Grief & Loss Counseling
The death of a loved one is one of the most painful experiences people can ever go through. The natural stages of grief can often become blurred and messy, leaving people stuck at one phase or another. Feelings of guilt, regret and even anger are natural responses to death, but they can prevent you from healing and moving forward in your life.
How Grief Changes You
Grief is a crushing sadness that overwhelms every aspect of your life. While sadness is normal for a period of time after a loved one passes, prolonged grief can gradually morph into depression.
After someone passes away, you may feel as if your entire purpose for living is gone. This feeling is even stronger after the death of a parent, spouse or child. It may be difficult for you to even face the weight of your grief alone, but avoiding it only prolongs the pain.
What Are the Stages of Grief?
You may be familiar with the stages of grief that follow a loved one’s death. Everyone grieves differently; the ultimate goal of grief counseling is to reach the final stage, acceptance, and begin to move forward with our lives with our loved one’s memory.
The first stage protects the mind from trauma, but it isn’t ignorant to reality. Rather than pretending you don’t know your loved one is dying or has died, you are struggling to accept it as a fact. You may think you hear them or forget momentarily that they are gone. You are in the process of fully absorbing the weight of their absence.
Feeling angry at God or even your loved one is normal. Anger protects us from pain, allowing us to express our emotions without being too vulnerable or admitting we’re hurt.
During this stage, you may feel guilt or remorse over times you weren’t there for your loved one or things that happened in the past. You may pray or try to negotiate with a higher power. Most of all, people in the bargaining stage yearn for a sense of control.
One of the most difficult stages, the fourth stage of grief is marked by a heavy sadness. You may withdraw from others but also feel incredibly lonely. Many people who get stuck in this stage develop chronic depression, which can make you feel like there is no hope or meaning in life anymore.
Recovering from the death of a loved one does not entail forgetting them or never feeling pain over their loss again. Instead, acceptance occurs when we gain the ability to acknowledge the depth of our loss and have healthy ways to honor our loved one’s memory and cope with our emotions.
Does Grief Counseling Work?
The best way to overcome grief is to accept it. Through grief counseling, you can learn to face the loss of your loved one, overcome trauma from their death and start to rebuild your life. Grief is the last present emotion we have to hold onto when someone we love passes away; although it may be scary to imagine no longer even thinking of their death, you deserve to heal from your pain and continue living.
The best way to honor your loved one is to take care of yourself. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and receive the support you need to make it through this difficult time.