“Grief is the price we pay for love. It’s a journey that must be traveled, but with time, support, and understanding, it can lead to healing and growth.”
Grief therapy, grief or bereavement counselling, all have the same goal of helping an individual cope with the emotional distress and psychological suffering that comes from loss. It requires specialised training in the process of loss and it involves a structured process facilitated by experienced therapists, psychologists or counsellors.
The primary goal of this type of therapy, is to provide a safe, compassionate, thoughtful and empathetic space for individuals to express their complex experiences that often accompany grief – feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, and in addition to other complex emotions that can accompany loss. Trained therapists use a number of techniques to help those experiencing grief to navigate the their experiences with more ease. Techniques such as talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral approaches, and expressive therapies like art or journaling are used in the process.
As part of the therapy, grief therapy includes psychoeducation on the process of grief and the normalisation of the process, which can be very different and varies greatly between individuals. Through the normalisation of experiences, individuals understand that their experiences and reactions are natural and valid. Clients are taught that there is no timeline to grief. Each individual experiences it differently. And it may never resolve. It will however change and evolve over time. Through therapy clients develop personalised coping strategies to manage intense emotions and develop their support network. In addition to the work on grief, there may be further work done to identify and resolve other barriers to the process to help the client move forward in their lives.
Grief therapy can also be used for individual who are mourning other types of loses. Not only does grief impact those who have lost a loved one, but it can also impact those who have lost through the process of divorce, unemployment, terminal illness or relocation. We also grieve when we lose an opportunity, or a life decision leads to the end of a dream – like having a child. The aim of the work is to help clients navigate these strong experiences with greater acceptance to develop sense of meaning and a renewed sense of purpose in their lives, ultimately fostering resilience and the ability to move forward while honouring the memory of what has been lost.