereavement counseling geared at those who are going through a lot of grief.

Other approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and attachment theory, are used in this style of treatment.

Telling the narrative of your loved one's death, distinguishing sorrow from trauma, organizing grief, coping with guilt, and honoring your loved one are some of the particular approaches utilized in difficult grief counseling.


Bereavement Therapy's Advantages

There are a variety of advantages to bereavement therapy. If you're having trouble dealing with your loss, here are some reasons to seek this sort of therapy:

  • Acquire coping abilities. By learning new coping skills and increasing your mental strength in the face of hardship, bereavement counselling may help you get through one of the most difficult times of your life.
  • Feel free to express your feelings. Whether you have just experienced a loss or have been grieving for years, grief therapy may help you express your feelings and feel better even after the initial pain.
  • I'm sorry for your loss. This sort of treatment aids in the understanding of your sorrow and what to expect as you progress through the phases of grief (e.g., denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).
  • Reclaim your sense of self-awareness. By transferring your emphasis to other aspects of your life or other roles that you perform, bereavement counselling can help you establish a new identity without your loved one (e.g., a widower might focus on getting together with friends if he used to spend every day with his spouse).
  • Deal with your negative feelings. Bereavement therapy will help you deal through the sorrow and emotions that you are feeling right now if you are grieving.
  • In a healthy way, remember your loved one. This form of treatment can help you preserve your connection to a loved one while moving on with your life, which is a crucial step toward feeling good about how you remember them.
  • Skills in life management. Bereavement counseling can assist you in adjusting to new routines and adjusting to life without your loved one. It might be helpful to have someone to guide you through these adjustments during this stressful period.
  • Bereavement counseling was associated to long-term favorable benefits and decreases in mourning symptoms, according to a 2017 research.

How To Locate Bereavement Counseling

It's possible that you won't be able to think properly if you're mourning. Enlist the support of a friend or family member to hunt for grief therapists in your region, or schedule an appointment with your family doctor to request a referral.